Seriously. That wasn’t just a catchy title to get you to click the link.
Research shows that about 32% of people are already doing it, but that seems a lot higher than what my experience has been. Which, if I’m just going to be honest, means there is a good chance you are not doing it.
Here is how I know. From time to time in conversations with people the topic of finances will come up. And whenever it is shared that my wife and I have a budget that we really stick too, I often hear some variation on why the person I am talking to doesn’t have a budget, which is usually followed by some justification about how they are still smart with their finances and that they don’t spend more than they should.
Which leads me to two observations I always have.
- People seem to get really defensive that they don’t have a budget. Which I think means that everyone knows it would be better to have one.
- If you aren’t tracking what you spend, you actually have no idea at all that you aren’t spending too much.
I really don’t mean that in a condescending manner, but every single person who starts and sticks to a budget will tell you, “I had no idea we were spending so much on ____ (usually a number of things).”
Growing up my dad would teach a lot of financial classes. So he had plenty of stories to share of people in horrendous amounts of debt and how they got to be there. Which means he also had a lot of stories of people who turned their entire lives around by getting out of debt. All because they did one thing.
They made a budget.
Now I get that it takes work and you don’t even know how to categorize how much you spend on what. And the truth is, is that it will take a few months of tracking everything to know how much to allot for each category.
But what if I told you that you could save literally thousands of dollars a year for 3 minutes of work every other day? Who in the world would say no to that?
If you were to save $1,500 a year by making and following a budget, and spent 3 minutes every other day (182 days a year) updating your budget (and it honestly doesn’t even take that long), that would take 9 hours out of your year.
Does 9 hours sound like a lot? It doesn’t if you do the math.
That comes to $166 dollars an hour.
Who wouldn’t want that job?!
Here is why I say all of this: Jesus is clear, you cannot serve two masters. You cannot serve both God and money (Matthew 6:24). And if you are not telling your money where to go, your money owns you, whether you want it to be that way or not.
For Christians, this is important for two reasons. One, we own nothing. God can take and give whatever he pleases. It’s like we are kids getting an allowance. It’s really our parent’s money that they are giving us. It’s simply poor stewardship not to know what you are doing with God’s money.
Secondly, you can’t be generous if you have no money. You just can’t. And if the reason you have no money is because you don’t manage it well (not because you lost a job, had a crisis, etc.), you cannot live a generous life that God has called all believers too.
I guarantee you, if you work a full-time job and are not tracking what you spend, you easily losing over $1,500 a year on things you wouldn’t miss at all if you cut out, you just don’t know it.
Think I’m wrong? There is only one way to find out.
Make a budget.
It not only honors God, but reduces a lot of stress in your life as well. Sounds like a win-win to me.
Question: What could you do with an extra $1,500 a year?
I have written a follow up to this post on how to practically build a budget. Read it here.