For more budgeting articles in this series, click HERE.
Budgeting Step One: Getting Started
Are you ready to dive right in to a series on budgeting? Step one, getting started, may just be the hardest step. If you can remember the first time you jumped off the high diving board, then you may understand when I tell you that simply deciding to budget and taking that first step sends you on a journey where there is no turning back! So as your heart is pounding with anxiety and you look at the water below, just remember how good it’s going to feel when you finally make a splash and you’re able to tell your friends, “I did it!”
It is a challenge, isn’t it? Looking at the way that we spend our money, and realizing how much it tell us about our hearts, our mindsets, and our lifestyles can be somewhat unnerving. Facing the truth will do that! Consider this Budgeting 101 Series of posts a wake-up call as you look at the way you spend your money, so you can be a better steward of your finances.
Are you willing to share you own personal experiences, tips, and ideas here for others to learn from? I’d love it if you would tell us about your own budgeting journey (or lack of!) in the comments below!
Dave Ramsey Taught Me How to Budget
My husband Bradford and I were enrolled in Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University several years ago through a class that was offered by our church. So, I can honestly say that Dave Ramsey taught me how to budget! In that class, Bradford and I were made aware of quite a few areas in our finances that we had never thought about. I’m sure that I will reference Dave’s classes and the techniques we learned in FPU quite a bit in this series. Dave Ramsey’s book, Financial Peace, was a game-changer for me. It’s a nuts and bolts look at getting your financial life in order.
“Saving Savvy is a gold mine of practical, how-to-advice taken straight from God and Grandma’s way of handling money!” ~Dave Ramsey (You can imagine how thrilled I was when Dave endorsed my book, Saving Savvy!)
How to Make Out a Budget
Do you know where your money goes each month? I didn’t until I learned how to make out a budget–a written plan of my cash flow. Understandably, most people just cringe at the word budget. I know I did! I’ll try to limit my use of it here, just to keep you from having scary thoughts. My husband dragged me kicking and screaming to do a budget, because I thought that it would be limiting and confining. I brought such a spirit of dread to the task. But guess what? Now, I am the one who gladly sits down at the end of each month to do it!
:: Discover our user-friendly, FREE Budgeting Spreadsheet HERE with pop-up instructions. This tool really does make budgeting easy!
There is so much freedom in knowing where your money is going. Today, we buy things we would have never thought we could afford before we began to budget and see how much money we had. We are able to give more than we ever thought possible. Incredibly, it’s all because we account for every penny. And I have to admit: Budgeting opened my eyes to a hard truth. It gave me eyes to see all the places I was wasting my money. With a little discipline, and by encouraging and supporting each other, we were able to change our wasteful habits and see how we could put our money toward things we enjoyed more and things that had more lasting value.
Budgeting a Tithe
For us, budgeting a tithe is a necessity. I have to admit, when my husband lost his job a few years ago, and the economy was sinking, we were so tempted to pull back in this area–but we didn’t. If something like this ever happens to you, I want to encourage you to do something radical and give more! We found that when it comes to tithing, giving, and being generous, God’s promises and faithful provision are allowed to work like never before. I just love the verse below from the book of Malachi. I hope it encourages you to let God shower His blessings on you!
“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.” – Malachi 3:10
Action Step: For your first step in budgeting, the challenge is simple: Take all your finances from last month and write them down on paper. Go online to your bank statement or use the hard copy and see what deposits were made, and then where the money went. Be sure that include how much cash you spend, including morning coffees, fast food, your kids’ allowances and lunch money–EVERYTHING. This will give you an idea on where you spend the majority of your income. (We were blown away to see how much we were spending on food!) Now that you know how much you spend and where it is actually going, do you want to spend your money differently? Most people do.
:: Learn all about Budgeting and Saving Money on Faithful Provisions!
If you’re ready to move forward, go to Step Two: Financial Goals HERE.
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