Welcome to our Budgeting Series!
Wait!! Don’t hit that back button just yet. You know deep down inside that you need a budget. Right? Right! So let’s make a deal.
My part is to write the following four part series with the promise that each segment will be short and simple:
Part 4: How Your New Budget Will Change Your Life
Your part is to read the series and give budgeting a try. After getting your budget up and going, you can always go back to your current method of mismanagement if you want, but my guess is that you won’t want to.
Fair enough? Great!
Now: How Your New Budget Will Change Your Life
Because you are reading part four of this four part budget series, I am taking the liberty of assuming you have accepted my challenge to start a budget. Congratulations! Your life will never be the same!
At the same time, you may be wondering, “What now? Am I simply going to be a numbers nerd the rest of my life, or is there more meaning to all this?” Great question! Allow me to help you see the big picture of where your life is headed.
Your new budget is going to enable you to do three basic things: save, spend and give.
As your debt dissolves you will have something “normal” Americans don’t have: disposable income. What will you save for? How about retirement, kid’s college, your next car, remodeling your home, or your next vacation. You get the idea. Think of it: debt will never ensnare you again. Why? Because once you learn to save, you won’t need to borrow. Don’t you love that budget?
Whoever said that budgets take all the fun out of life never had one that worked. In fact, spending that “saved” money is extra fun because you won’t have payments snapping at your heels. How does paying cash for your vacation sound? Or zero car payments for the rest of your life? Simply going out to eat is fun because you have “eating out” money in your budget envelope just waiting to be spent. You are not meant to live a pauper’s life, so save, spend and have fun.
If all we ever did was save and spend, life would become pretty empty. We are not here on earth to simply satisfy our own pleasures. But because generosity, for most of us, doesn’t happen spontaneously, we need to budget for it. Jan and I take a two pronged approach to our giving: we achieve the discipline with weekly offerings to our church, but we also budget for “planned spontaneity” – giving to those who have unexpected needs — by placing cash each month in our “Bless” envelope.
The key is to give, so whether it is to your favorite charity, your church, or the single mom down the street who needs new tires on her car, budget for it and do it.
Giving will change your life more than any other aspect of your budget. Without it you will gravitate toward self centeredness and hedonism, but with it, you will experience riches that money can never buy: a satisfying, meaningful and joyful life.
I challenge you to give.
Readers: how has your budget changed your life? Stated another way, what do you think your life would be like right now if you didn’t budget?