If you are like most of us you have tried budgeting and given up. But what are your choices? Never try again? If you can avoid the pitfalls (see recent post) and if you can begin reaping the budget benefits, you will develop a lifetime budgeting habit.
“Wait!", you say, “Isn’t a budget like a financial straight jacket? Won’t I feel restricted?"
Perhaps. But self imposed restrictions will help you develop maturity and character.
“OK.” you respond, “I get it. This budget thing is all about me developing maturity and character. Wouldn’t rubbing my mother-in-law’s bunions accomplish the same thing without all of the math?”
Good counterpoint, but stick with me a bit more. Maturity and character are fringe benefits, but clearly not enough to keep you motivated. You need to experience the benefits of budgeting in order to gain the motivation to do so for a lifetime. What are these benefits? Read on:
1. Less stress; more peace.
John Maxwell defines a budget as telling your money what to do instead of wondering where it went. When you are in control, you greatly eliminate stress from your life. Imagine the peace you would experience when you have money at the end of the month instead of the other way around.
2. You “find" money.
Money that is not managed disappears. Budgeting your money is like giving yourself a pay raise because those who make a budget and live on it discover money they didn’t know they had.
3. You can make plans.
What are your financial goals? How do you think you can ever reach them if you don’t have a plan? It may be retirement, college funding, getting out of debt, or buying a car or a home. It could be saving for that bass boat or china cabinet or next summer’s vacation. When you tell your money what to do, it will work hard for you.
4. A better marriage.
Because use of money is a reflection of your values, creating a budget together flushes out the values each of you thinks is important. “Save or spend? Tithe or not tithe? Create debt or pay off debt?” You get the point and you need to be ready for sparks to fly if the two of you take this seriously. But the process is healthy because when you and your spouse agree on your money, you have overcome the number one cause of marital strife in America. Congratulations! When you conquer this “biggie” you are ready for whatever life can throw at you.
Zig Ziglar once quipped,
“If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time."
You will never experience these benefits unless you actually do it, so get started today. And hey…you will have developed enough character and maturity that you will never need to rub your mother-in-law’s bunions.