We Don’t Have a Budget (and Why I’m Okay with That!)

“Have a written budget, and stick to it.”

You have probably read this advice at least a hundred times. I have. It is good financial advice. If you have a budget, that’s wonderful. Stick to it and enjoy it!

We do not budget and never have.

That used to really bug me.

I’ve always been the nerdy-type when it comes to money. I love excel spreadsheets and knowing exactly how much money we have in the bank, down to the last penny.

Joshua is not a money-nerd. If we have money to tithe faithfully, save for our goals, and take care of our needs (and many wants!), it doesn’t bother him if we have $3.58 less left over this month than last month.

It’s taken me a while, but I’ve come to realize that my guilt over not having a budget is misplaced. You can obey the Bible, have a happy marriage, and be a faithful steward without a written budget.

We don't have a budget. That used to really bother me. But I've learned you can be a faithful steward (and happy wife) without one.

You can obey the Bible without a budget.

The Bible has a lot to say about money. Proverbs is full of warnings against the pitfalls of greed, about the dangers of wantonness, about the need to cheerfully give and diligently provide. Not a single verse anywhere says that faithful Christians must have a written budget.

Budgets are never once commanded (or even mentioned) in Scripture.

You can have a solid marriage, financially, without a budget.

An author I admire once wrote (I paraphrase), “If you don’t have a budget, and your spouse refuses to make one with you, you have serious marital problems.”

I’ve thought about this statement a lot, but think she’s wrong (at least about many marriages.)

Budgeting is not a requirement of a good husband or wife. If I were to insist on having a written budget, I would almost certainly be the one writing it and policing it. I would basically be telling my husband when and how he could spend the money he earns.

In my opinion, that would be detrimental to our marriage and contrary to my wedding vows. After all, when we married I promised to trust him (even with our money), and he’s never once proved unfaithful.

You can faithfully use money, without having a budget.

Money has three main purposes. Each of the purposes of money can be fulfilled without a budget. When you get a paycheck, you can set aside money for tithe/giving, pay your bills and put money into savings for future needs, and enjoy the leftovers with a grateful heart.

All without having a budget.

Hope for those without budgets

If you have a budget or are thinking about making a budget (and your husband likes the idea!) that’s wonderful. Budgeting often makes it easier to faithfully use money.

But I’ve talked to moms who are discouraged because they don’t have a budget. Sometimes, budgets get pushed so hard these days that it’s easy to get the idea that “budgeting is next to godliness.”

It isn’t.

Budgeting may be a good and wise thing for your marriage. It might not. And that’s perfectly okay.

You can obey Biblical commands about money, have a strong marriage, and spend your money faithfully, all without a budget.

What about you? Do you have a budget? 

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  1. says

    Anna, this post is awesome!! We don’t have a “budget” though we certainly monitor our spending. And I sometimes struggle with guilt about it. My husband is good with money even without a written plan and I’m not a spender by nature, so it works for us. Thanks for the assurance that this approach really is okay!!

    • anna says

      That’s how we are too Kasey! Joshua is wise with his spending and I really don’t like shopping, so even without a budget, we don’t just go blow money all the time… though occasionally we’ll save up for special times to “blow” money—like on our trip to London!

      After quite a bit of “we don’t have a budget guilt” I’m so glad that God showed me IT’S OKAY! 🙂

  2. says

    My husband and I have been married a little over a year and we don’t have a strict budget, though we do monitor our spending, like a previous comment stated. We have gotten a little spend-happy in the past, but with the way rates for EVERYTHING have gone up, it’s actually easier to remember that buying for fun isn’t going to turn out fun if you have no money to pay the bills. I’m thankful for this post and your reminder that it’s fine to not have a budget!

    • anna says

      Thanks for the good point Beth–if you don’t have a budget, you’re so right–you have to make sure you take care of needs first, wants second!

  3. Jasmine B says

    Anna! Thanks for such a great post. I can honestly say the EXACT things about my thoughts on budgets! I know this will bless others who may be struggling with the whole “we NEED a budget” thing.

  4. says

    We have a budget just because I like things on paper. It’s not so much a “rule,” but more of an easy way for us to track when needs to be paid and when, and how much money we have for groceries, etc. since we have a low income. But I’d never say that someone has to have a budget to be a good Christian or to have a good marriage. I do think that if someone is just starting trying to get their spending habits under control, then a budget is a great tool to start with to help in learning (a) where the money is going, and (b) learning to allocate/spend it intentionally rather than looking back at the end of the month wondering where the money went. Not that you do that, but way too many people have that problem at the end of the month and I think a simple budget can help with that. We don’t have an elaborate budget, all we have is a simple listing on paper of all the bills that have to get paid each month, and how much we spend on gas/groceries…just to make sure it all balances and so we know what we’ve got to work with 🙂

    • anna says

      I love the budget you shared on your blog a while back Crystal–so simple and helpful! And I do think that a budget is often really wise and definitely better than coming up short at the end of the month. 🙂

      There have been many times we had a very limited amount of money for food, and simply tried not to spend anything unless absolutely necessary outside of that. 🙂 But it was never on paper.

  5. says

    You shared an interesting perspective here.I’d rather have a budget than a declined card! Having a budget makes me feel better and holds me accountable to myself, even if it’s only me monitoring it! The things on paper become a commitment I have made and I like to stick to it.
    I did really like your comment about enjoying the rest with a ‘grateful heart.’ Wise words!

    PS: I posted my linky tonight.

    • anna says

      Thanks for your great perspective! “I’d rather have a budget than a declined card!” So true! There have been times in our marriage when we simply haven’t had money to spend, so haven’t spent any. 🙂 We also still save up for bigger purchases, but don’t have a set budget for every category.

      Thanks for linking up with us. 🙂

  6. says

    Love this post! I have thought often on this subject. My sister was an avid Dave Ramsey disciple and got out of debt with it, but I have always felt a bit shunned because I didn’t do what she did. My husband and I aren’t bad with our money. We tithe, pay our bills and save, just maybe not as aggressively as she did. It is one of those areas that we need to be a little less judgmental on. Thank you for this post, it was encouraging to me and I am sure it will be to many others.

    • anna says

      Thanks Lindsey! That’s my prayer, that this post will be a blessing. 🙂

      Like you, we’ve not been bad with our money, and believe there is room to enjoy while being faithful! 🙂

  7. says

    Thank you for this — I really appreciate your perspective! I think this has been a problem for my husband and I specifically because we keep trying to budget but we both don’t really think that way. It has caused more frustration than help as far as I can tell. I know we do need to get better about what we do with “what’s left” and maybe keeping a list of extra expenses coming up & things we hope to do would help with that. I like your suggestions and I am glad you shared them!
    Blessings, Renée @ NextGen Homeschool

    • anna says

      I love your idea of keeping a list of upcoming expenses! When every penny isn’t ear-marked, it is so important that we make sure to save for needs instead of spending for wants. 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by Renée!

  8. Delores says

    Oh my goodness, thank you for this! We don’t have one, and for many reasons like you: my husband would go crazy. So basically, only in this past year have I stopped complaining and saying “if only” and started saying “okay, deal with the realities of this situation.” So, I set aside money for our monthly bills, (which to me includes giving), and allot amounts for food, gas, and then various. That various amount is highly various! 😉 but I watch that and if we run out, we stop spending (or at least try to… sometimes car repairs and medical stuff is required, so we go into our savings). So is that budgeting? Maybe… kinda… but it works. 🙂

    • anna says

      That’s pretty much our “strategy” too, Delores. Joshua is happy to have me pay the bills, give, and (try to) set aside money in savings and just alert him if the account starts to dwindle too rapidly. 🙂

  9. says

    We don’t have a budget, but we have certain numbers in mind for groceries, gifts, etc. I think it’s good to at least have a goal so you don’t unnecessarily go overboard, and my husband and I often talk about our finances, but the numbers aren’t set in stone. When things are tight, I cross the more expensive items off my grocery list (unless they’re on sale), we stop going out to eat, things like that. Sometimes I think i should be more proactive in budgeting, but honestly it would just give me one more thing to stress about!

  10. Anonymous says

    Thank you so much for this, Anna. This was literally an answer to prayer for me tonight. This is something my husband and I have struggled with for a long, long time – me wanting to have a budget, him not. It is not that he doesn’t like the idea of finances – he’s actually better at them than I am. He just suffers from anxiety so it is something that makes him feel cornered and overwhelmed, and does more to cause stress than alleviate it. So I learned that in my marriage, keeping peace and helping him to feel like I was listening to what mattered to him valued more to me than having the “ideal” or “perfect” way of doing things. You gave me comfort tonight, I thought I was alone in this! Thank you. I feel much better about it, and do feel that I am doing what God would want me to do.

    • anna says

      Oh Abby! I’m so glad that this was an encouragement to you. You are most definitely NOT alone. It took me such a long time to let go of my desire for a budget and realize that we could please God with our finances (and have a much happier marriage!) without me enforcing a written budget. Sending a hug!

  11. Lois says

    Thanks for sharing this! I think it’s interesting how God works in our lives and unique situations.
    For us, I’m the numbers person and would love to budget and yes, my dear doesn’t want to hear of it. He is thrifty but at times I do worry wondering if we will go down the tubes financially.
    Finally I felt God telling me to give it up. Even to give up trying to do the budgeting on my own in my realm. I am embarrassed what a struggle it was to give it up, but it’s freedom to see how God takes care of us.
    And our marriage has blossomed.
    I still think if you’re both willing, it is a great way to handle money, but please don’t sacrifice your marriage nor your walk with God promoting it as the only way!

    • anna says

      Amen, amen! I had to come to the same place too of giving up my desire for control and trusting God and my husband…and it was HARD! 🙂 In the last few months we’ve actually talked about putting a written budget in place, but it’s been my husband wanting it too. We’ll see what happens, but I agree! A budget is not worth sacrificing a happy marriage for! <3


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