“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 don’t have a budget and never have had one.
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.
Over the course of our marriage, I’ve come to realize a few things about budgets.
Budgets are never once commanded (or even mentioned) in Scripture. The Bible has a lot to say about money. It 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.
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 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. (After all, when we married I promised to trust him, and he’s never once proved unfaithful in how he handles money.)
You can faithfully use money, without having a budget. Money has a purpose. 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.
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.”
Budgeting may be a good and wise thing for your marriage. It might not. And that’s perfectly okay.
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