There are a lot of great articles out there on how to create a budget. Most people who are facing financial challenges with debt, impulse spending, etc. look to have a plan or a budget when things start running out of their control. They reason a plan is what it will take them to reset and head in the right direction.
But, there are also a lot of people today who have a budget and start heading south. In fact, they do a pretty darn good job of destroying their budget. Perhaps we can learn from those instances and insure we don’t run down a similar path.
So, how do you destroy your budget? Let’s take a look at a few examples and perhaps avoid them like the plague!
1. Ignore It
The first way to destroy an existing budget is to completely ignore it. Pat yourself on the back, and jump up and down after creating your budget (it’s a big accomplishment)! But, oh how quickly life gets in front of us and before you know it your budget isn’t cared for and fed. Care for it by reviewing it regularly to see if it still makes sense for your situation. Adjust where necessary and always try to stretch your ability to give and save.
2. Don’t Track Expenses
Don’t track your expenses against it. While reviewing your plan is important, not tracking or updating spending throughout the month is equally as bad. A budget needs a minimum set of categories. And within those categories spending must be tracked. If it’s the middle of the month you should be able to turn to your spouse and say, “we have $30 left in our entertainment budget; so how do we want to use it?”
3. Don’t Talk About It
You don’t talk about your budget. You’ll quickly destroy your plan if you don’t talk about it with your significant other. In other words, don’t be the spouse that’s sitting on an island by yourself reviewing the budget, updating the budget and managing the money without including your spouse. No, your financial ship must be navigated together, otherwise, you won’t stay on plan, i.e., one of you blows the entertainment budget by an unplanned, never discussed purchase.
4. Ignore Biblical Financial Principles
Ignore Biblical financial principles which should be the foundation to a Christian’s financial area of life. Your budget really has no meaning unless you have one for the right reason. And that reason is to be a good steward of the resources God has entrusted you to manage for Him. Start focusing on managing your finances for you and you’ll run into problems quickly. Manage them for God and you’ll deepen your relationship and enjoy peace and contentment His principles provide.
5. Don’t Keep it Real
Finally, your budget may start off as a conceptual plan. In fact, it will probably eventualize into a written plan, printed worksheet, or even a budgeting spreadsheet. But, you’ll destroy it if it doesn’t remain real. If you use budgeting software or some other means for tracking spending, you need to integrate your budget into it to realize the true benefits of it for tracking, planning and historical reporting purposes. You also need to keep it real by making it an essential tool for your family. Perhaps posting it on the family bulletin board for constant reminder.
Congratulations if you have a budget and are using it. Just remember, you can destroy it, or render it useless as easily as you built it. So don’t let that happen to you!
Photo By AuntsMack4U
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