Monday, July 18, 2011

Too Broke to Budget?

I cannot count how many times I or my husband have heard, "But we don't have any money to budget!" Is that possible? My husband cannot bear the excuse no longer and has begun responding with, "Even MORE reason you need a plan!"

There is a misconception that budgets are only for people who have enough money to meet all their obligations. That simply is not true. Everyone needs a money plan. If one dollar enters a household, there must be a written plan as to what to do with it.

Even a family receiving welfare and unemployment benefits needs to create a written budget for those benefits.
  • How much is going toward mortgage and rent? 
  • How much is going to gasoline? 
  • How much can be sent to the electric company?
  • Of the food stamps, how much will we spend per week? 
  • How much DOES it cost to feed our family?

The most important result of budgeting, even when funds are poverty-low, is that a habit of money accountability begins to be set in place, and that is a habit that sets a person up for success when cash flow increases, even by just a little bit.

There is no valid excuse to avoid counting blessings, no matter how few they appear to be. God enlarges the talent of those whom He can trust with a little.

"And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities."


  1. You make a great point. Lehi is the first place we've lived where my husband has a job and we're not living on student loans. I always thought "but we have enough money for the school year. I don't need to make a budget. There will be enough." Sometimes I kept track of all the money we spent so I could understand how much went where. How much do we really spend on groceries? Is it realistic to think it was only xx amount of money for a family of four? I'm sure you've heard this before, but I dread entering in our expenses because I'm afraid we already spent too much. I'm usually pleasantly surprised to learn we didn't. I feel like the only place I can ever cut back in my grocery bill. What am I missing?

  2. Lydja, what you're missing is creating a plan for your money. You mentioned dreading entering in your expenses. I hate that, too. Create a spending plan for your money before the month starts. Pull the cash out and pay cash for everything.

    That's a start!

  3. Dave touched on it.
    Create the plan BEFORE anything happens instead of recording what happened AFTERWARD.

    Since food is where most people tend to overspend, I recommend pulling out money for groceries on each pay day and only buy groceries with that cash. Works way better than any Quicken or Excel tracking system, and you'll have an immediate answer as to how much you have spent so far!