“You want us to do what? You’ve got to be kidding!”
That was my response when my husband first suggested we live on a budget. We were barely getting by, our paychecks spent before we ever saw them. The thought of taking our meager income and slicing and dicing it into categories seemed ridiculous.
After many discussions about this new financial strategy, I finally relented. I was willing to give it a try, if only to prove it wouldn’t work. When I sat down with my checkbook, calculator, and notebook—stretching a few dollars into categories such as tithe, housing, utilities, food, insurance, car, and miscellaneous—the numbers were comical.
“This is crazy,” I said. “We’re in worse shape than ever.”
My husband just smiled that knowing smile of his. “Be patient. It may take a few weeks to get us on track, but we’ll be better off.”
Better off? Right. Be patient? Easy for him to say. How was I supposed to pad those pages and pay our bills at the same time? I balked. I complained. I wrung my hands. Then I did what I should have done in the first place—I prayed. Lord, if this is the right thing for us, please show me what to do.
It’s amazing what God will do when we invite Him to get involved in our stuff. In less than a month, the balance in our checkbook went from less than $100 to over $1,000. Our bills were all paid on time, our other needs met, and there was even money left over toward the next month’s expenses. We could also see exactly where our money was going, eliminating a lot of waste.
What appeared to be financial bondage turned out to be financial freedom. For the first time in our lives, we didn’t have to wonder where the money would come from. In a very short time, my categories were full, and I even added savings and vacation. My years of worry over having enough money to survive had come to an end—thanks to God and my wise husband.
It’s been over thirty-five years since I created that notebook, and I still use it to this day. In fact, I can’t imagine not being on a budget, especially in this crazy economy. It has provided tremendous peace of mind.
If you’re in a hard place financially, living paycheck to paycheck, give budgeting a try. It might be difficult in the beginning, but the benefits will be well worth the effort.