The Gift of a Budget

Cash MoneyDuring the most giving season of the year… it’s time to get serious about how we spend money.  The good ole Green Backs (cash) is an interesting topic.  We never talk about it, and when we do it’s often highly offensive…

I grew up in a family system that encouraged us to talk through our problems.  It was completely normal for me to talk to my parents about deep issues including how money is spent.  From what I can remember, I think our family talked about almost every dime that was spent… yes, we talked about it before it was spent.

This was a healthy model for me as I grew into adulthood.  In fact, I remember on multiple occasions my parents challenging me on the topic of money and how I was spending my money.

So, for me talking about money is normal and natural.  I think it was an adjustment for April when we got married.

Anyway… I would say… one of the greatest gifts that my parents gave me (taught me) was modeling (as best as they could) a lifestyle of a budget.  I never knew how much money my mom and dad made until later in life… but I always knew that every dime counted.  They could have made tons or little.  It didn’t matter, all giving (tithe and offerings) and purchases were talked about prior to writing the check (pieces of paper that you signed and included a certain amount of money, HAHA) or swiping the card.

As the Christmas joys fade, and New Year’s celebrations begin and end… the reality of money will begin to set in…

My natural reaction is to make a ridiculous 2012 resolution about money.  Yes, I’m one of those people who makes stupid, crazy resolutions that will never be achievable.  This year, I am going to learn from my parents, and take a step in the right direction…

I am going to focus on giving my family the gift of a budget… As the leader of my family, I am going to make it my responsibility to lead (not dictate) a culture of a budget.  Here are just a few steps that I will be taking this year…

Steps I’m Taking in 2012:

  • Lead by example: Don’t just demand a spending freeze or cut on everyone else. I will take greatest cut.
  • Shared financial vision: Celebrate success as we see us reaching our shared financial vision. I must drive this as the leader.
  • Share all of my income: Leaders don’t hide. It’s my family’s income… not just mine. I’ve never hid income, but there is always the temptation.
  • Go public: Make my struggles with money public. There is freedom in going public.
  • Under the Microscope: Accept that my life will be examined by all family & friends. Accept hard truth when people hold me accountable.

Steps That I Took a 4 Years Ago:

  • Develop a Shared Financial Vision: Discuss a way for April & I both to share in our financial vision. Must answer this question: Why are we doing this?
  • Budgeting tool: Begin the use of a budgeting tool for PROACTIVE spending decisions.
  • Time commitment: Make a commitment to the budgeting tool for daily use. Set a time to use it.
  • Give money: Make a plan to give money away in 2012. Be realistic, don’t over commit, but just give.
  • Talk to my wife: Yes, talk to April about every dime I spend.

Resources:

  • Mint.com: a free tool to help you see trends in your families spending. It has a budget tool, but I haven’t used it recently.
  • Mvelopes.com: a pay for tool that offers a proactive envelope funding plan. Much like the Dave Ramsey envelope system, but just electronic. It does require a learning curve.
  • Dave Ramesy: Check out all of the Dave Ramesy’s resources.  This book “The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness” helped April and I create realistic budgeting and a plan for debt reduction.

Lead Your Heart

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Luke 12:34 ESV)

When we commit to a budget, we begin to live out this short passage.  It’s really that simple.  Our direction, or in other words our actions will lead our heart.  Our intentions lie to us all the time.  In 2012 I am committing to lead my heart towards the mission of Jesus.

Fall more in love with the mission of Jesus by giving your family the gift of a budget in 2012.

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