There's a misconception that budgeting means you have to live within strict rules, have no fun, and figure a cost analysis for every purchase you make or adventure you take.
People think of budgeting as a sure-fire way to zap the creativity and spontaneity out of life.
I am here to tell you that nothing is further from the truth once you understand budget living and start living a life of good stewardship.
Budgeting is like having a relationship with Christ.
If you an intimate relationship with Christ you know and understand that following Him is not about following a set of rules. You have learned what He expects of you, you spend time with Him. Living within the confines of your relationship with Christ is the most freeing thing you can do. It's a strange paradox.
And so it is with budgeting. You learn what your budget needs to look like, you spend time on it. Eventually, you don't have to be bound by it but you live within it because it the second most freeing thing you can do. It too is a strange paradox.
My husband is a spontaneous man. We often take mini-vaca trips on just a few days' notice.
Spontaneity at it's best. Very little planning and always an adventure.
On the flip side, we live within a budget and all of our adventures are accounted for before-hand in that budget.
And after starting this new way of living in January 2011 with over $28,000.00 plus in debt we were able to become debt-free (except our mortgage) by December 2013. Now, in 2019 even with radical lifestyle changes, we are still maintaining only one debt, for housing.
We budget and try hard to stay within that budget.
The issue with budgeting is that many people want to live outside their means because they have always lived that way. Many grew up living that way so although it is wrong it feels right. (Doesn't that sound familiar?)
Here are 4 common lies about budgeting
#1 – If we budget we can't enjoy the things we like
Budgeting may mean you need to make some lifestyle changes but those changes may only need to be temporary. Or, you may find that over time making coffee at home is just as good as a daily Starbucks and your daily stop turns into an occasional treat instead.
#2 – There's no use doing a budget – we'll just end up in debt again
That's like saying, “There's no use asking for forgiveness from my sins, I'll just sin again.”
We ask for forgiveness and invite the Holy Spirit to help us change our minds and our will to not want to sin. Yes, we do trip up and sin again but God is faithful to forgive us.
Our budget is not designed to be a cure-all for our spending problems. It is meant as a tool to use to help us maintain a life-style that lessens the chances of incurring debt. Holy Spirit will need to change our perspective about money and if an unexpected debt comes up your budget will help you pay it off.
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#3 – Debt is just a part of life
This is similar to number two. This mindset allows you to justify unnecessary debt like you would selfish, sinful behavior. It is the “everyone is doing it” mindset.
I heard this often as a budget coach and this mindset will defeat you right from the start. Debt does happen but we don't accept it as our normal way of life. We live a debt-free lifestyle and if debt happens, we address it immediately.
#4 – Money is the root of all evil, we just have to deal with it
This is such a misquoted verse. Pick any version of 1 Timothy 6:10 and you'll see money is not the root of all evil, but rather the love thereof.
Selfish desires can be traced back to most of our money-related issues. Aside from medical expenses and emergencies, our spending, saving, and debts are tied to our selfish desires. We love money – we want more, we love the high we get when we spend it, we love the status it gives us, we love feeling better than others who are less fortunate.
Money is neutral. It is what you do with it that makes the difference. Budgeting well and setting your heart to right with God in the area of money will lead to blessings, not evil.
Like a life with Jesus, you start to see things differently when you begin to live within your budget. You see that the long-term goal of paying off your credit cards (for good) more important than buying two new pairs of shoes, so you only buy one.
Budgeting does not mean you can't live freely. It means you live freely within your means.
What misconceptions of budgeting do you have?