Guide to Practical Budgeting

Creating Balance in the Budget with Practical Financial Adjustments

As with any mathematical equation, one side to a financial budget needs to equal the other side. It doesn't take long for one to learn that the amount of money going out cannot be greater than the amount of money coming in.

When the budget does not balance, scary things can happen. The goal, then, is to clean out the flow valves of one' finances so that the entire machine can operate effectively. This part in the Budget Cutting Tips series will introduce some of the overall concepts to tackling the budget busters.

In the accounting world, there are two ways to maximizing one's budget: increasing the income and decreasing the expenses. As a Christian, however, it is critical that one stay balanced between these two sides. If a person is polarized toward one side or the other, their overall financial success will be crippled.

For example, it is possible for Christians to be so consumed with increasing income that they become money-motivated, seeking financial gain in everything they do or don't do. The Apostle Paul often spoke against those in the church who were lustful and greedy, even teaching false doctrines with the desire to acquire dishonest gain.

On the other hand, it is also possible for Chritians to be so budget-conscious that every decision is breathed from and driven by a poverty mentality that only focuses on the lack. Had the widow of Zarephath refused to believe the promise of supernatural provision and only focused on her small amount of flour and oil, she would have missed God's favor that sustained her through the famine.

Either of these viewpoints will prove to be financially fatal. The secret to true financial success during shaky economic times is finding the happy medium between seeking increase and implementing decrease. And God is the only One who can provide the wisdom and insight needed to get there.

Ask the Lord for new ways to help meet the financial needs of the family. Be creative in generating multiple streams of income, but do it honestly. As King Solomon instructed, “Good planning and hard work lead to prosperity, but hasty shortcuts lead to poverty.” (Proverbs 21:5, NLT)

Be thoughtful and purposeful in decreasing monthly expenses without choking the life and joy out of everyday living. According to the words of Jesus, “do not worry about your life, what you will eat; nor about the body, what you will put on. Life is more than food, and the body is more than clothing.” (Luke 12:22-23) Do not so tighten the budget belt that there is no possibility of worry-free finances.

Many people fret over the lack of money due to the fear that their needs couldn't possibly be met with so little. The truth is that God can meet the needs of His people even when there is no money at all. Manna was not created by human hands. Nor was it created to be bought, begged for or stolen. Rather, it is to be gathered with honesty and discretion, used wisely and not wasted. With this in mind, the next step in tackling the budget looks at the Biblical perspective of finances and how to use them wisely.

Written by: Amy Miller