Tools for the Journey
- Make a budget and stick with it for 3 months (Jan-Mar)
- Research the world’s idea of ‘How to’ create a budget
- Compare the Lord’s way with the World’s way.
‘It is my purpose to provide for my saints.’ (D&C 104:15)
I have had a love-hate relationship with budgets. I have often stumbled into or onto some great plan, run with it for a few weeks, but over time and sometimes only a brief time my perfect budget plan fades into nothing.
Today I have asked my three daughters and a friend a simple question, ‘Do you have a budget’ and ‘do you stick to it?’ Do you have any debt? Do you have any savings? What would you do if you lost your income? How long would you survive? What would you get into debt for? Is it possible to live within your means?
Some of the feed back from my friend, who is single and works full-time and more and although i do not know how much they earn, i have feeling it is far above basic living. He gets paid on the same date each month. They replied – ‘…i use to:every penny and used a spreadsheet…but today it is a bit more laissez faire…I have no debt but use a credit card that is paid off every month…There is very little i would get into debt for intentionally…yes, savings…would last a month or two…most (bill) payments are invisible…(direct debits, etc).
One daughter is married and they have one daughter. Her husband is doing a degree. They both work part-time minimum wage jobs and get university loans and bursary. Their money comes in at different dates each month and differing amounts. She said; ‘yes they have a budget, she prefers paper and her husband computer…it’s more a list of bills…no savings…living payday to payday.
Next daughter is a single mother of one daughter and lives of social benefits as she is trying to gain her teaching certificate. Money comes in on the same day but not the same dates each month. She said; I have a memo pad and work week to week until the end of the month…i know the date that money comes in and goes, it changes from month to month…pay the most important bills first.
Next daughter shares her life with another person and they have no children. They both work in the restaurant trade, both on minimum wage for their jobs. She said; ‘I have student debt and we took out debt to get a washer and fridge-freezer when we moved into this house (recently) and it was necessary. I wouldn’t get into debt for anything else. Getting into debt for bills is the worst things because bills are always going out and it’s impossible to catch up…It’s not impossible to live within any means but it is difficult especially when it is may change unexpectedly….if you can’t afford food then there is a big problem, but only if the only reason you can’t afford food is because you have the latest internet package, the best phone, etc then it’s your lifestyle that’s the issue and not your wage. I think direct debits are helpful, but only if you have set paydays…The words ‘something came out of my account that i wasn’t expecting and now i’m broke’ comes to mind.’ I know she writes a bill budget monthly.
It was interesting to hear others points of view about what works for them and what doesn’t. It is also, interesting to note, that most worldly budget plans presume that you have a regular income that arrives on a set date each month. But, as you can see, out of 5 people only 1 person has that kind of income. There is also a sense that if you needed more money, you would be free and able to go out and earn more, but again that is not always possible.
Although, the Lord cannot give someone a job or money or goods, he can lead us along the right way that we can learn to live within our means and accept that our means may be different than someone else, but as long as you can provide for yourself and your family. There is a difference between ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ and it is important that we pay the ‘needs’ first.
This is the beginning of how to look at, be honest about and set up a budget in the Lord’s way, by the end of the month, by the end of January things will be clearer. But, for now, ‘do you have a budget and do you stick with to it? What would you get into debt for? Would you say that you ‘live within your means?’ The Lord’s way of Self Reliance is for everyone, one way should work for everyone, but will it, does it?
To Do List
- Create a simple budget
- Create a daily expense list – no matter what you buy, it goes on the list.