Plugging the holes in your wallet

Have you ever seen a bucket of water with a hole in it? You pour water in it, but immediately the water starts seeping through the hole. Depending on the size of the hole, the leak might not be noticed straight away, but eventually the owner will realise there’s a problem when he sees the bucket’s water level reducing. He knows that something is wrong, but it may only be on careful examination that he is able to realise what the problem is. Indeed he may even discover that there’s not just one but several leaks. If he wants to stop from loosing his water then his solution must be to either plug the holes or get a new bucket. This is how it is with our money; if our finances aren’t in order we may be constantly loosing money without even knowing it. We may labour hard to earn our money but for some reason we just don’t know where it all seems to be going.

So our money doesn’t endlessly leak from our pockets we need to plug those holes or in some cases get a whole new bucket and completely change our monetary habits. We need to start budgeting.

“Lazy hands make a man poor, but diligent hands bring wealth.” - Proverbs 10:4

To budget is to simply allocate where your money will go before you spend it. You often get two extremes in this camp. You get the overzealous worriers who want to account for every single penny and try not to spend anything – these are often people who have had bad financial experiences and want to make sure they don’t repeat the same mistakes. And you get the free spending untouchables who believe that their whole life is before them and the money will take care of itself – usually the younger camp. Yes we should save, and yes we should enjoy life; but we shouldn’t become draconian misers or carefree and ignorant. Remember, faithful with a little, faithful with a lot.

If you’re not someone that usually budgets then it might seem hard at first, but stick to the task at hand. Budgeting is like learning to ride a bike; at first it may seem hard but eventually you’ll get the hang of it. Want to know what you should budget? Well… everything! You should budget everything from how much you plan to spend on essential food shopping to how much you want to spend on social or recreational activities. As you start, no one is asking you to be perfect in your budgeting but at least you can now set boundaries and curb your spending habits before they curb you! Your main goals should be that your outgoings do not exceed your income and that your monthly financial habits are helping you to move towards your dreams. The aim is for you to determine where you want your money and life to go, not for a laid back attitude to dictate your future.

I’ve set out an example below of possible areas you might want to set out in your budget. You can add or subtract according to what suits you. As I mentioned last week, if you have a computer, there are many good financial software packages that you might want to consider to help you (Microsoft Money is one I use, Quicken is another one I remember someone use to use). Do consider using them because they take a lot of the hassle out of tallying your budget and often offer many other additional benefits.

You can alter your budget by adding or subtracting categories that are useful or less useful to you. For example you may want to allocate a sum to personal development or charitable donations – it’s all relative to what you want to achieve and have in your life. Click here to see an example of how your budget might look. Use this and tailor it to your own life; let’s start plugging those leaks.

God bless and protect

Quote of the week:
“Set a budget and stick to it like white on rice” – Alvin Hall


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