Does it sound ridiculous to say I love living on a budget? Perhaps as crazy as saying, “Why I adore counting calories” or something equally torturous? But having a budget that we set, adjust and revisit regularly, has been one of the best things my husband and I have ever done financially.
Why We Love Living on a Budget
Living on a budget spills over into many areas of our lives. Here are a few benefits that come from living on a budget:
Prompts Money Discussions
Creating a successful family budget requires money discussions. You discuss spending categories, tracking spending and earning more income if there is a shortfall. And you reflect on if and where you got off track at the end of each month.
If you find yourself holding your breath as you open the credit card statement, you know all about surprises. And I don’t mean the good ones. By tracking our spending, and rarely using credit cards, we avoid overspending or losing track of our money.
Encourages Guilt-Free Spending
I have been a saver since receiving my first dollar. So it is common for months to pass without me spending any money on myself. Having a category for “Fun Money” helps me stay balanced in this area of my life.
If I see something I like, I can buy it without guilt if it is within the budget. And if I don’t happen to shop for myself one month, I can carry the money over to the next month for something bigger.
Fosters Marital Peace
We know that how and when and where to spend money often causes marital conflict. Since I am a saver, and my hubby is a bit of a spender, having a budget has brought marital peace. Now he has his “Fun Money” to spend however he chooses.
DVDs, books, clothing? I can celebrate his purchases without a raised eyebrow (most times) because he stays within his fun money amount.
Prepares Us for Emergencies
When my husband lost his job last year it could have been financially devastating. As the main income earner, he was off work for 16 months. Because we had been using a budget for a while, we didn’t panic. We just crunched the numbers to see the minimum we needed to bring in each month to break even with our expenses.
And I would make up any deficit from our savings. Striving to live below our means paid off during this season.
Teaches Children Responsibility
I set aside an amount to spend on our four kids each month. At the end of a month, I can show the kids how the money was spent. It covers field trips, youth events at church, birthday party gifts and clothing and footwear. They are learning that money is finite. And they know that if we want to treat ourselves, we need to save up for it.
Our family has been on a budget for many years now. Even if we have a season where we do not record our spending as regularly as we should, we fail forward and determine to do better the next month. I can honestly say that having a budget has improved the quality of our lives. If you would like to set one up for your family, consider these posts to get you started:
What do you think having a budget could help you accomplish? What is holding you back from starting?