Friday, June 19, 2009

Budgets Dont Work

My husband and I went through Dave Ramseys FPU twice and have read many many books on finance,savings ect..I am wondering how many people truly really consistently stay on a budget?
NONE of my friends do ...ok there is one but she is so organized and perfect no one likes her, shes just not much fun because she is too busy carefully calculating life to actually live life, and besides that she has an air of superiority because she is so disciplined.

Perhaps budgets are over rated. SAVING....that is key. Maybe this is how our money should go...God first (tithes offering)then SAVING then bills. If we save before we do anything else and cut out debt we can actually retire on something more than frozen pizza. SAVE SAVE SAVE and don't incur debt!!

Budgets are never adhered to. They are made and then disregarded. A loose plan is imperative but a strict budget breeds guilt and a sense of *I can never do this!!*Kinda like living for God..... a bunch of strict rules seem to produce the opposite of the intended effect because failure always sets us up for discouragement and budgets always seem to fail.

What do you think?


  1. I totally disagree. (And that doesn't happen very ofen on your blog.) We read Total Money Makeover, also by Dave Ramsey, and for the first time created a budget. We have stuck to it for 2 years. We're now debt-free, have enough cash saved up to pay for our next van, and I absolutely love the freedom from worry that comes with knowing exactly how much money I have to spend.
    Being disciplined doesn't equate to a superiority complex. That friend is just confident about her money. That hardly makes her a snob.
    Within boundaries, we have freedom. Even millionaires have limits. Back when we had a "loose plan", we were struggling financially, wondered how we could possibly pay for an emergency when it came up, and worried about money frequently. We have been freed from all that mess. :)
    To God be the glory!

  2. I disagree too (and like Ginger, that doesn't happen much on your blog!). My husband and I made some bad financial choices when we first married, but God taught us some tough lessons early so we could make wiser choices now! Since 2004, we have lived by a budget and have been on a cash only (or check or debit card) system. We adhere strictly to our budget and budget every penny of income. It all goes somewhere be it savings, groceries, or "fun" money. We tithe first, of course. We purposely budget some 'fun money' so that if I choose to spend $5 on a cup of coffee, I can do that until my fun money runs out. We also sit down and go over our budget as a couple no less than once every two weeks. We talk about things that are coming up (birthdays, trips, holidays, tires for the truck, etc) so that we can reorganize our budget for the next two weeks if needed. We might each take a little less on fun money or clothing money in order to free up money for something else we want to do, but it's all done on paper first.

    Once every two weeks, we take out cash for tithe (church takes too long to cash our checks), groceries, fun money, Emily's homeschooling money (for me to buy supplies, books, etc), cleaners, car maintenance (oil, registration). Gas we still put on the debit card, but we know how much we've budgeted. It just makes sense to pay at the pump with a little one(s) in the car.

    We plan ahead and set aside money each month to save up for vacations both big and small, date nights, Christmas, birthdays, etc. We have a monthly budget for clothing, so that's never a surprise. We also budget some each month for minor medical (a copay or prescription). Major medical would come out of emergency savings. We hardly ever go out to eat, but if we do that comes out of our fun money and when it's gone, it's gone unless we as a couple decide to reallocate from elsewhere.

    All that to say, I absolutely, 100%, with all my heart believe that you can, and should live on a budget. I feel it's being a good steward of what God blesses us with. I wish I had felt this way and known what I know now when I was in college. I could have saved a lot of money! :)

  3. Gin,

    We tried a strict budget right down to calculating our blow money in an envelope system, just wasn't working for us. We are self employed and our income may vary up to 50% in one month so perhaps that plays into my discouragement....

    I just don't think there are many people who keep strict budgets. Even gazillionaires seem to live by the principals of saving, living below their means and not incurring debt...another common thread I have noticed in the wealthy is that many of them are very generous and giving....even ones that are not religious seem to practice philanthropy.

    Sorry I came across as mean, I am waddling more these days than usual so that may account for my feistiness.... I do want to clarify that my friend is not just a good steward she uses money as a means to control. She scolds her husband for using too much water while washing is hands, counts out potatoe chips to be *fair*...silly stuff....

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  5. I'm confident that there are very few who live by a strict budget, but the fact that there aren't many people who dress modestly isn't a good reason for me to dress like a floozy also. ;)
    Read up on Dave Ramsey's chapters about self-employment. I understand the discouragement, but don't give up!

  6. I disagree also. Budgets can work if we are wise about using them to construct a means of living.That doesnt mean we have to do as noted above some of the silly stuff like no life to enjoy or counting out potatoe chips out. That is a little over board. The point is we really have to have good judgement and good wisdom. I used to be so against budgets, you couldnt get me on one. I am older now and have a family of 7 and have learned how to budget more wisely. With a family bigger then the average, budgeting is a necessity. Pray about where your money goes before it goes. Pay tithes first always. Next, set all the bills out and
    organize them by dates they are due and the remaining balance owed. Then PRAY, pray over the bills and direction in what to pay and how much.Listen for his answer. Remember his ways are not ours and we may not understand them, but they are best for us.Keep in mind at first it will be rough! It comes down to what is the necessity and what is NOT the necessity! Splurging is a no no! Its not just a budget but really a way of living and a means of provisiion he is trying to give us. Any material can help but the best is JESUS! I encourage you not to give up.. I would love to share more if you would like.. God bless friend.

  7. I agree that budgets are hard to stay on. My husband has a steady income (praise God) and also a side business. The side business may bring in a little or a lot one month. We never know and we try to do what we can with what the Lord has blessed us with. I like your simple plan of tithe, save, bills and no debt. That way you can't go wrong. Slef emplyment is tough to go off of and it really allows you to put your faith in God.

    ~Kimmy in WA

  8. Ramsey's FPU has changed our life. This isn't like other "budgets" because we have goals and plans, so it actually feels good to discipline our spending.

  9. Thank you all for the comments, I knew I would be in the minority here...Dave Ramsey is awesome, my husband and I drove 300 hundred miles to see him in person, we really appreciate his teachings...

    I am a bit surprised Dave promotes David Chiltons *The Wealthy Barber* because Mr Chilton is not a big on budgets, he really feels like saving first is key, I agree with him.

  10. Graceful Threads - I can imagine budgeting must be a challenge when you're self employed with a varying income. Kudos to you on your efforts! :o)

    My family lives on a very (I mean VERY) restricted income. My husband works a very respectable job in the military and is the sole bread winner in our family. (aside from small things I do on the side). I am the one who take care of paying bills, savings, etc... just because he has no interest in being involved in it. I recently created a budget to help us get out of debt. We have had a few challenges staying on it, because of all the unpredictable things that come up life. However, I know that as long as we live within our means, pay our tithes, pay our bills and debts on time without incurring more big debts and save what we can ... I know every thing will be ok.

    I think people have to be careful to not let their so-called financial freedom become their downfall. The bible says "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs." (NIV). I believe that this scripture is speaking to those seek get-rich-quick schemes and those who become controlled by their obsession to be in complete control of their money. (Kind of like how you said your friend is so controlling with finances that it has brought out some not-so-nice colors in her personality).

    Whether I'm debt free, or thousands of dollars in the hole - it can all be taken away in a second. I remember my parents saying to me growing up... "spend a little, save a little and give a little away". Pretty simple!

  11. As a Money & Finance Minister, I can tell you that for most people, a budget doesn't work any more than a diet to lose weight works. They are both a temporary fix, whether that temporary time is 6 months or 5 years.

    What DOES work is a change in spending habits. Just like a lifetime change in eating habits can work wonders for your weight, a lifetime change in spending habits can work wonders with your finances.

    1 - TAKE CARE OF YOUR FAMILY FIRST (1 Timothy 6:10)
    2 - Pay all bills currently due, and pay on other debt
    3 - Give to poor/needy/church
    4 - Save for future/retirement
    5 - If anything is left, use it for your wants, or save towards what you want (but don't need).

    Tithing ended at the cross per Hebrews 7:5,12,18.

    Firstfruits has NOTHING to do with income - it was, literally, the first fruit to appear on the vine or tree.

    Tithing was NEVER on the first. Read God's definition at Leviticus 27:30-33 - every TENTH animal, NOT the first. Pastors incorrectly mix firstfruits with tithing.

  12. Most Christians Tithe. It works out to about 10 percent and that seems fair. Its a heart issue. God loves a cheerful giver.

  13. Graceful Threads - Statistics prove that only a small percentage of Christians actually tithe.

    Tithing does not work out to be about 10 percent. The word tithe MEANS a tenth. If it is 9% or 11%, it is NOT a tithe.

    God loves a cheerful giver, and that's exactly what the New Testament teaches - giving from the heart, according to our means. The Biblical tithe was NOT giving, it was PAID. The heart is not an issue with God's tithe.

  14. You are quoting facts. God scrapped the facts (law) and came up with a better plan (heart).

    Could be wrong but I dont feel that you are conveying convictions that come from a humble heart bowed before God.

    I am saying that giving is not a matter of facts or opinions. Giving should come from a bowed heart to God.

    Whats wrong with obedience to a man that we have submitted our soul to?

    What if Tithing is a man made mandate? So what? It works. Its a good rule of thumb. We all misinterpret His word in different areas. That doesnt make us greedy it makes us human.

    God is far more likely to bless a giving obedient submitted heart than a heart that is bent on proving a point and winning an argument.

    Find a new crusade. Perhaps one that promotes people to love one another.

    Really giving is a great barometer of how we feel about *everything*. If we are determined to carefully calculate every little penny and how it is spent and received, then I fear we have missed the point.

    "Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices--mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law--justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

    The Pharisees were counting out every little speck of spice instead of giving their hearts they gave precise amounts od seeds!!

    How we give is a good indicator of how we live.

  15. Exactly - how we give IS a good indicator of how we live. That's why I am 100% against tithing.

    We can use the OT law as our guidance today, OR we can be Spirit led. There is a difference.

    Being Spirit led, I am led to give FAR MORE than a mere tenth of my income, time, and talents. Tithing gives some a false sense of security. Some give the ten percent and then maybe a little more when maybe God wanted them to give 50% or more.

    You either follow the spirit of the law, OR you follow The Holy Spirit.