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Misconceptions of Budgeting: Living Freely While Living Within Your Means

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Budgeting gets a bad rap sometimes.

People here the word “budget” and they scatter like roaches from the light.

There’s a misconception that budgeting means you have to live within strict rules, have no fun or figure a cost analysis for every purchase you make or adventure you take.  People think of budgeting as a sure-fire way to zap the creativity and spontaneity out of life.

I am here to tell you that nothing is further from the truth once you understand budget living and start living a life of good stewardship.

Budgeting is much like having a relationship with Christ. 

If you truly have a relationship with Christ you know and understand that following Him is not about following a set of rules.  You have learned what He expects of you, you spend time with Him.  You have a relationship with Christ and living within that relationship is the most freeing thing you can do. It’s a strange paradox.

And so it is with budgeting.  You learn what your budget needs to look like, you spend time on it.  Eventually you don’t have to be bound by it but you live within it because it the second most freeing thing you can do.  It too is a strange paradox.

My husband is a spontaneous man.  Last week he said “let’s go see the elk.” That was Tuesday afternoon….we left Thursday morning for an overnight adventure.  This week, on Sunday he said “Let’s go camping when we head to the family reunion.” (Which is this Saturday).

Spontaneity at it’s best.

On the flip side, we live within a budget and after starting in January 2011 with $28,000.00 plus in debt we will be debt free (except the mortgage) by December of this year.

We budget and try hard to stay within that budget.

The issue with budgeting is that many people want to live outside their means because they have always lived that way.  Many grew up living that way so although it is wrong it feels right. (Doesn’t that sound familiar?)

Budgeting will most likely mean you need to make some life-style changes but those changes may only need to be temporary.  Or, you may find that over time making coffee at home is just as good as a daily Starbucks and your daily stop turns into an occasional treat instead.

Like a life with Jesus, you start to see things differently when you begin to live within your budget.  You see that long-term goal of paying off your credit cards (for good) more important than buying two new pair of shoes, so you only buy one.

Budgeting does not mean you can’t have fun or you can’t live freely. Budgeting means you live freely within your means. 

What misconceptions of budgeting do you have?


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