New Day, New Year, New You

Happy New Year!  

Have you sketched out your New Year’s resolutions yet? If so, where did “make a budget” fall on your list? 

For most, budgeting is boring and never makes it to the list of things we prioritize.

According to a Gallup poll, only about 1/3 of Americans maintain a budget. And according to Calendar.com, the average American spends less than 4.5 hours on their finances  A YEAR. Why is that?

In my experience, the reason most people don’t budget relates to a lack of know-how (i.e., what it means to budget and how to do it) or a lack of discipline (i.e., our willingness to trade short-term pain for long-term gain).

The problem, unfortunately, is that the unintended consequences of not budgeting are generally not good. For example:

  • Over 50% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck (MarketWatch)
  • Less than 40% of Americans have enough savings to cover a $1,000 emergency (Bankrate)
  • The majority of Americans have less than $50,000 saved for retirement, 36% having less than $10,000 and 24% having nothing saved at all (GOBankingRates)

If this describes you, there IS hope, and you CAN change. It’s a new day, a new year, a new you!!! To learn more about budgeting or getting help, connect with us at compassfinancialministry.org. But first, here are a few simple tips to get started building a better budget and a better you in 2023…

First, anchor yourself in God’s Word and commit to handling your money His way.  

In Proverbs 21:5, God teaches us the principle of steady plodding and why planning is so important. Your mindset matters a lot when budgeting. If you know where you want to be financially, you have something to strive for. This positive end goal will help you make better day-to-day spending decisions when living your life.

Second, get started and trust the math.  

Getting and staying on a budget over a long period of time works. A budget will highlight where your money is going, what you can afford, how to discern between your needs and wants, what to plan for throughout the year and where opportunities for improvement may be.

Budgeting is based on a simple formula, and the basic principles are threefold:

  1. Spend less than you make
  2. Take what’s left to save and give
  3. Avoid the bad stuff (like expensive debt or impulse spending)

A great budgeting framework for your income is to give 10%, save 10% and spend 80%. It is also a good rule of thumb to build up at least three to six months of your income for unplanned emergencies.

Third, if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.  

I know this is easier said than done. The world wants us to think we “gotta have it now.” There’s danger in this thought process, because it feeds into things like coveting and greed. Or said another way… idolatry.

Jesus, on the other hand, tells us in Luke 14:28-29 not to buy something if we can’t afford it. He gives us this counsel in the context of living for Him. 

Yes, there is a cost to being His disciple, and it takes humility, surrender and choosing to serve God over money.  

When faced with these spiritual vs. spending decisions, lean on the Lord for help. Over time, you will begin to feel the daily victory in improving your finances instead of having the latest shiny object. And long term, you will experience the reward of truly becoming Free to Serve Him in every area of your life.  

Have a great year!   

Keep charging for Christ,

Brandon Sieben

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