Many of you are aware of our slight obsession with all things Dave Ramsey. We have gone and drunk the kool-aide and it tastes great! Often we are asked things like, “How do I do what you guys did?”, “Do you think there is hope for my situation?” etc.
We are happy answering these questions, since using Dave Ramsey’s principles and methods have blessed us immensely. We can’t help but want to pass it along as a blessing to others. Hence this post. Trust me when I say that if you don’t have a budget, you will not win with money. Everything hinges on this one discipline, so check the 5 Reasons You Need a Budget below and see if you need one:
1. You wonder where all the money went.
Have you ever gotten to the end of the month and wondered where your money went? Me too. You need a budget.
A budget is simply telling your money where to go instead of wondering where it went. “Be diligent to know the state of your flocks, and attend to your herds.” Proverbs 27:23
A budget puts you in control of your money, not the lack of money in control of you. It’s giving every dollar a name, whether its savings, fun, or paying off debt.
Can you imagine being in full knowledge of what happened with every dollar that was given to you last payday? It’s empowering. With a budget, there is never “more month than money.” You will feel like you got a raise over night by simply being aware of your money.
2. You check your account balance (in fear and trembling) to see if you can afford a purchase.
Is checking your account balance or mint app your idea of seeing if you can afford to go out to dinner tonight or shopping with friends? You need a budget.
A budget is telling your money what you plan to do that particular month or pay period. You can tell it to have $50 set aside for restaurants. You can tell it $50 for shopping. You can tell it whatever you want, as long as you give every dollar a name before the month or pay period begins.
By following a budget, you take all stress and anxiety away from spending or the dreaded overdraft. If you are married, and you’re spouse budgeted $40 for shoes, you aren’t shocked when they walk in the front door with a Shoe Carnival bag. You budgeted for it. You don’t have to check the bank account to know whether or not you can cover it. And you don’t get into a fight. Double win! 🙂
3. You have used a Credit Card for “emergencies.”
Many people’s “emergencies” look more like needing more gas, forgotten birthday gift, new brakes on the car, a medical copay, or going to dinner with friends. I call these “emergencies” since a they are pretty much all items you should anticipate. Cars break. Christmas comes at the same time every year. You will go to the Doctor sometime. You will drive your car and need gas. These are not emergencies. You need a budget.
When someone is truly in an emergency situation they really couldn’t plan for, the LAST thing they need hanging over them is a nice fat credit card bill charging them 18% interest. The emergency is now a nightmare! No one would wish that on their enemy.
By following Dave Ramsey’s principles, the first step is $1,000 in an Emergency Fund. After you pay off all debts except the house, you fund that Emergency Fund up to 3-6 months of expenses. You don’t need a credit card because you pay for any emergency that comes along. A budget allows you to get into this financial position.
4. You think budgeting is for poor people.
Do you think that people who budget only eat bread and water or are so broke they have to follow one? You need a budget.
“Adults devise a plan and follow it. Children do what feels good.” Dave Ramsey
“In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil, but a foolish man devours all he has.” Proverbs 21:20
Wise people budget. If you poll and study most millionaires, they will tell you they didn’t just win the lottery one day and become wealthy. They had a plan for their money. They made it work hard for them. They told it what to do instead of floating along hoping one day they would have some wealth. They budgeted.
Actually poor people could change their financial position and not be as poor or poor at all if they simply put together a budget. Anyone living on less than they make, telling their money what to do, and stewarding it well will end up winning with money. Anyone can achieve financial peace, whether you make $20,000 a year or $200,000 a year. Both need budgets to win with the money entrusted to them.
5. Your idea of savings is to calculate whatever’s left at the end of the month.
Do you spend and buy whatever you want throughout the month and then save whatever ends up leftover? Or do you not really save consistently at all? You need a budget.
In order to achieve your financial goals and dreams, you have to start putting money aside to pay yourself first. If you don’t do this, the tyranny of the urgent will take over and you will likely never have momentum in your savings efforts. After paying your bills and necessities you can figure out what you want to be saving that month or pay period for whatever goal you are working towards (debt freedom, down payment, honeymoon, newer car, etc.)
This is the secret to really tearing ahead and making progress. However, it does require the ability to say “no” to yourself/others temporarily so you can say “yes” to your bigger goals and dreams.
Need a budget?
In case you were one of those people who needs a budget, you may be wondering where to start? First, I would read Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover to set a solid foundation for yourself. Then when you are ready to budget there are lots of programs, software, apps, etc. out there for your budgeting use. I recommend ones that we have used/currently used.
1. For you Paper & Pen Folks – http://www.daveramsey.com/tools/budget-forms/
2. For you Tech Savvy Folks – YNAB -You Need A Budget. (includes a $6 off coupon)
We started using the paper and pen and eventually wanted our budget to be in “the cloud” so we switched to YNAB. We absolutely love it. We did try Mint.com and had nothing but trouble. It may be helpful for some but wasn’t for us.
Warning – YNAB does take time to learn and I highly recommend taking the online courses they offer. We LOVE the ability to buy something and instantaneously use our YNAB app on the iPhone to track the purchase. One and done. We always have an accurate view of our bank accounts and know what’s left in every budget category at all times. Our budget meetings take about 10 minutes per month now. Zero surprises. Financial peace.
Let me know how budgeting goes for you!