I was having a conversation this morning and inadvertently said something important. Have you ever done that? There are moments when you deliver great messages, intentionally. There are moments when you try to deliver great messages intentionally, and fail. Then there are those moments when you are just talking and say something almost profound that you hadn't thought too much about.
So I thought I'd share here. The word budget has come up a lot around me lately. And I've found a problem. It was the same problem that I had for several years.
I have had my own business for almost twelve years now. That makes 144 months of income that varies to any given number. A budget was something that I dreamed of, but found absolutely impossible to do. How could I sit down and make a budget for the month, when I had no idea what money I would make that month? I could make a list of bills. Yup, that was as far as I could go. And I was stuck.
My breakthrough came one day when I was reading a stranger's facebook post online. They didn't do a monthly budget. Their income was like mine. They did a weekly budget. They planned from what came in that week. So simple, yet effective!
I got caught up in this big idea of how all inclusive a budget should be. The actual definition is "an estimate of income and expenditure for a set period of time". I get to set the time. I could make a daily budget! Although that would be a pain for sure!
We started doing better when I changed my idea of what a budget is. A budget isn't some beautiful, all-inclusive spreadsheet with every imaginable expenditure and all possible dollars. A budget is telling your money where to go. Every week now, we are taking out cash for groceries, allowance, etc. The money left in the account has a place. Each dollar goes to pay a bill or to save for the future. The money is told where to go - that is our budget. It is not set in stone. It varies from week to week. It gets re-evaluated. My ideas of a budget being set in stone and overbearing were wrong. Just like to many other things in life, it is a tool meant to help us - not something to be a burden to discourage us.
Our simplest budgets in this house belong to the kids. I made a comment the other day about the kids doing their own budgets. My youngest commented that he did NOT do a budget. I told him, "Yes you do!" When he gets paid at the end of the week for the work that he did; he breaks up the money in to three separate envelopes: Give, Save, and Spend. That is his budget. He decides where his money will go! And on a day like today, he gets to implement his budget! We went to the bowling alley today and the Spend folder money came along to have fun at the arcade!
Tonight I am thankful for a new definition of the word budget. Have you tried to make a budget, only to feel discouraged and defeated? I've been there. Believe me! Change your perception of what a budget should be. Make it work for you! All tools have a purpose and can be very helpful when you find your own groove with the tool!