Budgeting and the Bible
Proverbs teaches how careful management helps us make the most of our money
So you want to be the master of your money — you’re committed to getting out of debt, spending wisely and giving to support good causes. But how do you turn these good ideas and turn them into something you can actually do? You make a budget.
I learned about the power of a budget when I began to study what the Bible said about money. As a young man, I lived like many young people, spending freely and paying little attention to where my money was going. But once I discovered budgeting in the Bible, I found a tool that put me in control of my money.
A budget allows you to make informed, strategic choices about spending and saving.
The word “budget” can scare people, conjuring up images of congressional committees or the accounting offices of large corporations. For some of us, “budget” means broke — the idea of living “on a budget” implies pinching pennies and slogging through life without any luxuries. But a budget doesn’t have to make life a drag.
Budgets accomplish two goals: First, a budget is a way of documenting your financial life on paper. It shows where your money comes from and where it goes. And second, a budget allows you to make informed, strategic choices about spending and saving. Looking at your budget allows you to strategically redirect your cash flow to meet needs as they arise.
Think about it this way: If money is like water, a budget is the plumbing system that we build to make it flow where we want it to go.
A Budget in the Bible
Budgets aren’t some newly-invented system. The Bible tells us to keep careful track of our financial lives in Prov. 27-23-27:
23 Be sure you know the condition of your flocks,
give careful attention to your herds;
24 for riches do not endure forever,
and a crown is not secure for all generations.
25 When the hay is removed and new growth appears
and the grass from the hills is gathered in,
26 the lambs will provide you with clothing,
and the goats with the price of a field.
27 You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family
and to nourish your female servants.
I’m not a farmer, and you’re probably not either, but the advice in this proverb still applies to us. For today’s society, knowing “the condition of your flocks” and giving “careful attention to your herds” means keeping an eye on your bank account and knowing exactly what your money is doing. After all, “riches do not endure forever.” If we don’t carefully plan our finances, and direct them where to go, we will one day find ourselves broke.
Telling your money where to go each month ensures that your most basic needs will always be met.
A Plan for Plenty
The passage goes on to give us really good news about what financial vigilance can do for us: “You will have plenty of goats’ milk to feed your family and to nourish your female servants.” Your family probably drinks cow’s milk instead, but you get the point — when you stay on top of your finances, you’re never caught unaware. Telling your money where to go each month ensures that your most basic needs, like food and shelter, will always be met.
When I began using a budget to plan what I did with my money, it gave me the tools I needed to turn my financial life around. If you’ll commit to making a budget and sticking to it, you can accomplish amazing things with your money too.