Biblical Finance 101: Budgeting

As mentioned last time, this series will address the budgeting process, the first step of which is "Needs Determination." Since budgeting is only a control mechanism, it's purpose may be comprehensive to include all expenses or it may be limited to include only one or more expenses that are getting out of control. For example, one may have a credit card with a large, growing balance. This is certainly a red flag and must be dealt with. The budget, in this instance, is narrow in scope and consists of a plan of action to get uncontrollable credit card use under control. Typically, one's financial problems are more extensive and require a comprehensive budget. Usually, there's just not enough money to go around and the topic of discussion between spouses is how to juggle the bills to meet the most pressing needs without attracting the attention of creditors.

It is at this beginning point of the budgeting process where a determination must be made as to whether or not to seek professional help and/or legal assistance. Men may have to discard that macho image, arrogance and pride and admit the problem has gotten bigger than they can handle. Wives may have to insist on getting outside help, and by default are usually the ones with the appointed task of doing the initial legwork. The majority of calls I have received in the past from those families in financial bondage were from wives. Over the years, it has been the wife who has made the office visit to seek help. She goes home armed with tools and techniques to overcome their financial bondage only to be overruled by her uninformed husband. I currently make it a practice to discourage "one" spouse appointments. It's either both or none. If you are a husband or wife, I encourage you to do the same - this is not a solo act! I especially won't meet with husbands (only) who tell me they make all the financial decisions in the home. Yeah, right! Notwithstanding a spouse's stubbornness to deal with the problem, both husband and wife must work together and evaluate the extent of their financial difficulties. Singles, on the other hand, don't have spouses to deal with and therefore are blessed in that respect. Some professionals will do initial consultations for free to help you determine the extent of your problem and point you in the right direction.

Gary Ellis, MBA, CFP
Association Stewardship Director