What do you dream of doing some day?
- Maybe you dream of traveling? Some place in the world that you would love to go visit?
- Perhaps you have a passion that you’d love to pursue, but financially that’s not really an option right now so you have to continue to work the “day job”?
- Maybe there is a charity or special cause that you wish you could support in a bigger way. Maybe you dream of being financially able to be a “secret Santa” that helps those in need? Or maybe you feel you should be tithing to your local church but just don’t see how you can do it.
- Possibly you dream of living in a different home. Better neighborhood? More room? Quiet place in the country? Better school district for your kids?
- Maybe you wish you could survive as a single income family so one parent could stay home with your young children.
- Or perhaps you just dream of having financial peace each month and not always going to bed wondering where the money was going to come from to pay the bills.
Those are just some possibilities. Everyone has dreams. How do we get there?
I would like to suggest we need to change our thinking just a little. I think one of the things that keeps people from doing a budget is they simply see the budget as a limiter. It’s the guy who comes to the party and puts a damper on everything. If I do a budget, it will just keep me from doing all the fun things I want to do. The truth is we need to see a budget is just the opposite. A budget is a plan that enables me to pursue my dreams and passions.
It’s hard to follow the “what” if you don’t first get the “why”. Unfortunately, money is a finite resource. Some have more. Some have less. But everyone has a limit. We don’t have the option to just print more money when we need it. (Well, technically, I guess we do, but that usually ends in a prison sentence. Probably not a good plan.) So then the question becomes what will we do with the amount that we have available. The budget is the tool that enables us to make those decisions.
Yes, I’m going to pack my lunch each day instead of going out for lunch, because I’m saving up for that trip I’m dreaming about.
Yes, I’m going to cut back on my cable bill or phone options, because we are working to cut expenses to live on one income.
Yes, I’m going to work that extra job for the next couple years, because that income will be the down payment on that house that is going to be much better for my family.
When you latch on to the dream as the goal, then it makes the sacrifices of getting there worth the effort. If you see budgets as only a stodgy task master bent on keeping you from having fun, you’ll never succeed. But if you see the budget as the tool that will help you live your dreams then suddenly the sacrifices don’t seem so bad because they have a purpose.
What are your dreams? What choices do you need to make to cause them to become a reality?