My husband and I had been avoiding this discussion for days, but the time had come.
We both dreaded it.
We had to talk about The Budget.
We have a great marriage and work together as a team on most issues. Except for a difficult year we experienced, for the most part we rarely argue.
Yet discussing the budget gets to us every time.
He gets upset and frustrated. I run off and avoid.
What do you do when the money is just not there?
My husband is a pastor and I stay home with our 5 children (two who have special needs), plus run this website and speaking business and work part-time as a Family Advocate.
(While we are blessed that my husband makes a full time salary, the reality is that many pastors live near or at the poverty level, despite the fact that many have a great deal of education and experience. It is not at all unusual for a pastor or other church workers to qualify for food stamps, Medicaid, or other government support.)
When the Money Is Just Not There
Do you experience months where the money is just not there?
Through the guidance of Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University, we’ve carefully budgeted each dollar, doing our best to work within our means.
Yet it seems like every month there is something addition that is desperately needed but beyond our budget:
- A car breaks down
- The kids need shoes
- The house needs repair
- Medical problems
I know the advice – save for these things along the way.
It’s not that we don’t want to save, or even haven’t tried to save. At a certain point with income, each dollar is allocated for making ends meet.
More than Just Making It
Last month I was gifted the book More than Just Making It by Erin Odom to review on my website.
When I started reading, it was as if God had Himself placed this book in my hands.
In More Than Just Making It, Erin shares about her life experience as being in financial crisis as the middle class working poor. She and her husband both have higher education. They are hard working. Yet, at the time, she was staying home with their young children and doing freelance work and her husband’s teaching job paid a low salary.
They were not making it financially.
She shares the embarrassment of using WIC checks at the grocery store and relying on family for ongoing support.
I soaked up every word she wrote, because so many of them could have been mine.
I’ve always lived with the belief that money problems are not about money. Money is a tool, and God has all the money He needs to supply our every need.
Yet when when you are facing a day to day reality of financial stress, the strain becomes exhausting.
In the book Erin shares a key understanding about budgeting and rising above living from paycheck to paycheck. Ask yourself – do you have a spending problem or an income problem?
Do You Have a Spending Problem or an Income Problem?
If you are struggling to make ends meet with the salary you have, Erin shares with us in the book that you either have a spending problem or an income problem.
Signs You Might Have a Spending Problem
- You make a budget but never stick to it.
- You borrow money to pay for things you cannot afford.
- You shop to satisfy an emotional need instead of out of necessity.
- You max out your credit cards and only pay the minimum each month.
- You make a decent income but continue to overspend on material possessions to fit the lifestyle you want.
- You hide your spending habits and debt from your spouse.
If you might have a spending problem, check out Erin’s book for ideas and steps to take.
On the other hand, is it possible you have income problem? Maybe you are doing a great job of managing with a tight budget, but there are no other cuts to make.
Signs You Might Have an Income Problem
- You have trouble stretching your budget to cover basic necessities.
- You have more month than money.
- You don’t have any debt, yet you’re still struggling financially.
- When you research the poverty level, your family is at or below it.
If you have an income problem, there are creative ways to increase your income, as well.
Once you have decided if you have an spending problem or an income problem, create a plan. You can move from just making to MORE than just making it.
Have you seen God provide for your family in creative ways? Are there budgeting changes you need to make?
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