Several months ago Shawna and I were coaching a happy young couple with their finances. They were doing great! They were giving, saving, and spending within their means, but there was a little concern that they weren’t sticking exactly to what they budgeted in some of the spending categories. One of the spouses, acknowledging the difficulty of discipline, made this honest statement, “It’s like we’re doing this just to make it hard for ourself for no reason.”
When faced with the challenge of disciplined spending it is no secret that either giving or saving is making up the difference. In this couples’ case it was saving. The underlying question they were asking is, “How do we stay focused on sticking to the budget when we seem to be doing just fine?” Here’s how to answer that question.
Saving just for the sake of saving is boring. There must be a reason, or goal, for the saving. Goals are not as likely to be reached without time limits. So one motivation for sticking to the spending plan rather than decreasing the rate of saving is so that we get to the goals we’ve set in the time-frame we set them in when we maintain our rate of saving.
Whether we see or feel the risk of unexpected challenges or not, they are there and will pop up to surprise us when we least expect them. The prospect of challenges setting us back isn’t very motivating until one actually happens, but then it’s too late.
When things are going great it’s easy to fall in to the habit of spending more freely. Then when things aren’t going so great it sucks royally having to go backwards – sacrificing the freedoms we grow so accustomed to. So maintaining steady discipline all the time prepares us for those inevitable periods of time when discipline is not an option.
The bottom line – we should keep our spending disciplined so that we can maintain our priority of saving, otherwise we won’t be prepared for challenges and/or our goals might be put off perpetually. No one ever said sticking to the plan was ‘hard for no reason’ when they associate it with breaking through challenges and accomplishing dreams.
For more perspective on striking a balance with Giving, Saving, & Spending check out this ebook on Amazon – God Centered Finances