The Budget Post: From Keith Davis
This is my first time as a guest blogger on Elaine’s site. I hope the reader does not have great expectations that this post will be in any means comparable to the creative, thought-provoking posts Elaine so consistently sends our way.
I noticed the other day that I am beginning to recognize the way that our friends’ careers and passions are expressed in everyday life. It’s really funny and at the same time such a blessing. For example, when someone asked Ryan how his hurt knee is feeling, he went into a ten-minute explanation about which movements are now possible with his new knee brace and the PT explanation of how each muscle, tendon and ligament works together in the knee. Matt, working as a worship leader in a college ministry, makes awesome CDs of mixes containing incredible new bands that he has recently found. Patrick, who works at an architect firm, tells us why he hates Dubai and Larry Langford so much and who out of our friends will be best suited to survive if the global economy totally crashes so that we have to survive off the land and our wits. Elaine arguably writes post after post in the best blog ever created. Everyone knows that Aaron, who works as a video editor, is our official event photographer. I could go on and on.
The point is that I want to contribute. Everyone knows that my best skill is “saying something really nice that doesn’t make sense”. I’ve think I’ve got that mastered and have shared my gift with nearly everyone I’ve met. One of my other gifts is attention to detail.
Elaine and I decided to start working on a budget at the beginning of the year. It was a lot harder than I at first thought. I assumed that it wouldn’t be too challenging, especially with my accounting background. It was much more complicated than I anticipated to make the budget useful yet simple at the same time. I think it has changed in some way every month for the past 10 months, but I think we have finally come to the point where we are happy with it.
When we went through a marriage counseling retreat, our leaders really made an impression on how being intentional with how you spend money brings freedom. It allows us to measure how much we’re spending and to see that most of the time even though it seems like we are using our money wisely, in general we are often too quick to justify purchases as things that we “need”. The leaders of the retreat emphasized two things that have sticked with us: when we use discipline to control our spending we have more money to give away and we are able to pay off debts. Both of these are great joys and I am convinced are healthy Christian desires. It’s not just about greed or being cheep. And it’s not just for married people ☺
So to keep this short, Elaine and I have created a link to an outline of our budget, with very detailed explanations of how to use it, on google documents here. We have inserted explanations of what each line means and how to make the budget work for you individually. If you want to use the budget just email us (firstname.lastname@example.org or Elaine.email@example.com) and we’ll send you an excel file of your own. Or, you can create a google documents account and upload it there by copying and pasting (I think that should work). We like google documents because the file is saved online and you can access it from any computer. Please let us know if something doesn’t make sense or if you have any questions.
We are so thankful for how God has provided for our needs. We want to learn what it means to glorify God through our finances. We want to learn how to see needs in our community and to have extra money to give as the Lord leads. We also want to, as quickly as possible, be free from major debts. We want to be ready to serve God wherever he wants and we can’t do that while living under large debts or while spending money according to our perceived “needs”.
With this said, to clarify, oatmeal squares and peanut butter M&Ms are not luxuries but are necessities for a happy, healthy, Christian life. :0)