Is a Budget a Good Idea?

With the pound of a gavel following the final vote we had just approved a budget of over 40 million dollars. As I glanced around the room at peoples’ faces, I realized how important it was for every one of those dollars to be earmarked for a certain purpose.  I sat on the board of our local public school district for nine years and we passed budgets of over 40 million dollars and all the money came from tax revenue. Our community members expected us to carefully measure and plan for every cost and expenditure that is made. Why? Because it was their tax money the school district was spending to educate the children of our community.

We can’t say, “We think the costs might be higher this year but we are really not sure, so just in case we are going to raise taxes.” This kind of approach would not go over well. The community members, and also myself as a board member and a taxpayer, expect every dollar to be budgeted and accounted for.

We expect government to have a budget. Every successful business has a detailed budget. We all would expect our churches to have a budget. You cannot borrow money from the bank without a detailed accounting for what it will be used for. Jesus even had a treasurer. So why do we find it hard to discipline ourselves to live by a personal budget? Some people feel like a budget is a limitation to them when the exact opposite is true. A budget gives you dominion over your finances.

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