Some friends recently introduced me to your ideas for handling money. I’ve got to admit a lot of it makes sense, but I’m not sure why you’re so adamant about budgeting. Can’t you get a good idea of your finances by checking your accounts and balances online regularly?
This is a great topic, especially for those who are new to the idea of getting serious about their finances and gaining control of their money. A lot of folks wonder why I’m so intense about budgeting on paper, on purpose, every month. Part of the reason is they don’t understand all the benefits—financial and otherwise—that come with giving every dollar a name.
The financial benefit is a no-brainer, so it’s the perfect place to start. I’ve been teaching people to live on a budget for many years. The reason? It never fails. People who make, and live by, a zero-based budget every month are much more likely to win with money over time. It’s not always easy when you’re first getting started, but it’s worth it.
There’s also an emotional benefit to consider. I can’t think of many things more stressful than running out of money before the end of the month. If you don’t keep a detailed accounting of every dollar that comes in, and where it goes, you’re inviting an incredible amount of fear and uncertainty into your life.
Another benefit is where relationships are concerned. Money problems and fights over money are the leading causes of divorce in America. I’ve seen how proper budgeting principles can bring a sense of healing, hope, and restoration to families. During budget meetings, couples learn to talk to each other like never before. They open up, share their dreams and fears, learn how to draw boundaries, and plan for the future. And this benefit isn’t just for the married crowd. Folks who are single can develop more personal discipline, and find accountability, that has an impact on their relationships, too.
It’s tempting to think the idea of “on paper, on purpose” is nothing but a catchphrase. But it’s so much more. Budgeting is absolutely the key to gaining control of your finances!
* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 16 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.