Adventist Youth Honors Answer Book/Outreach/Stewardship (General Conference)/R6

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6. Do one of the following:

a. If you have an income-producing job or an allowance, make a list of how you spend your money for one month.

b. If you are not in the category above, make a list of how you would spend an income of $50 a month in the following categories:
(1) Clothes
(2) Entertainment
(3) Eating out
(4) Gifts
(5) Personal items (toiletries)
(6) School supplies
(7) Tithe and offerings
(8) Transportation

From your list determine what percentage of your total income is spent on each item. After completing the chart and percentages, discuss with your pastor or coun­selor the advantages of a budget and how to stay within a budget.

The advantage of a budget is that it allows you to think objectively about your priorities and record them. It is difficult to be objective in the store when you're looking at the latest electronic "must have" gadget. Budgeting helps to control impulse buying, and if the budget is followed, it ensures that your spending is in line with your priorities. It also helps avoid the problem of running out of money before payday, because you know ahead of time how much to keep back for essential items (such as food and gas).

When making a budget, the essential expenses (including tithe!) are dealt with first. Be sure to include money for expenses that occur on a larger time scale than the budget period. Examples include income taxes and insurance payments. These are often due annually or semi-annually, but you should set aside money every month for them so that when they are due, you don't have to take money out of the budget elsewhere to cover them.

After the essentials are taken care of, discretionary spending can be added. It's also a good idea to budget for savings and investments.

After making out a new budget and trying to live with it for a month or two, it may become apparent that you forgot to budget for something. If this happens, adjust the budget (but do it in writing!) Do not adjust the budget on the fly (especially when you are in a store considering a purchase). The key to sticking to a budget is resisting purchases that are not on the budget. If you see something you've "got" to have, and it's not in the budget, stop! Don't buy it! Save your money for it, and buy it only after you have the money in hand.

Many Christians find it easier to stick to a budget if they have made it a subject of daily prayer.