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Why Do So Many Folks Have Difficulty With Budgeting?

Why do so many folks have difficulty with budgeting? Intellectually, they know a budget is a useful tool to help handle finances well. But they don’t use it? Why?

My informal studies and experiences point to reasons captured in these five words I call the DAVID effect:

  • Denial
  • Accountability
  • Victim
  • Ignorance
  • Discipline


No budget means you don’t know how much money you waste–credit card interest charges, ATM fees, and so on.  And, of course, how much you spend at Starbucks, Tim Hortons, or other similar place. Truth is freeing, and if you knew your waste, you might have to change your behaviour! Ouch; maybe eat out less, or get rid of cable, satellite, grown-up toys!

Still, one day you must face the truth; why not start today?


Though many folks don’t understand what a budget is, they know it entails accountability. And they want to do what they want to do…now! Seductive, cheap credit means many folks spend irresponsibly with no need to account when they spend–that’s what they think. They forget 100% of funds belong to God, and one day they must account to Him (Romans 14:11-13).


We are a society of victims. We eat junk food and then blame the junk food provider. Today, we can choose from so many reasons to justify irresponsible behaviour:

  • I don’t have time; though each person has 24 hours.
  • The bank made me borrow.
  • The Government must help me.

Sadly, society accepts “deflection speech” as normal, and doesn’t call anybody to account. Look at your behaviour and ask the Lord to convict you of irresponsible acts.


People believe a budget is a straitjacket that controls them. Yet, nothing could be furthest from the truth. A budget is a freeing tool you control. A budget is merely your best estimate of resources-time, talents, money-needed to do a specific goal. The false view freezes folks so they don’t know how or where to start.


Often, I hear: “You are disciplined, but I am not.” My answer: Second Peter 1:3 tells us His divine power has granted us everything we need for life and godliness. So, since handling finances well is according to God’s will, Christians have no excuse but to accept, with God’s help, we can start living a life that glorifies God. Recall, Christians have the Holy Spirit as teacher and guide. The Holy Spirit will give us the discipline we need to do a budget and follow it. But, we need to start living as Christians in every area of life, and be less selfish.


To stay on top of finances we need to work with a budget. Christians are God’s stewards and have access to Him to help us do this. Christians have no valid excuse to not work with a budget. Jesus, speaking about discipleship, says: “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower. Won’t you first sit down and estimate the cost to see if you have enough money to complete it?” (Luke 14:28).

Sure, many are single parents who must work and look after kids; some have high stress jobs with long hours. Still, God knows this, and when we work with Him, He will guide us to all truth.

I encourage you to work with a budget. It will help you stay on top of your finances–I promise you.

Copyright (c) 2011, Michel A. Bell

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