The costumes for Hallowe’en were purchased long ago to avoid the stress and disappointment of the last-minute rush. Thankfully, I claim no credit or responsibility for this decision. However, it was fun to see the first trying on session and to know that we are prepared. Hallowe’en is already being celebrated in many places, like Fun ‘n’ Friends today, to avoid a clash of commitments for busy parents. These levels of preparedness are based on good planning and experience.
As we plan and prepare for honoring our pledge commitment, my thoughts turned to our household budget. Sifting through the bank account to make sure we can afford what we want to give and calculating our gift accordingly. Notepads and pens at the ready, for my household, it always takes longer than anticipated, but it is worth it. Everyone is different, so not all people use the same intensity of forensic analysis as some, compromise may be required. Hopefully, our home is somewhere in the middle. We don’t want to be penny pinching but we also need to exercise self-discipline. That’s how the budget helps us, it provides a guard rail to prevent over-spending but also the peace of mind to know that we are on the right track.
Money is not always an easy subject to talk about, but we need to be honest with ourselves and each other. Without transparency there is no accountability and as Presbyterians, accountability is an important part of our tradition at a congregational, presbytery and national level.
It’s the unexpected expenditure that often catches us out and flips us into the red, so once again, experience and planning come into play. Learning from the past and holding some in reserve for a rainy day.
Budgeting time has also taught me some lessons. A wise friend once taught me that simplicity is the key to avoiding overload and stress. So, if you ever feel overwhelmed by time or money issues, take a step back and breathe. Prioritize the things that matter most and know that you are valued by God no matter what you do or give.