Living a Budgeted Life

One of the occupational hazards associated with being a housecleaner is that I’m usually the first thing to go when people feel the need to cut back. You can imagine my shock when the opposite happened on the heels of the threat of tax increases and changes in healthcare. Not only did I not lose any jobs, I gained several more. Without even thinking I said “yes” to the job offers and set about ridding more houses of dust and grime all the while sucking up more of my time.

When my husband and I started the long, arduous climb out of the black hole of debt, it was suggested to us that we start writing down everything we spent our money on. Talk about tedious! I hated it. It drove me crazy. I felt tied to a clipboard and a pen, but it proved to be an invaluable tool. Suddenly we were aware of where all the money was going. No wonder we didn’t have gas money. I’d just bought two pairs of shoes! Clearly adjustments needed to be made.

In college, this idea of budgeting time was known as time management. It won’t shock you when I tell you that I wasn’t very good at it. I’m still not, but as I look at what I spend my time on, I realize that I need to make some adjustments. Most of the things we spend our time on, in and of themselves, are not bad. But like money, once it’s spent, it’s gone. Was it a wise expenditure? Am I getting the most bang for my buck? In the world of finances that means getting the desired item at the lowest price possible. With time what I consider the best deal is spending each hour of my day doing the jobs that God has given me to do. We were doing fine before I took more work. God never asked me to go out and make more money. What He asked me to do is take care of my husband, my kids, write and work the jobs He’s given me. He’s also asked me to be content with the money I make while doing those jobs and to remember it’s not all about money.  Spending hours on things that weren’t in His plan is as nuts as throwing five dollar bills out the window as I drive down the street.

It’s taken awhile (I’m not the brightest crayon in the box!), but I’ve realized that time is as valuable as money. Both need to be budgeted. Both can get wasted on mindless “spending.” And both are gifts from God and, therefore, belong to God. So I will treat my time as I would my money, cutting back where needed, budgeting the minutes as I would the dollars, doing my best to spend it wisely, and trusting God to stretch my minutes to cover each task just as He stretches my money to cover each bill.

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