A few weeks ago I had dinner with a friend. When I asked her if her family follows a budget she said, “You have to have money to have a budget.” Not knowing how much of a budget advocate I am, I simply disagreed with her. Lest you think the same way, I want to share a bit of my story.

Rewind a little over 10 years ago. I was almost two years into my first marriage when I learned the horrible news that my husband had found someone else and he was leaving. How could this be?

My husband worked nights so I worked out of our home during the day so that we could spend more time together. After getting over the shock of his announcement, one of the first things that I asked myself was how I was going to survive. After all, I didn’t make enough money to survive with the work I was doing out of our house.

We had a beautiful house and I decided to stay in it…not even considering how I was going to pay the monthly payment… it was the only security I had. God was so gracious because He quickly provided a new job for me. Not only did He provide a job, but it was the perfect job for me at that time.

During that difficult time I learned that you can get three free months of cable if you call to cancel your service. I cancelled cell phone service and did everything I knew to cut corners. There were many times when I wasn’t able to go out to dinner with friends because I didn’t have the extra money. (Please don’t feel sorry for me – obviously I survived.)

Along with my day job, I was able to continue doing my previous job at night. I scraped together what little money I had and worked my budget each week. I worked any side job I could find to put into savings. There were times when I would go to the mailbox and find a check from a friend or family member (even from an insurance overpayment one time). By the grace of God I was always able to pay my bills and never fell behind.

I eventually changed jobs, received some raises in my salary and my finances became a bit more stable. Had I not been smart about with my money (even though it wasn’t much at the time) and followed a written budget, I’m not really sure where I would be.

Dredging up the past is difficult but I pray that it encourages at least one of you. Don’t give up. If you’re walking down a difficult financial road, keep pressing on because you’ll get through it. You may not see the end in sight but it’s there, I promise.

If you’ve been putting off starting a budget, let today be the day. I promise that if you don’t start now, you won’t start when you have more money. I don’t have it all together, and never will. God gets all the glory in my story because I’m not really sure where I’d be without Him. He’s pretty awesome!!!

Thrifty T