Another common question that many people ask when they are first learning to live on a budget is, "What do you do with any money that is leftover at the end of a budget cycle?"
I can just hear some of you now saying, “If only I had that problem! Trust me, you’re time will come—here’s what to do with it.
Although there are no hard fast rules about this, here is what I suggest.
My first suggestion would be to carry the money over in the same category and let that area build. For instance, we hardly ever buy clothes in January or February. What do we do with our clothing allowance? Let it build for March and April when we buy most of our clothes for the entire year. (What can I say—I like spring-style clothes better than fall and winter!)
This principle will really help in the categories of Medical and Groceries. In the grocery department, it will enable you to stock up when things are on sale and save your money when prices are high until another sale rolls around. In the medical category, it’s realistic to think that you’re family could go for weeks without needing to see a doctor. Then, all of a sudden, the flu hits, someone breaks their glasses and another person has 2 cavities. If you let the medical fund build, the money will be there when you need it. So my advice: let it grow.
Now, that’s MY advice. I have heard financial advisors give different recommendations. Their advice is to take any money that is leftover at the end of a pay cycle and apply it to your debt load (which we probably did when we were paying off our debt) or direct it toward a savings account. Again, both of these are good ideas. You should pray about which direction the Holy Spirit wants you to choose. Who knows, He might ask you to use your extra blessings to bless someone else (also a very good option).
Here’s what I suggest you DON’T do with leftover money: Splurge. Don’t say, “Wow, we have $50 leftover this month—Time for dinner and a movie!” Let your entertainment/spending fund be your entertainment/spending fund. Apply the character traits of self-control, patience, and frugality and distribute any leftover funds toward debt repayment or saving for upcoming expenses or a rainy day.
Reality is that you’re going to have good days and bad days living on a budget. You’ll have months where you barely make it through and months where you’ll have leftover money. Some months will be filled with crisis and emergencies, and others will be boring, dull, and uneventful. That’s life, and that’s budgeting.
Through it all God will be faithful, if you are faithful and consistent to do your part and follow His Word with a right heart. With the help of the Holy Spirit and a determination to obey God’s principles, you can enjoy the ride. Maybe someday you’ll be the one telling other people, “You can do this. You may have to make some adjustments, but you can do this! We did and so can you!”
Looking for More Biblical Teaching on Finances? Check out our Video Series, "Five Minute to Financial Freedom"