The Beall Budget


I know where every single solitary penny is in our budget. Yesireebob, I do. Before children arrived, I worked at a bank balancing million dollar accounts, have done payroll, and have been in the bookkeeping business for the last few years. If our account is off two pennies, I will find them. They cannot escape my hunt. I’m just sayin’. Chris recognized early on that my gift at creating and maintaining the family budget far exceeded his ability. He quickly conceded the day to day running to me. Isn’t he smart 🙂 I recognized quite quickly as well that Chris was the visionary. He’s the CEO, and I’m the CFO. I trust his leadership, and he trusts my management. When I hear about families who do not follow a budget, I almost have a seizure. If the Bealls didn’t have one, we’d be toast. Like dark brown, burnt toast. While we went through our share of overspending in the early years of our marriage, we now live beneath our means. First things first. We have a shared checking account. In years of mentoring young couples, we have seen many who want to maintain control of “their” money. In our opinion, this could be a tool that the Enemy would use to bring division into your financial world. We approach our finances like a business where there is teamwork, accountability and a shared vision for where we are and where we are headed financially.

Let me give you some specifics and tips about what we do and why we do it this way.

  1. Tithes and Offerings – I’ve written about this before but we tithe (give 10%) off our combined gross income to our church. We then give another percentage above our tithe to different ministries and individuals in need. I double-dog dare you to give above your tithe. Talk about seeing mountains moved.
  2. Giving Vs. Selling – We rarely sell items that we no longer need. We’d rather give away an old dining room table or washer and dryer set to a family in need instead of selling it. There is nothing wrong with selling things by any means. It’s just that we were blessed so much in the early years of our marriage by those who gave to us. We want to pay that favor forward to another family.
  3. Spending Habits – We decided years ago that if we wanted to purchase something over $50, we had to discuss it with the other. The fact is, we never spend $20 without talking about it. May sound a little odd but it works for us. We want unity above anything we want to buy.
  4. Life Insurance – We’ve always had it. It’s important to make sure the primary breadwinner is insured the most. Simply because if he/she passes, you won’t want the survivors to have financial difficulties in addition to the emotional trauma they are already experiencing. There are experts out there who can guide you on specific amounts that are appropriate for your family.
  5. DebtGet rid of it. The best way we got rid of consumer debt was to sacrifice in one area and put that money toward the debt. The debt would eventually “snowball” and be gone. For amazing help in this area, check out Dave Ramsey’s financial books. He’s amazing. (Note: During the years we had credit card debt, I would find a no interest credit card while we were paying it down. We NEVER paid interest because I made sure that they were paid off before the time frame had passed. Only do this if you are thorough and organized.)
  6. Clothing Budget – We don’t have one for the two of us. I do not go shopping every month like many women do. I might shop about three times a year but it’s usually with money from Christmas, birthdays or some unexpected refund check. Chris is the same and often buys his clothes from a local resale shop. My suggestion is that you budget for the year and put money aside into an account each month. That way, when your children or you need something, you have money set aside to buy it. Since we live beneath our means, I simply pull from the surplus when I need to purchase items for our boys. Which seems to be A LOT lately since they are growing like onion grass.
  7. Groceries – We have a certain amount that we spend on groceries. When we hit that mark, we eat what we have. We have found that there is always food in the pantry at our home…we would just PREFER something else.
  8. Allowance – If you are able to do this, do it. Decide as a couple what your allowance for the month should be. This allowance can be for whatever you want it to be. Chris gets $40 and I get $40…a month. That is for anything that we want to do apart from the other…eating out, Starbucks, Starbucks, Starbucks. Let that amount sit with you for a bit. Some of you spend $40 a week! This is one way Chris and I have been able to afford the next item…
  9. Cars – The Bealls like nice cars. We do. We won’t sugar coat that one iota. We buy great cars that were built to run for a long time. We currently have one that is paid for and the other that is not. We hope to have that happen in the next couple of years.
  10. Retirement – At the present time, 13% of Chris’ salary goes toward retirement. We want to put in more but feel that it is more important to pay off one more debt before we increase this amount.
  11. Gas – Not the “I had too many refried beans” kind. Because we live pretty far north of our city and with gas prices higher than ever, we don’t just make flippant trips into town. I carpool with my neighbor to get our kids to school. Since I’m the “pick-up” person, I make sure that if I have any errands for the day, they are saved for later in the afternoon when I’m already out. I also save a lot of my big trips into town for one day a week.
  12. Luxuries – We consider cable TV and eating out to be luxuries. There are plenty of other things that fall into this category as well. These are things that you can do without. We didn’t have cable TV for the first 11 years of our marriage. We had seven glorious channels. What is it for you? Is there something you can sacrifice in order to pay off a debt or give to another ministry? Just a thought.
  13. Rewards – We rewarded ourselves after paying off a debt. We did this so that we wouldn’t overspend. It was like a little pat on the back for us for working so hard to pay off debt. So, when we paid off our credit cards, we allowed ourselves to buy a few fun items for our house. You may choose to have a weekend getaway, a nice dinner out or a small shopping spree. It’s important to reward yourself for all of the hard work that went into paying off debt. You deserve it!
I know living on a budget takes a lot of planning. I feel like I am constantly thinking of ways to make our income go further. It’s the little things that make the difference. But we’ve found that it’s worth it. As a result of our tithes, offerings and financial management, two things have resulted: 1) We believe God is honored in the way we manage what He has entrusted to us and 2) we live under an amazing canopy of peace provided by our Creator. And while there are a lot of things in this world that we would enjoy buying, financial peace is priceless. If you’d like to see an example budget, just download it and make it your own. examplebudget.xls

24 thoughts on “The Beall Budget”

  1. We have a budget, but reading yours makes me want to tighten the reigns and be more specific! Thanks for the boost! I hope that we all can be great stewards of our resources!

  2. You sound just like Dirk—he’s the CEO AND the CFO! We’ve had a budget FOREVER! It’s how we raised 7 kids on one income.

    Thanks for the great ideas and challenges—it really works!

  3. Great!!! I also recommend carrying life insurance for stay at home mom’s. If something were to happen to me, my husband would have to begin spending quite a bit of extra every month for quality care for all our wee ones.

  4. I am so glad to see this. Good to know you are living in your means and putting away for a rainy day. I do too, my finances are in tip-top shape these days. I put 14% of my income in my 403b and $2,400 into a money market account. And, thanks to you, my lil love can go to private school too!

    My best friend from houston was here this weekend and we cruised your blog; I am showing you off! She was so happy to see jack in your boys section and so happy to see that we have “Shalom in the Home” between us!!!

    Love you guys and very grateful! jen

  5. Terry is the finance guy in our house and I am so thankful God has gifted him in this area. He is obedient with our finances; I don’t complain when he does the budget and I don’t get a new dining room rug out of the deal. Frankly, because of his stewardship and my submission to that, we have really nice things. (We don’t need them of course, but what can I say, I love to decorate!)

  6. We have done almost all of those! You are so right, it makes such a difference. Both of our cars are paid for and we have no debt to speak of. I am not so good about the clothes thing, I like to buy clothes. But, I have found Ross has fabulous deals for kids. I also get such a thrill from finding a bargain!

  7. Gotta love the budget! Can I hear FREEDOM!!!! Oh, and I think JT is going to start paying me to be the teacher…just a little insentive to keep consitency in the education area. I totally think it’s a great idea, cuz I like to spend money. Maybe all of us stay at home mommies should get “paid” 🙂

  8. That’s awesome! There are some areas of spending that Amber and I definitely need to sit down and work out. Luckily Amber just got a job and will be working a couple days a week, the days that I am off, which is going to go directly towards getting rid of our debt. Thanks for sharing the plan that you guys follow, it obviously has worked well for your family and hopefully will be a great tool for Amber and I to base ours around.

  9. I totally agree about having 1 bank account. I think their can be some serious trust issues with seperate accounts. plus both spouses need to understand how it all works and abide by it. The only way our family survives and doesn’t go inot more debt is to live on a budget, EVEN DURING THE HOLIDAYS.

  10. Thank you for laying it out for us. It is hard to change your habits and any tool you can lay your hands on is a God Send (literaly). We have been living beyond our means for a few years and it is my goal to pay off at least half of our debt this year. I was slightly reassured when I spoke with a friend and realized that I carry alot less debt than most people but debt is debt.

  11. We are getting there with our finances, but you have inspired me to take it to the next level!

    Just wanted to comment and not be just a lurker!!!

  12. We have a Budget Summit every six months where we look at where we’ve been, where we’re going and how close we are to meeting our long-term goals. It really helps to set aside this time to tweak our budget categories, celebrate victories and make up for any losses. We both always know what we’re spending, what we’re saving (and WHY), and what we’re giving.

    Like you, we give away the things we’re finished with. Frankly, I don’t have the patience for selling stuff. We’ll be buying (with cash) a new minivan in the next 6 months (Lord willing). Our current (running, but needing routine repairs what with the 160,000 miles on it and all) minivan will be given to the person/family the Lord identifies to us as needing it. There are very few feelings in the world like handing someone the keys to the car you don’t need anymore.

  13. I am learning the joy of a fixed income and the benefits that come with it.
    Even on days when I have the wants the joy of not overspending is worth going without. Thanks!!

  14. Thank you for writing on this topic! I check in on your page ever since I found it through Libby’s blog [my Acct. Partner]

    My husband often (lovingly, of course) refers to me as the Budget Nazi. Early on, we too realized that I enjoy money management. Yep, enjoy it! So, we share similar roles as you and Chris.

    However, there are times when I do feel a tad extreme. We are the social freaks without cable…we also talk before any purchase over $20 and each have 25 whole dollars a month to go crazy with [young-married budget]. We get our thrills from our Outward focus part of the budget….which we too hope GOD increases as we stay faithful- and conservative.

    After reading your post I don’t feel AS MUCH like the radical couple. 🙂 Many Thanks!

  15. Thank you Cindy for giving your budgeting tips. my husband & I have struggled for some time now with debt, we really just ignored it because it stressed us out we didn’t want to deal with it. This past year we really have owed up to it and started to chip away at it. We are trying to live beneth our means something we never thought we could or would do. We are not as stressed and it has made us stronger as a couple. any other budgeting tips that come along we’ll take em’

  16. Wow! Thanks for sharing and writing all of that out. I struggle so badly with budgets and getting out of debt, and it’s always encouraging to read how other people do it. I always learn a new trick or two! 🙂

  17. That is so cool that you laid all of that out. I like what you said about giving vs. selling (we’ve been given so much, and we hate the headache of selling something too). Its just easier and more of a blessing to give anyway. =)

  18. I love when we talk about this, because God has blessed us so many times from people. Can I say FREE New van!!!! Also you and Chris have blessed us with boys clothes and shoes for the past 4 years. Thank you, I love you.

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