Catholic Commute S02E18 5 Reasons you need a budget – and How!

Control your money, control your future

We all know that money is important.  It just never seems to be that big of a deal.  Most of us are pretty responsible, right?  We don’t go blowing our money on the really crazy or stupid things.  We probably even have made reasonable choices for most of our purchases.  The problem, however, is that we aren’t really sure exactly what we are spending our money on.  It just sort of happens.

The purpose of a budget is to transform our spending from something that “happens” to something that is “intentional.”  A good budget may look a lot like what you already spend money on.  The difference is that you will actually know what you are spending.  There are some categories we probably spend too much on – a budget will help with that.  But there are many more benefits to a budget than simple knowledge.  It can change your future.  In this episode I discuss more.

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S02E18 5 Reasons you need a budget – and How!


St. Matthew

Little is known about St. Matthew, except that he was the son of Alpheus, and he was likely born in Galilee. He worked as a tax collector, which was a hated profession during the time of Christ.

According to the Gospel, Matthew was working at a collection booth in Capernaum when Christ came to him and asked, “Follow me.” With this simple call, Matthew became a disciple of Christ.


Wrote gospel to the Jews (etc.)


It is thought he departed for other lands to escape persecution sometime after 42 AD. According to various legends he fled to Parthia and Persia, or Ethiopia. Nothing is recorded of Matthew’s passing. We do not know how he died, if his death was natural or if he was martyred.

Saint Matthew is often depicted with one of the four living creatures of Revelation 4:7, which reads, “The first living creature was like a lion, the second like a bull, the third living creature had a human face, and the fourth living creature was like a flying eagle.”



O Glorious St. Matthew, in your Gospel you portray Jesus as the longed-for Messiah who fulfilled the Prophets of the Old Covenant and as the new Lawgiver who founded a Church of the New Covenant.
Obtain for us the grace to see Jesus living in his Church and to follow his teachings in our lives on earth so that we may live forever with him in heaven.



Dave Ramsey intro, mentioned recently in CST.


  1. Be a good steward
    1. Matthew 25:14 [Summarize]
    2. We humans don’t really know what we don’t measure
    3. (foundation of science)
    4. It isn’t “our” money, it is God’s.  We will be called to do an accounting.  Are you ready?
    5. You may surprise yourself
    6. Story of Costco spending
  2. Take care of your future
    1. Some basic math – how does interest work?
    2. E.g. $150k house loan at 4%
      1. 30 yr loan is $805, you pay $140k in interest
      2. 15 yr loan is $1186, you pay $63.5k in interest
      3. Difference – pay $380/month more, save $77k in interest
    3. Credit Card, let’s say you have $10k in credit card debt (which is NOTHING)
      1. Each year you pay ~$1500 in interest.
      2. It’s like giving them a vacation for free
      3. Credit cards are the #2 business in the US!!
    4. These same interest numbers work the other way too!  If you started at age 21:
      1. At $20 per week you’d have $331,553 by age 67
      2. At $50 per week you’d have $828,882 by age 67
  3. Feel safe and stable
    1. Let’s face it, we all need to find some stability.  This point isn’t about math, it’s about feelings.
    2. Often it’s our wives who need this even more.
    3. Once you have the basic spreadsheet setup, you can expand it into the future
    4. It creates a sense of teamwork
    5. It paints a picture for your future that both people are excited by
    6. It creates funds and plans for emergencies
  4. Consider the needs of all
    1. Ever feel like your wife is blowing a fortune on Starbucks?  Now you can track it and add it up.
    2. You have to carefully create the categories, and make sure all the numbers add up.
    3. We separate out:
      1. Food from grocery store to prepare at home
      2. Eating-out
      3. Money to spend on kids fun stuff
      4. Money to spend on schooling stuff
      5. Money to save for gifts; for auto repairs
      6. Recurring fixed expenses – mortgage, utilities, phones, internet, etc.
    4. If you two really disagree, you can even move to a cash-envelope system.
    5. Treat it as just data.  First collect all that you are spending, then separate how much of that is discretionary.  Remember that Cabela’s is not essential. 🙂
  5. Get what you really need and want
    1. Maybe you each agree that you can each have $50 / month for fun stuff (we call it “blow” money.)  Well, if you are disciplined, you can save that up for several months to get one bigger purchase totally guilt-free!
    2. If you gave me the choice between lots of small little excursions through a year or one big awesome tech purchase, I’d almost always choose the tech purchase.
    3. The key is that a budget creates intentionality
    4. Sometimes good spending means that both of you have to cut back your “blow” money, sometimes a lot.
    5. This happened to Sterling and I when I left Micron.
    6. It still creates a teamwork setup.  Whenever we drift off our budget is when I start wondering about the daily Amazon box delivery.


How to do it?

  1. Choose a champion
    1. Who is more motivated?
    2. Who has the skills and dedication to complete and track the actual spending?
    3. The other person cannot just check out – they have to verify!
  2. Create a spreadsheet
    1. Look at previous spending
    2. Create categories
    3. Fill in previous months with actual values
    4. Try to be fair about what fits into what categories
  3. Fill out a proposal
    1. Using previous months, create what you think a future month should look like
    2. Remember to include savings!
  4. Keep meetings brief and focused.
    1. As you get ready to meet, don’t expect to spend all day at this.
    2. Try to have some examples of what fits into each category.
    3. The first meeting may be a bit longer, but keep it under 1 hour and stay focused.  It’s VERY easy to spin-off into side discussions.
  5. Review, Test, and Update
    1. Commit that once a month (or maybe every 2 months or 2 weeks) you two will sit down and review how closely you are sticking to the budget
    2. Update a category if it really needs to change
    3. Review life changes (new baby = more kid expenses)
    4. If things get dirty, move to a paper envelope system.  It’s harder, but it rigidly enforces compliance. No online or credit card puchases without mutual review (and then take the cash out of that envelope.) – DO NOT PLAN TO LIVE THIS WAY.


  1. Be a good steward
  2. Take care of your future
  3. Feel safe and stabile
  4. Consider the needs of all
  5. Get what you really need and want


How to do it?

  1. Choose a champion
  2. Create a spreadsheet
  3. Fill out a proposal
  4. Keep meetings brief and focused.
  5. Review, Test, and Update


G.K. chesterton; “There are two ways to get enough.  One is to acquire more and more. The other is to desire less.”

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