I talked about some budgeting tips yesterday. Here's a few more…
1. Don't use percentages when increasing your budget - Use actual dollars. (Thanks to Steve Stroope for teaching me this principle)
2. Add some "pad" – don't budget yourself right at 100% of your projected budget. Give yourself some room just in case things don't work out the way you planned.
3. Remember, it's a projected budget – That means just because the calendar strikes January 1, that doesn't mean your giving is going to increase just because you are projecting that it's going to.
4. Think through the "lean" months – If you see your giving go down in the summer months, plan for that in advance (Proverbs 6:6-8).
5. Six weeks in reserve – Ideally, you want to have 6 weeks worth of expenses in savings. If you don't and things get lean, there could be problems.
6. There's faith and then there's recklessness – I'm all for stepping out in faith. However, I've been in too many board meetings where the Pastor wants to have the board approve an extremely aggressive budget all in the name of stepping out in faith.
7. Think Conservatively – I used to be Mr. Aggressive when it comes to budgeting. Then I realized that this course of action was creating tons of stress in my life. Instead, budget conservatively. You can always increase the budget mid-year should the Lord bless the church unexpectedly.
8. Don't factor one-time gifts into your budget – If someone drops a $50,000 check into the offering, praise God! But don't make the mistake of thinking that's going to happen next year. We don't factor one time gifts into our budget. This way, should someone give us an unexpected gift, we can use it to do things we said no to during the budgeting process or save it. But we aren't banking on it to meet our budget. It's no way to live.
For more information on good financial practices, check out our resources, "The Cash Crunch" and "The Tithe Challenge".