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Ask Chuck: Procrastination is hurting our finances!

Ask Chuck your money question

Dear Chuck,

When it comes to our finances, we live with good intentions but put off budgeting and planning until we face another crisis. My husband and I want to break our cycle of procrastination, crisis, firefighting, and then back to procrastination. We need help to stay focused.

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Painful Procrastination

Dear Painful Procrastination,

Unsplash/Annie Spratt
Unsplash/Annie Spratt

You have come to the right place! I became an expert procrastinator in college. Like you, I often ignored due dates and warnings. I nearly failed a language course because I put off going to the lab until it was almost too late. My professor scolded me for trying to cram all of my practice sessions into the final two weeks of the semester, but he showed me mercy! I tend to have an optimistic view about everything, which makes me slack in planning. Most of my progress has come through learning from my wife, who is always thinking and planning ahead. The Bible also speaks to the issue!

Don’t be too hard on yourself. Procrastination is part of our fallen nature. We know taxes are due April 15th every year, but millions wait until the final days and hours to file tax returns. We know a car must have oil and gasoline to operate properly, but we tend to ignore the warning lights. We know Christmas comes every December, but the malls will be full of shoppers on December 24th. We know our bills are due on time every month, but we tend to wait until we are under pressure to take action.

Cost of procrastination

Procrastination costs us in numerous ways. As you pointed out, it is stressful and leads to a self-inflicted crisis. Let’s examine just how much it costs to put off the discipline of careful planning.


  • Procrastination sacrifices the peace that comes when we are prepared for the future.
  • It can cause you to miss the blessings of God by ignoring His Spirit’s leading to give, help, or simply be present.


  • You face long check-out lines or delayed delivery.
  • Your minutes add up to hours when thinking about or dreading taking action.


  • Rushing to complete projects for work may reflect a lack of excellence, resulting in a lost opportunity for a raise or promotion.
  • There may be compromised purchases, products, and experiences for your family, church, work, or neighborhood.


  • Ignoring due dates means late penalties and fines.
  • You may miss opportunities to invest or benefit from compounded savings accounts.
  • It can cost you more by failing to make timely repairs or do routine maintenance.
  • You will miss cost savings by putting off needed purchases, rebates, or loan repayment.

Making temporary sacrifices in your lifestyle now will positively impact your future. Allow these verses to speak to your heart:

“The prudent sees danger and hides himself, but the simple go on and suffer for it.”(Proverbs 22:3 ESV)

“Know well the condition of your flocks and give attention to your herds, for riches do not last forever; and does a crown endure to all generations?” (Proverbs 27:23–24 ESV)

Take weekly action

  • Set aside a time each week when you and your husband can create a budget. Review it at the same time each week. Consider it a sacred appointment that has the highest priority!
  • Ask a friend, advisor, or budget coach to hold you accountable until you make this a habit. It is prudent to seek wise counsel before trouble hits.
  • Once your budget is in place and you have a few months of success behind you, begin to take more long-term steps, like completing your will, buying adequate insurance, estate planning, and setting 3, 5, and 10-year financial goals.
  • Pray, and ask God for motivation to complete needed tasks. Ask for sensitivity to the Spirit.

Invest in your future

The Bible says that where our treasure is, there our hearts will be as well. Investing in your training or a system to keep you on track makes you much more likely to follow through. Possibly, you can make Christmastime a turning point financially. How about your husband and you give each other the gift of a Crown budget coach or take an online class together? We receive testimonies from couples at all stages of life who have finally overcome their lack of financial progress by simply hiring one of our coaches.

I hope this helps you get going! Merry Christmas to you and yours.

Chuck Bentley is CEO of Crown Financial Ministries, a global Christian ministry, founded by the late Larry Burkett. He is the host of a daily radio broadcast, My MoneyLife, featured on more than 1,000 Christian Music and Talk stations in the U.S., and author of his most recent book, Economic Evidence for God?. Be sure to follow Crown on Facebook.

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