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The Power of Preparation

Measure twice, cut once.

If you’ve ever built a new shelf or an entertainment center from scratch, you know the preparation you put in beforehand is more important than making that first cut. When you don’t prepare, you end up creating more work for yourself and more stress! The same applies to your money when you don’t have a game plan.

Taking the time to make a plan for your money on the front end lets you reap great rewards later down the road.

But first, you need a plan—also known as a budget.

What Happens When You Prepare?

You Get Focused

First, you need to sit down and decide where every dollar will go. Before the month even begins, you should already know how much—and where—you’ll save, give and spend. Then, as the month progresses, take time to track each dollar as it comes in and goes out. Yes, this takes time, effort and preparation, but you’ll get intentional about making a change.

You’re Ready for the Unexpected

Being prepared means being more intentional than just hoping and praying there’s still money in your bank account until your next paycheck. Setting up your first budget is easy and it gets even easier the more you do it. And think about this: All your effort will pay off big time later down the road. And some pretty scary stuff might happen if you don’t have a plan in place.

What Happens When You Don’t Prepare?

Heading into the month without preparing a plan for your money is expensive! When you have no idea where your cash is going, chances are you’ll end up paying lots of fees: overdraft fees, late fees and bounced-check fees, while spending more and saving less.

That means you’ll be spending money on things you shouldn’t have to. And the things you want to spend it on? They’ll just have to wait. Look at it this way: You’re only stealing from yourself and your future!

How Do You Get Prepared?

Set SMART Goals

Setting achievable goals for yourself is essential to help you see solid progress. If you want to save $200 before the month is out, great! That means you need to budget $50 each week to reach that goal. Your budget is the key for tackling debt, building up your emergency fund, making a plan for your future with specific measurable goals and making sure you are paying your bills every month. When you tell your money where to go instead of wondering where it went, it gives you freedom.

Change Your Habits

When you use a budget, you’re not wasting time scrambling to move money around because you overspent. You’re not scrambling to make ends meet or counting the days to the next paycheck. You’re not asking your landlord for more time to pay your rent.

Instead of looking into the past and trying to fix your mistakes, you can look toward the future.

With just a little planning, you can save yourself tons of money on fees and careless spending. You’ll have more money to bless others, to save for your future, and to spend on the kind of life you dream of.

Building a future that you’re proud of takes time, effort and preparation to get it right, but it’s worth it to get the future you want. "Measure twice, spend once, and save every time."

Are you ready to start telling your money where to go? Our budgeting app, EveryDollar, can show you how!

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Ramsey Solutions

About the author


Ramsey Solutions has been committed to helping people regain control of their money, build wealth, grow their leadership skills, and enhance their lives through personal development since 1992. Millions of people have used our financial advice through 22 books (including 12 national bestsellers) published by Ramsey Press, as well as two syndicated radio shows and 10 podcasts, which have over 17 million weekly listeners. Learn More.

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