The late Zig Ziglar used to say, "If you aim at nothing, you'll hit it every time." I've always liked that quote because it's a great reminder about the importance of planning. You can settle for breezing through life with no plan, but you'll end up going nowhere. Anything of substance in life requires some careful thought ahead of time.
Jesus taught a similar lesson when He talked about discipleship in Luke 14:28 - 30. He said no one building a tower would move forward on construction without sitting down to "count the cost." After all, quitting halfway because the resources dried up would make the builder a laughingstock. The foundation for his tower would become a monument to his incompetence.
What Jesus emphasized about discipleship - evaluating your situation and planning for the costs - works for money too. Planning ahead is at the heart of success. For personal finances, that means telling your cash what to do each month by creating a zero-based budget.
Creating a budget shouldn't be some calm, casual afterthought. You need to let your money know who's the boss. You need to sit down with your pencil, paper and calculator and make those dollars dance!
For a zero-based budget, take all your income and assign it to a budget category. Every single dollar should have a name and a job to do - and don't forget savings! The goal is to make your income minus your outgo equal zero. If you're over or under, go back and tweak the math until you hit that magic number: zero!
But as a believer, there's another part of budgeting that you can't ignore. The money you manage really isn't your money. It's God's money. So He needs to have the final say on what goes where.
Solomon said "a man's heart plans his way." We get that. We all have hopes and dreams, values and passions. But he also said that God should be the One directing our steps. That means every plan - and every budget - we make should be filtered through Him.
If you would like some help with your budget, we've created a free guide,Dave Ramsey's Guide to Budgeting , to walk you through the process step by step and set you on a path to a solid financial future.