Dear Dave,
Iíve worked in a hospital as a nurse for 10 years. I make good money working long hours. The problem is that it seems to disappear, and Iím left trying to stretch those last few dollars to the end of the month. I know I eat out a lot. I grab quick meals between shifts and on the way home because Iím too tired to cook. I think I spend more than I should on other things, too. Do you have any tips for someone who wants to get control of their money but has very little free time?
Amy
Dear Amy,
Sometimes the medicine that works the best tastes the worst. This is true for both physical and financial health.
Thatís why, no matter how tired you are or how little free time you seem to have, you must make time do a written budget every month. This is essential, and it really doesnít take long. When you sit down and commit a plan to paper, giving every dollar a name before the month begins, youíre taking control of your money instead of allowing a lack of it to control you.
Start with the income you know is predictable. If this isnít possible, look back over the last several months and find the minimum amount you brought home during a month over that period of time. This will be the basis for your budget. Once youíve established a baseline income, you can prioritize expenses. But remember, restaurants are not a priority!
When you start telling your money what to do ahead of time, youíll have more ability to do whatís needed with what youíve earned. Itís empowering and energizing, and it gives you the chance to make your Total Money Makeover a reality!
ó Dave

Money and behavior
Dear Dave,
Why do you say that personal finance is 80 percent behavior? I thought money was more about math and keeping track of things.
Gerald
Dear Gerald,
Keeping your checkbook balanced and things like that are an important part of what I teach. However, behavior plays an even bigger role for several reasons. You can add, subtract, multiply and divide all day. That stuffís easy. But until you learn to control your behavior, stick to a budget and spend less than you make, youíre always going to have problems with money.
One of the keys to being a success in personal finance is realizing work comes before play. This is a behavior issue. Letís say your car needs new brakes. You know this, and you know you have a limited amount of cash, but you still walk into a store and buy a big, fancy television instead. That is not mature behavior. As long as you behave that way, your money will always slide right out of your hands.
And this means youíll never have enough for important things like saving, investing and giving.
ó Dave

Dave Ramsey is Americaís trusted voice on money and business. He has authored five New York Times best-selling books. ďThe Dave Ramsey ShowĒ is heard by more than 8.5 million listeners each week on more than 550 radio stations. Daveís latest project, EveryDollar, provides a free online budget tool. Follow Dave on Twitter at @DaveRamsey and on the web at daveramsey.com.