4. Do your budget in written form!!! This may be the most important, yet the most overlooked, of any of the five steps. Whether it’s a contract, a new law, or the history of a nation — it is never considered definitive until it is written down. Until that point, it is just an idea that is open to revision.

If your family budget is going to have life-changing impact it deserves to be written down. There are at least two benefits to a written budget:

a) Clarity. A written budget can be reviewed and discussed by all parties involved. Everyone can accept, reject, or suggest changes. Open and informed discussion is easy — and no one is able to later say that he or she didn’t understand.

b) Commitment. Once final changes are made and agreed on, it is easier to commit to a budget that is in written form.

5. Prepare your budget in order of priority. Ask this question: "If I don’t have enough money to do everything I want to do right now, where will my first dollars go?" Then, prepare a budget in that order. Typically this priority list stays the same from month to month. Different people will have different priorities. Our family’s hierarchy of priorities places our basic sustenance (food, shelter, clothing), our giving, and our moral and legal commitments to others (debts) at the top of our list. This is a personal matter of soul searching and prayer for every Christian, and it will be different for every family.

Steve Diggs presents the No Debt No Sweat! Christian Money Management Seminarat churches and other venues nationwide. Visit Steve on the Web at  www.stevediggs.com or call 615-834-3063. The author of several books, today Steve serves as a minister for the Antioch Church of Christ in Nashville. For 25 years he was President of the Franklin Group, Inc. Steve and Bonnie have four children whom they have home schooled. The family lives in Brentwood, Tennessee.

A complete financial compendium, 19 chapters
• What you can do today to get out of debt and kill the Debt Monster
• A,B,C's of handling your money God's way
• How to save, invest, and retire wisely
• How mutual funds work
• How to stop fighting over money
• What to teach your kids about money
• Learn how home & car buying, college financing and insurance work.
• How to develop a budget that works -- forever!
• Features simple charts, graphs, and easy-to-use forms.

Click here to learn more or to order.