Debt & tithing
Using this program has been a true blessing. It really does just click with my brain! It's essentially all I've been doing for so long on paper napkins, backs of flash cards, random notebooks, complicated excel sheets, etc., just... easier!
I have a question, however. Jesse mentions in his posts that he does tithing - donating 10% of his income to the church (I assume). I am a Christian, I am a student, I am in debt! And so as I look at my budget, I start to wonder. Should I dedicate a tenth of my income to donations to the church? I would love to do so, but is that money better spent on getting my debt down or even aging my money? On one hand, donating to my church is something I've been dreaming of being financially able to do for a while! On the other, boy, could I use the money! What are your perspectives on this?
I donate some, but not yet a full 10%, to my church & a few charities. I also volunteer so I am giving my time. I started with a really small amount but I committed to doing at least that much even though money was very tight. As I have paid down debt & gotten better paying jobs I have increased that number.
Since you are just starting out, why not put together a mock budget with 10% and see what that looks like along with other bills & debt repayment. Maybe there are other things you would cut out if tithing is a main priority for you, or maybe you need to start with 5% for now.
In my family there is a tradition of generous giving to various church, charities, and community endeavours (money as well as time, talent, and effort), but not of tithing. So that was my guide. I feel called upon to be generous, but I wasn't taught that a specific amount or percentage was an obligation that affected my salvation or the blessings I receive from my God.
I got out of debt first, after which my level of giving just naturally increased and rather dramatically at that. Without even setting a specific goal, it naturally hit the 10% of my net income last year, although not all to my church. There isn't a tradition of tithing in my denomination, so I wasn't necessarily aiming to hit a specific amount. The amount/percentage in total that I gave last year came to light when I was doing my taxes, and it really surprised me.
Awareness of this unexpected milestone gave me food for thought and self-assessment. I think that my new level of generosity is the natural result of living a contented debt-free life, caring about others, and having the financial margin in my life to be able to respond to my generous impulses in the moment. I also think this level of giving can be maintained and in a way become self-sustaining (even in my little median income budget) if I take the tax refund and budget it straight to giving categories.
I'm not religious so I may underestimate the importance of tithing, but I'm a firm believer that if you're on the right path it's OK to get your own affairs in order first. E.g. During a particularly hard time in my finances last year I agreed with my very supportive and understanding family that I couldn't give any presents for christmas and wouldn't want any in return either. This year I can give again with all my heart, and I'll make sure to make up for last year
This has been a huge challenge for me too - and even though I'd love to consistently 'tithe' I'm not there yet... but I love the passage that says 'give what you have decided in your heart to give' and when I lack peace about any giving, I prayerfully ponder that and settle on what I'm more peaceful about - one day I (now) fully expect to be in a position where I can truly tithe - but until then ... So long as my giving/spending isn't cutting up my peace - I think I'm on the right track! 😊
Some food for thought:
In this message given to Israel, God says He will pour out a blessing when they tithe. My friends and I used to discuss this when we were poor college students. Somehow it seemed to work out that when we gave sacrificially, we always had money to pay our school bills. When we were not tithing, somehow the money wasn't there.
My philosophy has always been that my money is really God's money and I am managing it for Him. You should at least consider taking the step of faith to begin tithing and see what kind of blessing God has for you in doing so.
We don't give so we can get, however, we obey because we want to be closer to Him.
Malachi 3:8-11 King James Version (KJV)
8 Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings.
9 Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.
10 Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.
11 And I will rebuke the devourer for your sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of your ground; neither shall your vine cast her fruit before the time in the field, saith the Lord of hosts.