Posts Tagged ‘ Dave Ramsey ’

The Peculiar And Impractical Tradition Of Tithing 10%

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

A week ago when I published “5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013,” I intentionally left off one crucial way that I believe our family saves money. Maybe it’s not so much about it saving us money, as much as it helps us manage our budget with even more discipline and focus.

In fact, out of the 5 impractical ways I listed, I see this “6th way” as not only undeniably impractical, but the most important, for our family, at least:

We tithe.

For us, that means we give 10% of our paychecks to our church. From there, a lot of that money goes to helping people not only in our area, but all over the world.

Of course, that 10% of our income isn’t the only money we give to help others, because we help financially support other non-profit organizations that help people too.

But right off the top of every paycheck, we know that 10% of it goes to our church, which in turn helps other people.

I should be clear about something: It’s not that we have a 10% excess in our income. Not at all. Instead, we build our budget around the 10% we tithe.

(That might help explain why we can’t afford cable or satellite TV, or Internet on our phones, or eating out, or updating our electronics… which I pointed out in 5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013.)

Financial guru Dave Ramsey, who includes tithing as part of his teaching, puts it this way:

“If you cannot live off 90% of your income, then you cannot live off 100%.”

If this can make any sense, we can’t afford not to tithe.

We believe that God will bless our family’s efforts as we acknowledge that what we have is not ours to begin with; instead, everything we have is what God has given to us.

So to “give back” 10%, technically isn’t giving back.

But I believe a lot of the importance of tithing has to do with the mindset it puts a family in. In the likeness of feng shui, tithing constantly keeps us mindful of where each dollar we earn goes.

Just like the importance of having a solid weekly budget on Excel, tithing helps us tell our money where to go, before it can tell us where to go.

Therefore, I think tithing is even a good idea for families who don’t go to church, as well as, those who aren’t particularly religious at all.

I would venture to say that a family who always gives at least 10% of their income to, at least, a charity that helps the needy, even if it’s not through a religious organization, is still going to find that they manage their money better than before they started promising to give away 10% of their income.

Sure, giving away 10% of every paycheck is pretty extreme and not necessarily normal.

But I suppose for a family who doesn’t pay for cable or satellite TV, or Internet on our phones, or for the fact we don’t really dine out, or update our electronics, I guess it’s not really that much of a shock that we automatically give away 10% of our income.

 

Love,

Daddy

 

Photo: Giving Offering Sharing Blessing Background, Shutterstock.

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5 Impractical Ways To Save Your Family Money In 2013

Tuesday, January 1st, 2013

2 years, 1 month.

Dear Jack,

From first glance, we look like a pretty normal American family. If people only knew…

As for this time around, I would like to focus on 5 impractical ways that our family saves money…

I’ve heard it said that Generation Y parents are predicted to become much like the penny-pinching generation who was our age during the Great Depression.

Well, I believe it. Here’s the how and the why.

These are 5 impractical ways we as a family save money:

1. We don’t pay for cable or satellite TV. Instead, we pay $7.99 a month for the Netflix streaming plan. We have unlimited access all the shows you love, like Thomas & Friends and Sesame Street; for Mommy and me, there’s Lost and The Office. That’s not even mentioning all the movies that are available.

2. We don’t pay for Internet on our phones. Since we’re already paying for wireless Internet for our house and because our jobs don’t directly depend on it, it’s difficult for us to justify paying even more for Internet so we can play Angry Birds on our phones while we’re bored. Because honestly, as your parents, we never have time to be bored. I wouldn’t mind that, though.

3. We hardly ever go out to eat. By hardly ever, I mean, on a bad month, about twice. While the documentary Food Inc. conveys a message that a family of 4 can eat for less on McDonald’s Dollar Menu, that’s not accounting for the fact there won’t be leftovers the next day. Shunning restaurants saves money.

4. We don’t update our electronics or possessions that cost over $100. My iPod has a cracked screen and its charge only lasts about 2 days. The screen of our 2006 model TV is only 30 inches wide, yet the length of it is nearly just as long. Oh yeah, and it’s been struck by lightning, so parts of the screen are discolored. Mommy and I have had the same cell phones for well over 2 years, but because Verizon recently started charging an “activation fee” for their “free phones,” we decided to just keep our old ones. In other words, if it ain’t dead, don’t fix it.

5. We live by a strict weekly budget, on an Excel spreadsheet. Like financial guru Dave Ramsey says, “If you don’t tell your money where to go, it will tell you where to go.” It’s impractical to account for every dollar spent, but knowing that we are projected to reach “debt free” status in 2013, I don’t mind living an impractical lifestyle.

So what if we shun credit cards and cable TV like the plague, or perhaps more relevantly, like high-fructose corn syrup? Mommy and I are obsessed with telling our money where to go.

We’ve learned the hard way. Just a couple of years ago, our money was telling us where to go. As for 2013, Lord willing, we will finally be free of debt.

Somehow, becoming debt-free is one of the most practical things I can think of.

 

Love,

Daddy

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The New Version of Our Old Selves

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

Seven months.

After all the plotlines my wife and I have lived through in accordance to our move from Nashville to my hometown in Alabama, and now back to Nashville again, it’s only natural for us to wonder: Why?

Q) Why did we spend seven months and [x amount] of dollars to live here in my hometown, only to have to go back to where we came from?

A) It took moving away from Nashville to cause us to become positively changed people so that we could go back to Nashville as the necessarily improved versions of ourselves.  But we didn’t know any of this when we left Nashville.

I can confidently say that living in the small town of Fort Payne, Alabama has caused us to fully adopt the millionaire mindset (living as frugally as possible.)  Because we became Dave Ramsey followers shortly after we got married and have since been living on a budget, we thought we were doing pretty well when it came to financially planning our lives.

But we had much more to learn.  And I know for a fact I would have never learned to be this much of a penny-pincher if it weren’t for my unemployment and my wife’s inability to get a job, despite having a Master’s degree.

The move to Alabama has been the most humiliating process I have endured in my life:  Note that when I used the word “humiliating” just now, I meant it in the sense of being humbled and disciplined, not embarrassed or shamed.  (Here’s Wikipedia’s definition: “Humiliation is the abasement of pride, which creates mortification or leads to a state of being humbled or reduced to lowliness or submission.”)

Looking back, I can see how our former budget allotted my wife and I too much “blow money” (Dave Ramsey’s term for extra cash for personal enjoyment), too much “gift money” (money spent on gifts for birthday and Christmas gifts for our friends and family), and too much “food money” (money spent on eating out at restaurants and going out for coffee on the weekend).  Not only that, but now we have learned to ask the question, “What will cause us to earn/save the most money?” when making any decision, big or small.

The version of me from a year ago just didn’t care about money.  I only cared about happiness.  And that was an epic flaw in my thinking.  Now I realize that without conservative financial planning, I will not have sanity.  And without sanity, I can not be happy anyway.

The truth is this: Without moving to my hometown and being psychologically broken down, I would have never been a responsible enough decision maker when it came to finances.  Moving to Fort Payne was the only cure for my disease.

It’s more than just refusing to use a credit card or to buy name brand products.  It’s a matter of taking my finances nearly as seriously as I take my love for my wife and son, health, and my religious beliefs.  So now as we rebuild our lives again, we will be able to be better stewards of our income.  Our money will be better saved, better spent, and better given away.

Photos courtesy of Moments in Time Photography in Fort Payne, Alabama:

www.mitbyamie.com

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