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Archive for September, 2009

My thoughts on Tithing

September 10th, 2009 at 03:56 am

A good article on Tithing in the 21st century
http://www.gnmagazine.org/issues/gn08/tithe20thcentury.htm


My husband and I have not always been faithful tithers but have been making strides to get there. We have been pretty consistent in the last few years. It hasn't always been the full 10% but we are getting close. When we decided last month that we would start this venture to become debt free I began to debate whether or not we should halt our tithes while we are paying down our debt or continue to give. The next day I was listening to the Dave Ramsey and a caller called in and asked the same question. You can read his view on the matter on his website
http://beta.daveramsey.com/articles/display.article/articleId/daves_advice_on_tithing_and_giving/category/lifeandmoney_church/

In a nut shell, in the bible the only time God says to test him is regarding being faithful in our tithing. In Malachi 3:10 it says "Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."

This blessing may not always be in a monetary form but if I can bring peace into my home or blessing to my family by tithing then why wouldn't I.

I grew up in a God fearing home and there were many times when we didn't have enough (money) but my parents were always faithful in their tithing and things always seemed to work out. If it's hard to tithe when you don't make much, how much harder is it going to be when your income increases? We've learned that the hard way.

Sorry to go on with this.

Question:

September 10th, 2009 at 03:37 am

We have about $3000 readily available in a money market account as an emergency fund. Should we continue to build that up on a monthly basis, along with our 401K's and kids college funds or should we for go contributions temporarily to pay down the debt faster?

Stopping our contributions makes me a little nervous but it seems like it might be a good idea to make things move a little faster

Our Budget Month One

September 8th, 2009 at 01:49 am

This is our first attempt at a budget. I kind of guessed on the numbers and figure I can fine tune and tighten it next month once we see how things go.

Monthly take Home is 5503
(our rent, which is $1305 is already taken out)

Auto/Property Insurance $140
Life Insurance $166
Clothes $100
Gas $200
Dog $50
Entertainment $75
Extra Debt Payment $500
Dining Out $100
Groceries $550
Gifts $100
Discretionary $700
Savings $300
Student Loan Payments $431
Tithes $450
Tuition $279
Utilities $150
Cell Phone $120
cable/internet/phone $135
Kids Activities $150
Credit Card Payments $100
Car Payment $700

Total $5496

How we got where we are

September 8th, 2009 at 01:17 am

Student Loans make up the majority of our debt. Looking back we could of made much wiser decisions regarding how much be borrowed for school. My husband and I got married when we were 18 and headed to college together when we were 20. They offered us loans so we said yes! Did we need to borrow that much? Absolutely not. Financial education for our younger generations is so key not only to their personal financial success but the financial success of our country. Student loans make higher education possible for millions of Americans but it should require a little more financial education along with it. Possibly a budgeting class required before loans are accepted. I know entrance counseling is required but it's not much of a program.

We have also definitely made our mistakes in the car buying department. We paid off one car a year early last year but then decided we needed a new van. We could of had our van paid off but now instead we owe close to $34000 on it. When we bought it I felt like we had earned it. We make pretty good money now and deserved to own a nice car. I do love the car but looking back wish we would have waited.

In life we are always learning both personally and financially. Our quest to become debt free has come about because I am getting ready to finish my Master's degree in Financial Planning and I feel need to "practice what I preach" How can I as a planner expect clients and others to listen to my advice to become financially free if I haven't obtained it myself. I also want to set an example for our kids. Kids have no problem learning how to spend but it takes a continuous effort to teach them the importance to save. My prayer is that my kids will grow up financially smarter than I was at a young age.

Our Debt Month one (Sept 1, 09)

September 8th, 2009 at 01:04 am

LL Bean Visa Card $992.56 (0%)
Best Buy $1261.98 (0%)
Credit Card 1 $4063.96 (8%)
Credit Card 2 $20.08 (12%)
Credit Card 3 $756 (0%)
Student Loan 1 $20285.18 (6.7%)
Student Loan 2 $22450 (3.5%)
Student Loan 3 $17053 (6.5%)
Car Loan $33832 (0%)

Total $100713

It's really depressing seeing it totaled together!

Our total savings, including college funds and retirement fund is around $32,000.
We have an emergency fund of around $3000