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A Huge Oversight In My New Budget

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This is a religious, christian-faith post about my personal decision to start tithing. As this concept may not be understood by those outside of the faith, please note that I am journaling my personal decisions and walk.

In my journey to be debt free, I have been almost exclusively focused on saving money. I didn’t tithe because at its simplest theoretical level, I considered tithing as giving away money that I could allocate toward debt-reduction or saving. And this was counteractive to my goals. But theological principles explains that tithing is returning a portion of income that belonged to God to start with.  

Here’s the thing- none of this information was new to me. I simply disregarded tithing because I thought that it did not directly contribute to my financial goals. To be completely honest, I will admit that it has been months, years even, since I have tithed. Perhaps this was because I had let my relationship with God become less and less of a priority until it wasn’t one at all.

But at the beginning of this year I made the decision to return to God fully, giving my heart and actions. Two Sundays ago, I went to church for the first time in the city that I live in and I made a small offering of under $20.

I’ve also realized that despite my financial situation, I can still afford to be charitable and to have a giving spirit. I know that there are some people that would gladly trade me for my debt. So I strive to be more generous, which I’ll also admit that, as a tight budgeter, does not come naturally or easily to me.

But God reminded me of the power of giving without strings attached. I have been looking for a quality part time job for months and instead did odd things like substitute teach when it was convenient in the meantime. Last Friday, I was offered a part-time job for about $30 an hour. I got the offer out of the blue and I know that this was not circumstance. I will start this job in a few weeks and should have my credit card paid off even faster than my original plan.

Not only did this happen, but I just found out that I will also be receiving additional pay this month. I have been putting in many extra hours after the workday to work on a project. (That’s right! The day hardly ever ends after the students go home for the many people that think educators leave work around 3 p.m.) This is simply the culture of schools and no one expects to get paid overtime. In my years of being an educator, I don’t know if I ever have. However, I was informed this week that I would be getting paid for the extra hours that I recently put in. I already have that money earmarked. With the combination of this surplus money and the income from my part time job, I will have my Bank of America balance paid in full with my March paycheck and April at the latest. I will keep you updated on this payoff date.

I’m sure that none of this was by coincidence. After only planting a small seed, I have been given a great part time job and also received extra pay. I will give my full tithe ($300 or 10% of my $3,000 income) to the church this month. A key factor in monthly tithing is being intentional about it in my budget as I would any other priority so that it does not become forgotten. I will have to modify my March budget and will do so with a grateful spirit.


The Psychology of the Haves and the Have Nots

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I recently received this blog post in my Inbox from a marketing expert that I follow for work. I have followed Julie through a divorce, some rough times, restarting her business and now excelling at what she is doing. Her personal story really resonates with me on a personal level.

And of course, the article title, Leaving Scarcity Behind: How To Make A Large Purchase Decision With Abundance Based Thinking got my attention. As I continue to work to get on more solid ground financially and make wiser decisions. I hope to leave the “scarcity” behind and have a time of “abundance” – someday.

Here’s my questions: for those of you who have been on this journey, have paid off all your debt, was their a mindset shift afterwards? Not immediately…but as your journey away from debt continued?

My Mindset

I already recognize that even though business is going well, and I am making continued strides toward being financially healthier, I still function with the mindset of “it could all fall apart tomorrow.” And it could, for sure. I know this, I’ve been there, and not too long ago.

When the kids ask for something, I still answer with “we can’t afford that” or “we don’t have the money for that.” Which I know leaves them with the impression that we don’t have money still.

And I know what I should be saying is “there are other places we need to spend that money right now” or “maybe down the road” or something like that.

But really I am still very much in poverty mode. Every dime that comes in is accounted for in one form or another…whether it’s to pay a monthly bill or earmarked for a debt payment. And other than what I consider essentials…kids activities or trips to see my family, I really don’t consider any other expenditures. My immediate response “we don’t have money for that.” When the truth is, we do have a buffer now and I could allocate money toward that.

Not that I’m planning to go that direction now. I really am 100% gung ho about getting debt free, especially these last two years while Princess is in high school.

The Future – After I’m Debt Free

But will there be a time, after I am debt free and continuing to make good financial decisions, that I will start to feel safe again. When I will feel okay with spending money again?

I can’t imagine every feeling comfortable joining an “exclusive club” like Julie mentions in her article or buying a name brand bag…those just aren’t my things. My temptation is travel and experiences with my kids, which I’m sure long time readers know.

But now, the thought of any extra money going anywhere just feels back in my stomach. And even with a decent EF, I always feel poor. Does that make sense?

 


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