terisaclark

Financial wisdom from a woman of faith

Archive for the category “Giving”

Percentages

Today I had a great conversation with some wise friends.  They are in their 60’s and have made great choices financially!  They are reaping the rewards now and really enjoying life and their wealth.  We talked about how percentages really help guide the season of enjoyment.  You see if you are living debt free, giving away 30% of your income, it should be no big deal that you spend 5% on a vacation or 10% on a car.  So do the math.  And don’t let someone else’s budget guide yours.  God has entrusted it to you – ask him what you need to do with it!

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Honest Question: Should I tithe first or after I have paid my bills

It was an honest question…he was a spiritual man who was wrestling with the conviction he has to pay his debts.  He said it well, but that money is not mine if I owe it to some one else.

Right indeed.  And that’s just what I felt he needed to remind him about 100% of his income – it does not belong to him.  It all belongs to God.  After all, it is because of God that we have breath in our lungs each morning.  It is He who gives us the brains to do our work.  It is He who gives us the physical, emotional and mental health to work every day.  It’s because of Him that we have the favor and opportunity to work where we are.

Without God we would have nothing.  And all God is asking for is – 10%.  A small amount.  That is a reminder that it all comes from Him.  It is worship back to Him.  A thankful heart for all He has given us.

Great question my friend!  Glad you asked.

Making my list…checking it twice…

It is the most wonderful time of the year.  But also the time of the year when we get caught up in the Christmas cheer of buying things every where!  I’ve been there and done that.  Before I knew it the amount I had spent was 2 times what I had imagined and probably 5 times what I could afford.  It was all on my credit card.   I just knew I would pay it off by January.  But…life happens and that Christmas wasn’t paid for until 3 years later.

If my family, friends, and coworkers had any idea they would have brought their gifts back to me and insisted I return everything to the store. So what made me do it?  Obviously they didn’t want a gift if it left me with a debt.  That’s completely the opposite of what Christmas is. Christmas is about God making the way for our debts to be cancelled.  He desires that our burdens would be lifted.  Not that the burden would grow larger and larger with each gift we give.

So this year, I’m making my list.  Being on the list last year doesn’t mean they are on the list this year.  Not everyone made the list.  I know that hurts and some of you are not willing to go there.  But bear with me.  Is giving about obligation?  Or is it about responding to the gift we have received from our Heavenly Father?  Is a gift necessary?  Is a card with a prayer or encouragement the gift that person most needs this year.  Does your list include people you don’t know?  Opportunities to bless people in need this Christmas.

Next I start checking it twice. What gift would say to them “you matter” or “God has a plan for you”. It’s not about the amount. It’s about the message.  The message of hope.  The gift of love.  Time.  Presence.  Hope.  You!

This year I’m using this awesome new tool.  The Christmas Budget Tool.  Perfect for making your list and checking it twice.

May your Christmas be Merry & Bright!  And may you bring Christ’s love to all as you give this season.

Blessings,

T

Halloween Finance

The discussions about Halloween this year have been good!  You can read some herehere or here.  This post isn’t one about the spiritual, theological or evangelical arguments about Halloween.  It’s one about the financial picture of Halloween.  I mean, what more would you expect from me???  So here it is in an infograph.  The Cost of Halloween, courtesy of creditcards.com:

Image

Did you get that??? It’s a $6.9 billion dollar day.  Did you get that???  BILLION.  $6.9 Billion.  Wow! I would have never guessed that.

And it got me thinking….what could I do with $6.9 billion.  I have my own ideas.. my Church is my first choice!  We are doing amazing things and that kind of money would make more life change possible!  But I also think of local nonprofits that are making a difference – healing and restoring lives, solving problems in our community.  Research and science. And a fun one – paying off student loans of friends that are sucking wind to keep up with it all….oh I have ideas.  What would you do???

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…..

A quick jaunt through Wal-Mart had my girl shouting “Santa Hats” at every corner…on to the mall, where she “gently” touched the ornaments on EVERY tree we passed….all reminders that Christmas is about 8 weeks away!!

Chances are you find yourself in one of these camps:

Surprised – the statement about 8 weeks just freaked you out.

Carefree – you’re thinking 8 weeks is nothing, tell me when I have 1 week left.

Prepared – you are correcting my calculation to add the days and hours left.

My desire is that no matter which camp you are in, Christmas doesn’t mean debt for you this year.  The sweetness of the Christmas season is found in giving. An exchange of the greatest gift – God’s son for each of us to have eternal life.  May our giving not be exchanged for burden of debt.

Three easy steps to guilt free giving this Christmas:

Start now.

Set the budget.

Pay cash.

 

Study: Christians Who Tithe Have Healthier Finances Than Those Who Don’t

I read this article recently and keep thinking about it.  I see it time and time again.  We have worked with over 650 individuals in the past 6 years and consistently this one pattern is clear.  Those that honor God by tithing (10%) have healthier finances than those that do not.  They get out and stay out of debt. They manage their budgets monthly.  They stay on track with retirement savings.

But why?  I believe all that we have comes from God.  He has given us stewardship over it.  When we give, we are responding with gratitude (thankful hearts) acknowledging that all that we have comes from Him.  That posture is one of worship – to the creator, the owner of it all!  We receive supernatural favor and blessing when we obey His word and instruction on giving of the tithe to the storehouse (local church) according to Malachi 3.

I know that living on 90% that is blessed is always more than living on 100% without the blessing.  I have real life stories that confirm this is true!

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