Tithing: How to Give While Staying on a Budget
Tithing is so important in this modern age. The money collected by churches is not only used to cover a stipend for the minister and the church’s utility bills, it goes towards the community in countless ways. Tithing when you’re on a tight budget may seem impossible, but it can be done. Here are some tips to help you get started.
Understand What Tithing Covers
Cynics watch the collection plate move through a church and see greed. However, this is far from the case. Most churches use the collections for many good and important things. Here are just a few of the activities, services and assistance your tithing will help pay for.
- Minister’s stipend, church utility bills and other expenses
- Local charity efforts, including helping people cover their rent, buy food or get medicine for their children
- Church missions around the world
- Local soup kitchens and other outreach programs
- Educational supplies for the church
Do not wait to start tithing. Like so many other worthy things, putting it on the back burner will only assure that it never happens. Tithing is first a habit, but it then becomes a joy. However, it will never develop at all if it’s not made a priority. Just as you have to make time in your week to attend church, you also have to start the habit of dropping money in the collection plate.
Put It in the Budget
Now that you understand where the donations go, it’s time to find a way to tithe without breaking your budget. First of all, tithing should be part of your budget. A general rule of thumb is that you should tithe 10 percent of your net salary, but that can seem like an impossible sum. It’s OK if you cannot initially afford to tithe a large amount. It’s better to tithe a little than to ignore this important donation completely.
If you feel like you can only afford to give $20 or $30 a month to the church right now, put that in your budget. As you get in the habit of giving, you can start looking for ways to increase the amount.
Change Your Priorities
A secular society says that your money should be spent on yourself and your family. It makes no room for church and charity, but you can change that. Now that you have added your tithing to the official family budget, it’s time to take another look and see if there’s something you can change to increase the amount. If you go out to eat once a week, consider ordering a less expensive meal in and giving the difference to the church.
Even people who are living paycheck to paycheck can usually find something that can be eliminated to make room for tithing. Consider dropping to a more affordable cable plan, or switch to a more affordable phone plan and give the difference to the church. As you change your priorities and look for ways to tithe more, you will assuredly find ways to tithe more.
Let It Hurt Sometimes
There will be times when writing that check or pulling out the cash actually gives you a brief twinge. You may, for just a moment, actually hurt as you lay the money in the basket and watch it go away. This will pass. As a matter of fact, it will pass rapidly. There will be times when tithing is a sacrifice, but it will also become a joy and something that you are committed to.
When There is No Extra Money
Times are rough, and many families continue to struggle financially. If you are already stretching your money as far as possible by clipping coupons and shopping at second-hand stores, then you may feel like there simply is nothing left to give.
While the church certainly understand your situation, it’s also important to remember that giving is not limited to the almighty dollar. Your time can be the most valuable donation of all. If you don’t have the cash to put in the collection plate, then talk to the minister about ways you can help at church. Help the church by being an usher, staffing the bake sale or doing chores around church property.
More than money, tithing is about faith. It takes faith in the Lord and his ability to provide for you to drop funds in the collection tray. Try having a little faith that your needs will still be met. Take comfort in the knowledge that your tithing will help others. As you get in the habit and find ways to make tithing fit in your budget, it will become a joy instead of a burden.