Budget Busted Ready to cry

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by Lisa loves Pooh, Aug 25, 2004.

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  1. Lisa loves Pooh

    Lisa loves Pooh DIS Veteran

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    Okay--

    We are tithing kind of people--totally give $$ to our church. Well, we upped our contribution 2 months ago and were "rewarded" with a nice pay raise for hubby.

    Needless to say--we have done so much this year that we have reached our breaking point.

    I am a stay at home homeschooling mom. Husband is a software engineer. We just did a home equity loan in the spring and put in a pool, redid, our floors, and remodeled our kitchen. The return on our "investment" is that we are double what we put in. Mostly due to land value of our home. So those decisions, though expensive--were good ones. Unfortunatley--it's the non-house decision that bring us to where we are.

    Now here is where we just plain stink.

    We have been overspending for a couple of months in various categories on our budget. So much so that we are now $1200 in credit card debt. Additionally, hubby bought a laptap pc b/c he was working on his thesis. And computer thesis' work sometimes a bit better if you can bring your computer to your prof--so the story goes. PC is non-returnable and hubby switched options on his masters and will no longer require the thesis. The PC is on a non-interest for 12 months cc.

    I was actually considering looking for jobs which is not easy to do as I would have to coordinate with husband's schedule and it is just not going to be worth the effort (in other words, 15 hours of min. wage work--will not have enough value in our budget--in other words--barely make a dent).

    So my budget thoughts--and I would especially love to hear from those who have been in similar budget bust situations...I am not pleading a sob story--we are a family with 2 small children and have our hands in too many places at the moment. And I am solely looking for assistance in grasping the concept of living within my means...

    So I am thinking of temporarily removing the tithe, vacation savings, and other superfluous and temporarily unnecessary categories. That gives me between $500 and $600 per month that could have our situation "cleaned up" by years end. (For comparsion--I would bring home about half this amount after taxes.)

    To avoid the same situation from re-occuring, if anyone has any thoughts on how you and your spouse AGREED on handling purchase (do you have a maximum--no permission needed amount, how long do you wait for big ticket purchases, et cetera).


    If anyone has heard of Crown Ministries--we have participated in that program 2 years ago...While we used some concepts we haven't used all which I believe is how we got into our tempest in a teapot.


    Thank you for hearing me out--please no flames--helpful hints would be greatly appreciated!
     
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  3. DMRick

    DMRick I prefer to be tagless!

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    No flames...sometimes stuff happens. That said, you consider the tithe superfluous and unnecessary? Didn't you start off saying you were rewarded in a pay hike?

    In the way way past (when young and having kids at home), we have been in the same situation..we spent over our budget. Never thought of stopping the tithe (only because if you are a believer, and you tithe, it's not an option..it's what belongs to Him. If you aren't a believer, I'm not sure why you would be tithing anyway). We never even thought that was an option..but you do have other options.

    Cut down on your food budget. I always found that the easiest when money was short. If you eat out, cut that down to minimum. If hubby buys lunch, let him brown bag it.

    Perhaps you can sell the laptop..yes, it would be at a lose, but maybe you can at least pay it off. Definately, if things have gotten that tight, the vacation should be put off...perhaps the vacation ought to be in the backyard, in the new pool.

    As a sahm, maybe you can do some babysitting for those who have to work (perhaps after school).
     
  4. NikiM20

    NikiM20 <font color=blue>This is my first exchange so play

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    Did you get a home equity line of credit? If so if you have enough equity built back up take some of that money and pay some bills or cut out some small stuff, get rid of call waiting, dont buy bottled water, get rid of long distance and buy prepaid phonecards as far as me and DH agreeing on purchases, anything over $100 we discuss and think about it overnight. If i can think of anything else i will let you know.

    Nikiprincess:
     
  5. Lisa loves Pooh

    Lisa loves Pooh DIS Veteran

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    I did not mean to imply that the tithe was superfluos and unnecessary. The whole we have dug ourselves into is not compensated by the raise.

    While we have been giving money for years--it is the most substantial portion to get us out of our situation. And we would immediately resume it at conclusion.

    Our grocery budget is cut as tight as it can be given some dietary constraints in our household.

    Our vacation next year, if we find we need a getaway can be done in our back yard :) -- we can also visit family for that travel urge if we find we need to put miles between us and our house.

    In Crown--I had read of situations where people did suspend tithe--and it was for the sole purpose of getting rid of their debt as expeditiously as possible as there was no other way.

    I wish our other budget categories were worth more--but they are just not enough.
     
  6. Local_Girl

    Local_Girl DIS Veteran

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    Hi Lisa loves Pooh,

    No flames here. Just my .02...tithing is usually described as 10% of your income or increase, though perhaps it is different in different churches. In our family, we believe that the payment of tithing is a manifestation of faith, rather than merely fulfilling a financial obligation...that when tithing is paid, blessings will follow, financial or otherwise. It sounds as though you believe your family has received blessings as the result of paying your tithe. If it were me, I would not stop paying a tithe. I need the blessings!

    Also, I understand about not wanting to try to find a part time job if you wouldn't be making enough to make it worthwhile...my DH and I are in the same situation. He makes more in a couple of hours of OT (and he gets OT almost daily) than I would make in 2-3 days of part time work. It would make no sense for him to cut out the OT to watch the kids so I could go to a low paying job.

    Not sure if this has been helpful...but I wish you the best!:)
     
  7. Lisa loves Pooh

    Lisa loves Pooh DIS Veteran

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    I think I will scrap what I can out of the budget--salvage some tithe and make up for the rest in volunteering at my church.

    We all just have to push through however we can :)
     
  8. ReneeQ

    ReneeQ DIS Veteran

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    I agree, I also would not suspend the tithe. Crown teaches that everything we have is God's, even all our money, and we should handle it ALL in the way most pleasing to Him. You made a mistake, we all do, and you are in a bit of debt right now. It may take you longer to pay it back than you would like, but chalk that up to a lesson learned. Sometimes I feel the best when I still give my tithe during the hardest times.

    God bless you in your decision!
     
  9. sconnell

    sconnell DIS Veteran

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    Not a judgment, just an encouragment.
    I just wanted to encourage you to keep looking for other ways of saving money. I know tithing can be very hard, my family can testify to this. Sometimes it is more tempting when there is less money to tithe from. But remember why you tithe in the first place. Many times, God has rewarded my family because we have been faithful to Him.
     
  10. Lisa loves Pooh

    Lisa loves Pooh DIS Veteran

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    That is pretty true---

    All my blessings could dry up and then where would I be?

    I guess we never know what His plan is do we?

    Plus--if I ditch donations--it would make it a little hard to do the fundraising I need to do for team in training as I would no longer have a budget for donations.

    I did remove my girls from a program that we were going to do with our homeschooling group. I went to the orientation and had this overwhelming sensation that I shouldn't be there. We are out about $100, but will save $50 a month for 3 months tuition.

    The laptop has to be paid off in a year...the credit card we can "sit" on and pay an above minimum payment.

    Groceries--we compromised--our "health" foods that can only be purchased at the health food store will be purchased that way and we are going to switch to Wal-Mart for necessities that we still consume like fruit and veggies and non-food items that we can buy anywhere. Should save us money in that area.

    The good news is that even though our food budget is still out of whack (haven't gotten the monthly budget down pat on the food/non-food, yet)---in one month--our food expense went down by about $300+ due to our new healthy eating. So we are making some progress.

    I guess it takes time before a budget becomes perfect, if it ever gets that way :)
     
  11. Lisa loves Pooh

    Lisa loves Pooh DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the encouragement and Godly perspective everyone..took some faith to post my predicament and I am most gracious for the responses!

    Now I am welling up with tears of joy :cloud9: (they don't have a tears of joy smiley).
     
  12. travelbug

    travelbug DIS Veteran

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    I can't help but think that the wonderful encouragement you've gotten in the previous responses is God's way of encouraging you to hang in there and keep putting Him first. It took a lot of courage for you to look at your situation for what it is and describe it so candidly here. I'd like to be one more voice to encourage you to continue your tithe and pray for wisdom on where else you can tweak your budget for awhile. He won't let you down! :D
     
  13. Carrie Ellis

    Carrie Ellis DIS Veteran

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    You sound like a wonderful person!!

    I wish we were only $1200 in debt! My husband was deployed last year and our income was cut in half (he is a reservist). We are in the process of a home equity loan. We have a lot of equity in our home and if we should move we would have paid the bills off anyway that we are using w/ our equity loan.

    I would consider putting that $1200 into your equity loan if you could still. This happens to probably about everyone one time or another...you just learn not to do it again.

    I am a work out of the home/SAHM to 4 kids and the older two I am homeschooling this year.

    I had to make a hard decision yesterday not to put my younger 2 into preschool (twin 3 yo). I was going to have to serve on 2 committees and put lots of time in (plus I am HS the older two). I was stressing and everyone was saying "it is too much for you". Well I kept saying I will be ok. My friend asked me if I had prayed about it and I said "a lot" but I kind of need an email from God! Well yesterday I checked my account before going to the preschool meeting. We were going to have to pay for 2 months worth last night (and I have 2 kids in!!). Well I had 0 money in that account!!!! I said welp that is God's email for me not to do this!! We have money in another account but I do not like to touch it!!!

    So that it is my story about how God sometimes has to knock us over the head to get us to listen!

    Good luck and everything will be ok!
     
  14. shirleyb

    shirleyb I'm a lot funnier in real life.

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    Lisa,
    I can't tell you what to do. We've been through some very tough times, and I know we don't tithe enough, so I certainly can't preach. All I can suggest is that you pray on it. Put the problem in God's hands.
    Shirley
     
  15. jgates

    jgates <font color=teal>Must vow NEVER to toggle the tags

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    Tithing is a real hard concept for me to grasp as all but one of our churches here are contributions set by choice by each person/family. There is only one that I am aware of around here that heavily stresses tithing. So if one family wants to put $5 in a week, another wants to put in $50, another makes a $100,000 contribution to a new chapel, another makes no donation - none of them are turned away. God loves all of us.

    I am not telling you to stop tithing, as it seems to be a heavy part of your beliefs, but I would seriously look at decreasing the amount until you are comfortably stable. (Comfortably as defined by how YOU feel when you are writing out the bills). If it is that important to you, you can keep track of what you would have given during that time & make it up at a later date - increase later on by $50/mo until you have made up the difference for example. If you become stressed and wrought because of what to you is a financial strain, it will affect your marriage and your children.
     
  16. pediatric-rnp

    pediatric-rnp In loving memory of our dear Mom, MIL, and Nana. 0

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    I think you have to pray on this, which you already have done, and follow your heart. Please do not flame me for what I have to offer.....We also tithe and are very strong believers in this , however I believe in a loving God, not a punishing God who is going to withhold blessings at a time when you & your family may need them the most. Afterall, He knows what you have been going thru, having heard all your prayers. I think your idea of volunteering at your church is a wonderful way to help make up the difference right now - I know we have too few volunteers at in our parish - always the same people. And as they say - time is money. You are trying to get yourself out of a tight spot right now, and the sooner you are able to do this, the sooner you will be able to return to your increased tithing amount.

    A thought - are you in a situation where you could refinance your mortgage - I haven't kept up with the rates since we did this last year, but this may be an option to consolidate everything.
     
  17. janie91

    janie91 Mouseketeer

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    I just wanted to join in the encouragment! I am so thrilled to see people strong in their faith out there. I would agree with the above posts regarding the tithe as an act of faith. You are only returning to God a portion of what he has graciously blessed you with and whoever is faithful with the least will be faithful with much. I think you show your complete dependence on God and his provision for your family through your giving. I am also a homeschool Mom of 3 and consider that a wonderful blessing and hope you are enjoying your time with your children.

    As for saving money, do you have an Aldi grocery store in your area? I recently started shopping there again and most of the prices are hard to beat.

    Could you clean out closests and have a rummage sale? Sometimes they can be very profitable if you have some time to invest in preparing for one.

    Keep up the good work!
     
  18. adriannabannana

    adriannabannana I'd rather be in WDW

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    It can be so hard to develop a flexible budget, and it's even tougher to keep all the members of your family in line with it. I think everyone goes through this at one time or another...

    One thing you could look at to get that debt down is having a garage or tag sale. In fact, look around the house and see if there's anything that might sell on Ebay as well. I've done that for big expenses that've come up here and there, and it's been a great resource for scrounging up money quickly. You'd be amazed at how much some of the house hold clutter can be worth! The bonus is that you can reclaim some attic, basement, garage or closet space as well.

    As far as how to adminstrate your budget, my Hubby and I had real battles over that one. We finally agreed that I'd put together the monthly budget and go over it with him prior to the start of each month. Nobody spends a dime without it being approved by both parties, which means detailed discussions over everything. It's worth it though, we've seen a tremendous improvement in our savings and our ability to live below our means. ;)

    Good luck, and know that God will see you through.
     
  19. Lisa loves Pooh

    Lisa loves Pooh DIS Veteran

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    Thank you all for the encouragement!

    We've been wanting to tithe for 2 years (since starting crown) and it has always been "when we have more money". Our budget was "breaking" two months ago when we starting tithing on our net pay (baby steps). Since doing that, I found a new way of healthful eating that was healthier than before (and I've tried giving up sweets and stuff--we all have our vices). For reasons unexplained--in the years that I have tried varioius diets, this new healthful eating approach is working. Much the same as when I have had other "faith-building" advances in my life, bad habits that were unstoppable--just all of a sudden stopped for me. Plus one month ago, I was adamant about my daughters doing this homeschool co-op thing thinking it was inmportant. Thankfully a woman sends out faith encouragement from the homeschooling group. And it was about thinking we have everything under control when we should let Him lead us.

    The tithe is not just to church, it is all donations for our year--while the bulk portion goes to our church...we use the others for other donations such as purchasing my materials for my team in training fundraising campaign, buying gifts at Christmas for the less fortunate, et cetera. I LOVE helping to provide for other people--and it would be tough to back down on that.

    Plus, the great thing about our church is they do practice what they preach. 10% of their offertory income goes out the door to charity right off of the top. This does not include other monies generated from their thrift store and book store (all profits after expenseses go to charity).

    Additionally, we have seen the "fruits" of our commitment to God in such a short time. And the devil can have his hand in this trying to convince me to back down. True while guy may not withhold blessings it is true that the devil does not bless. God gave us free will and that makes room for sin. By removing temporarily useless categories (budget item for pest control when they gave us a "free" year due to not servicing us correctly last year) and finding alternate methods of doing things (finding free or reduced fee rabies shots instead of getting them at the vet for astronomical rates)...we can keep the tithe, further get that grocery budget to an appropriate number, and even increase our clothing budget--which even by Crown standards, was too tiny. I'm all for finding a deal, but even our budget was a joke in that category considering two shrinking parents and two growing children.

    Thank you for the blessings!

    p.s. I'm working on the garage sale--our garage is packed to the gills! However, I had considered using it as a fundraiser for my Team In Training--should I still do that, or maybe do a 50/50. Half towards debt and half towards the money that I need to raise. Any thoughts on this? I thought putting "fundraiser" on the posters and stuff might make people a little bit nicer when "haggling".
     
  20. Ozymoe

    Ozymoe <font color=blue>I bare all!

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    Lisa,

    I'm a pragmatist. That being said I'll offer this, which was said in essence by a previous poster. I would take the tithe (or 80% of it at least) and put it toward the credit card debt until the debt was paid.

    For each month that I did this until the debt was paid, I would make a (to the penny) notation of the tithe that I would have made (had I not elected to pay off the credit card debt). Then, when the debt was paid off I would resume tithing and add 10% of the total amount (that I owe for taking the cc repayment hiatus from tithing) to the tithe each month until "my cc repayment tithe" was paid off.

    This won't be easy when it comes due in a year or so...probably a year-long reminder not to become endebted to cc companies...but it will solve your problem without interfering with your tithing.

    You will have more to tithe (and more wherewithal with which to care for your family) if you pay off usurial credit card debt before you do anything else.

    Just remember...in the future, if you cannot pay off the cc balance each month, DO NOT BUY IT...no exceptions.

    That being said, I'd not sell the laptop...you will probably not get anywhere near what you paid for it and it can be a valuable tool. For instance, take it to garage sales and/or estate auctions to find out if a particual item will resell on ebay for a big profit! (and it goes without saying that as a portable educational tool it is wonderful...take it with you on field trips to museums, libraries and other places of interest).

    Just my 2 cents...you have to do what works for you and your family...but it never hurts to have options...and sometimes those options spawn ideas that benefit everyone!
     
  21. btass

    btass DIS Veteran

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    I completely understand the tithing, but could you possibly talk to someone in your church and explain the situation? Maybe ask God for some guidance. I am sure that if you are comitted enough to tith in the first place, God will understand that you made a mistake and will be back as soon as you can with financial help.

    I personally do not tith, but I think that if you get the finances mixed up enough a lot of churches try and help people who need it in that way. You won't be asking for anything but a little break from the $ aspect of the church for a few months and that might be better than having to ask for $ from them in the future.
     
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