Tithing and Saving on One Income: 4 Moms

Many people in today’s society don’t believe that they can raise their family on one income, add to that a larger than average number of children and homeschooling and just surviving may seem impossible. moms of many manage

This week 4 Moms who have lived this challenge are going to share our thoughts on saving, tithing and thriving with a large family on one income.

The 4 Moms are:

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room
and Me

I think the issue of saving and tithing are completely different. Saving, while it’s wise, is optional. Tithing is not.

Malachi 3:8-10

Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.

Tithing

Mark and I have always given 10% of our income to the Lord. There are times when this has taken more faith than other times, but God promises that He will provide for us and He has.

I have been young, and now am old, yet I have not seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread. Psalm 37:25

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? … But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:25-33

We have seen first hand the promise of Malachi 3 and God’s overflowing abundance.

Our first year (and more) of marriage our income was less than $12,000 a year. On this income we not only completely supported ourselves, we moved to a nicer rental home, had a baby and saved enough money for a down payment on our first home.

Our best tip for supporting a large family on one income is to tithe, to seek first God’s kingdom because certainly God will add all these things unto you.

Saving

As I mentioned, saving is wise, but I don’t believe it’s required. There may possibly be times when a family is unable to save.

That said, despite the fact that our family’s income generally puts us beneath the U.S. poverty line, we’ve always been able to save a small percentage of our income.

We have chosen to pull out a percentage of our income to save before we begin to budget or spend money because once we start thinking about how much money we’d like to have in the various budget categories, we’d have nothing left to save.

4 ways to save money:

1. Live on a budget.

Living on a budget is simple, but it does require discipline.

First take out 10% for your tithe. Next figure out your necessary, fixed living expenses; housing, taxes, insurance, some utilities, etc. Then divide the remaining income between those variable living expenses; food, clothing, utilities, gifts, entertainment and savings (if you haven’t already pulled that out), etc.

Since these variable expenses can be extremely variable. We’ve learned to live with what we have available for each category. We clothed our family for less than $25/month up until about a year ago (11 people). Mark and I lived on less than $100/month food budget for more than a year. We’ve had times when we’ve had nothing in our entertainment budget and less than $10 a month for gifts.

All of this works when you start with the premise that God has given you everything that you need. If there is not enough money to spend a little each month on clothing or gifts, then then clothing or gifts are obviously luxuries that your family can do without.

2. Be content.

If your family income is $10,000 a year, you are wealthier than 84% of the world. If your family income is $50,000 or more a year, you make more than 99% of the world.

We are rich. You are rich. We should be giving out of our abundance to those who are really in need. Instead most Americans want more, think they need more and go into debt in order to have more. Shame on us!

for I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content ~Phil. 4:11

Be content by:

  • Staying home
  • Thinking of other’s needs before you think of your own.
  • Remembering the sovereignty of God – Any complaint is really a complaint against God’s perfect plan for your life.
  • We are so very blessed and so very wealthy.

    3. Buy used.

    If you are willing to patiently shop at yard sales you can clothe your family and decorate your home at a standard much higher than you could otherwise afford.

    Several years ago, when we were expecting our 6th baby, our neighbors asked Mark how we dressed our children in such beautiful clothing. We laughed because we never paid more than 50 cents an item for children’s clothing.

    4. Pay cash.

    It’s simple. If you can’t afford to pay cash, then you can’t afford it.

    You may also be interested in:

Visit the other moms of many to see how they tithe and save:
Smockity Frocks
Life in a Shoe
The Common Room – The HM gives a great argument for why we should tithe and why it should be at least 10%.

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13 Responses to Tithing and Saving on One Income: 4 Moms
  1. Heidi
    April 12, 2012 | 8:46 am

    This is a GREAT post. I agree wholeheartedly. :)

    [Reply]

  2. Annie
    April 12, 2012 | 2:49 pm

    Amen! I think many Christians today rob themselves of the joy they could be receiving had they only stepped out in faith and gave the Lord what is already his. Kimberly, you are so spot on when you mentioned the wealth we Americans enjoy! My family is not setting the world on fire financially by any sense of the imagination but we have abundantly more than so many millions of people on this planet! We have no idea.

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    Kate Reply:

    While we believe in “tithing” (10%) we also view 100% of it as God’s. It is tricky to define what “giving back to God means.” Some choose to say that means simply giving to their local church, sometimes blindly. This caused our family to search deeply into what our church’s finances and spending habits are. Thankfully, we have found them to be in line with ours. Decisions are made carefully, slowly, and the balance sheets are out in the open for all members to see. Also, while we view 10% as a great starting point, as our income has grown, we’ve decided that 10% isn’t nearly as sacrificial (a principle we see in the NT) (on the other hand, even 2% is quite sacrificial for a low income or someone just starting to give). So for us we prefer to view all of our income as God’s, and to carefully plan as much as possible, and also we have chosen to have another family to be accountable to. It’s essential that we go line-by-line down the budget regularly to see where else we can sacrifice for the benefit of His kingdom. Again, 100% is God’s, and thankfully, we can give a large portion to our church and truly do believe it’s going to God’s work and purposes because our church is so accountable to its usage. Great post, Kimberly. I love your site and am always inspired!

    [Reply]

    Annie Reply:

    I agree with you Kate. Maybe I just didn’t articulate that clearly. Our family believes its ALL his! :0)

    Thankfully our church’s financial statements are printed out monthly to show what has been given, what is being spent, who is being paid what amount, what ministries financial needs are, etc… Also our pastor has said on many occasion that if anyone wishes to see his and his wife’s financial giving statement they can ask for it. I love that kind of transparency :0)

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  3. Homeschool on the Croft
    April 12, 2012 | 3:41 pm

    You are so straight and honest and forthright. I love this in your post. God’s ways may not fit in with what society (or even we) want, but God’s ways are *always* best :)

    [Reply]

  4. Hannah H
    April 12, 2012 | 3:47 pm

    My husband and I couldn’t agree more!

    [Reply]

  5. Ursula Ciller
    April 13, 2012 | 6:45 am

    I really enjoyed this post. It reminded me to be grateful and content with what God has given us. Never much luxury but always enough money for a roof over our heads, to never be hungry or cold,to pay the bills, and have the old car registered. So many have so much less.

    [Reply]

  6. Serenity Summers
    April 13, 2012 | 4:34 pm

    I have been amazed more times than I can count how God works our needs out when we tithe first. Thanks for this reminder!!!

    [Reply]

  7. julie marie
    April 16, 2012 | 10:05 pm

    Hi,
    Could you please tell me your secret on living on a 100 a month for food. We are a family of six and we spend 350 a month. I would love to get our food cost down.

    [Reply]

    Heidi Reply:

    She wrote “Mark and I lived on…”. I think she meant before they had kids. Either that or she fed them Aldi mac and cheese with water. Every. Single. Meal. :)

    [Reply]

    julie marie Reply:

    Yea, I read it over and realized that. And even mac and cheese is getting expensive now.
    I hope to still be able to get my food cost down someway. Thanks for your reply Heidi.

    [Reply]

  8. Sabrina
    May 25, 2012 | 5:53 pm

    Wow, I just found your website and have bookmarked it RIGHT away. So far what I have read, I love and love how you so practically articulate this lifestyle. I have 3 children under age 5 and though I am not a christian, mine preaches much of the same thing, and thought I would let you know that your endeavor makes a difference!

    [Reply]

  9. Kristy
    September 13, 2012 | 9:30 am

    How in the world do any of you spend so little for food?! We are a family of five and our food bill has gotten higher and higher the last couple of years. We are now spending about $1500/month just on food. While we eat a few snack foods and a very few quick foods, I mostly cook from scratch.

    Thanks to my husband’s low-carb dieting, we do eat steak, fish and seafood fairly often. But, even if we cut those meats out, our total cost would still be pretty high in this area.

    We live on one income and it is a very generous one and I am an avid budgeter, yet we still feel that we don’t have enough $ to go around. Makes me feel guilty because I know many around us who live on 1/4 or even less the $ that we do.

    When I look at our budget, I can’t seem to find much to cut back on. We’re self-employed, so insurance is very high and getting higher all the time. We’re still paying off grad school and probably will be for many years, plus we have our mortgage. Those debts have very low fixed interest, at least, but still add up to about 3 average house payments or rent in our area.

    As to tithing 10% or more, we don’t believe in it. Everyone does give a little quietly when they can and want to, but our religion(the ministry as Jesus taught it), requires very little $ as our ministers do not have homes, families, cars, church buildings, etc. So, we have less of an expense in that area, yet still feel short.

    [Reply]

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