Week 1 (the 1st steps)

Last week our family began a tithing experiment.  We decided that despite not being able to afford to give more than we already were, that we could not afford to be disobedient.  So in spirit of Malachi 3:10 we started bringing the whole tithe, our first-fruits, to God.  It is a scary thing to step out in faith on what has been one of our most significant stumbling blocks in serving our Savior, but we know from experience, that it will be worth it.

I set it up so that 10% of my gross pay would automatically be deducted from our checking account on each payday.  Friday was the first deduction, and to say we were a little nervous would be an understatement.

As I sat down Saturday morning to do the bills I noticed that I was kind of excited.  This was strange because paying bills has always been such a nightmare.  My wife can testify that I often need some space for an hour or so after I finish.  It’s stressful, frustrating and makes me angry.  This time was different.  I was anxious to see what living in obedience looked and felt like.  Here is an overview;

-First off I decided we needed to really start keeping track of where our money was going.  This seems obvious.  Duh!  I mean how have we gone this far without a budget.  I bought the HomeBudget app from Apple’s App Store and installed it on our phones so that we can begin keeping track (shout out to Michelle Wegner here, because I read in one of her blog posts that this is what her family uses).

-We have a bit of a cushion to begin with because we just received our tax return.  I was able to pay most of our bills in full by taking some of the money from the return.  This is not a good strategy because normally that money will not be there, but I figured we might as well try to start on a level playing field.

-My paychecks can fluctuate wildly.  There is often a $100-500 difference from paycheck to paycheck which makes things difficult to predict.  As-such, when I set up the amount to be deducted every other week for our tithe, I used a some-what average amount.  This week that amount was about 3 dollars short of the full 10% so I went online and gave 3 bucks to make it right.  It felt a little legalistic to give 3 dollars, but I want to do this right, so oh well.  On the weeks where the deduction is more than what is needed, I guess we will just be extra generous.

-I had to shuffle our gas bill and car payment a little this time around.  I was $50 short on the car payment and $201.49 short on the gas.  This being winter, the gas bill was a lot higher than normal, and we were already a bit behind on it to begin with.  I am going to look into the Budget Plan that our gas company offers so that the seasonal ups and downs can be more predictable., but they won’t let me do that until we are caught up on our current bill.  Hopefully with my next check I can get completely caught up on both the gas and car payment.

-I paid our monthly bill to Compassion International for Faisi.  She is a little girl we sponsor and is very important to us.

-We decided to cancel our cable.  This is a big monthly bill for something we can do without.  We have Netflix and Apple TV, which gives us plenty of options.  Besides, we watch to much TV anyway.

-Round-up:

$50 short on car payment

$201.49 short to gas company

$143.41 owed to dentist

We need braces for our oldest

Our car registrations are due

We have a 13th birthday in a couple of weeks

I need work boots, there are holes in the ones I have

I’d like to do something nice for my wife

Hopefully I didn’t forget anything.  Check back often as we move forward.

For all the updates on The Experiment click here.

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