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For all the encouraging tithing testimonies that I hear from readers, I occasionally get people emailing or commenting something like this:

  • “Tithing didn’t work for me”
  • “I tithed for a while, but didn’t see results”
  • “I quit tithing because I didn’t notice any change”

I have wanted to write this article for a while addressing this, but I have been hesitant because there aren’t any one-size-fits-all answers.

And if there are, I definitely don’t know what they are. I have some thoughts and maybe some humble suggestions for you to take to the Lord and ask for clarity, but no solid answer.

I also want to say that this article is written with much prayer, humility, and love backing it.

I believe as you read this, the Lord will lead you to your answer even if there is not even a hint of it in the article below.

But I did my best to address some of the common reasons why some people don’t see results tithing and a few other thoughts as well that I will share below.

I am going to assume that you read our article Tithing in the New Testament & Old that explains why it is not a “have to” thing, but rather a “get to” thing and answers a whole lot of common questions about tithing.

Before we get to a few questions we can ask ourselves if we aren’t seeing results from tithing, I want share a little of our story of all the years when we were tithing and seemed to not really be getting anywhere.

My tithing challenge

I tend to be a pretty all-or-nothing type of guy, so when I first got ahold of Malachi 3:10 I dove right in and went for it.

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse … Test me in this, and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.”

Actually giving the 10% wasn’t as challenging for me as patiently waiting for the second half of that promise to be fulfilled.

You see Linda and I have always had a dream in our hearts to be greatly used by God to give lots of money to fund the Kingdom of God.

When we were dating, we would talk and dream of what it would be like to be able to buy cars for people in need, to simply write a check and feed thousands of starving kids, and use our money to support evangelistic work all over the world.

But the reality was that we were so financially strapped that it was difficult to find money to buy a gift for a friend’s birthday party.

After we got married, we joined forces and decided to pay off all our credit card debt, and then things got even tighter.

We decided to NOT stop tithing while we were paying off our debt.  And then we felt like God was leading us to actually give more during that phase.

At first I was arguing with God a bit. “Come on, we barely have 2 nickels to rub together, should we really give more?”

What I didn’t realize at the time was that He wasn’t trying to take money from me, but He was trying to help us get the debt paid off faster.

“Remember this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously.” 2 Cor 9:6

Just like any farmer knows, the more seed you sow, the bigger your harvest will be.

In hindsight it is easy to see that’s what He was doing, but at the time I had no idea why He was calling us to give more while trying to pay off our mountain of debt.

Meanwhile at work…

I was beginning to realize that I had entered a low-paying career-path that had very little room for growth.

I had always been a hard worker and even though I hated my job I continued to work hard but always felt like a mediocre performer because it wasn’t suited for my giftings.

To make matters worse, I was being passed by for promotions by people with years less education than me. Only later did I come to find out that my boss missed the part of my resume about all my education in that area.

Maybe I should have underlined that section?  

And then our company got bought and our entire department got notice that we were no longer needed.

If it hadn’t been so discouraging, it would have been laughable.

Starting a side-business

During this time I had started a home-based business (my blog) as a way to make a little extra money.

And like many new businesses, I didn’t see results right away. In my first 6 months I made a total of $110.

The earnings were increasing each month, but when I was officially laid off we were barely making $100/month from the blog.

And then I felt God leading me to NOT look for another job, but to work on the blog full-time.

I thought “Um God, you are joking right?”

I had spent a year working on the blog to only be earning $100/m – how in the world is this ever going to be able to support my family?

And then my faith got tested again…

Within weeks of getting laid off, I got a job offer paying 2x as much as my previous job doing work I would have loved.

I thought, “This is God’s breakthrough!! Finally, we are seeing some progress!”

As soon as I was about to accept the position, I could just sense God telling me that I was not supposed to take the job.

I wrestled with this for days.

After all the financial and career struggle we had been through, it almost seemed like a cruel trick to dangle that out in front of me.

And it was.

But it wasn’t God playing the trick.

The devil was tempting me at a critical crossroads in my life.

In Luke 4 Jesus was tempted by the devil, and he was trying to knock Jesus off the path of His calling by tempting him with lesser things.

In the moment I didn’t realize that taking that job would have derailed God’s plans for my life, but years later, it is clear as day that it would have.

It was so difficult to pass that job up, but I did and continued to do what God had asked, to work on the blog full-time.

Where was my breakthrough?

During all those years, we faithfully tithed and even looked for opportunities to give more whenever possible.

I struggled every day wondering where my breakthrough was.  I wondered if I was doing something wrong or if i had missed God’s direction at some point.

But, looking back,  the truth is I think I was right where i was supposed to be.  God knew where I was and He wasn’t going to let me be forgotten.

Breakthrough came in unexpected packages

Part of my problem was that I was looking for the breakthrough to come via my job.

I was more or less assuming that the ONLY way God could provide was through a raise at work or a promotion.

Additionally, I assumed that Phil 4:19 would mean that He would provide money. But that’s not what the verse says.

“And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.”  Phil 4:19

It says he would provide for our needs, and there are many other ways to do that OTHER than money.

In our case, even during the times when it looked like we weren’t seeing results tithing, He was providing AND in increasing measure.

These are just a few of the ways I can recall:

Reducing expenses

During those years I learned many great ways to save money that freed up many hundreds of dollars each month.

I could have gotten a raise at work that might have yielded an extra $100/m which would have been great, but instead we reduced expenses by probably $500-$700 month by making some simple changes.

The bottom line is that we had hundreds more in our pocket each month.

I call that God’s provision.

Unexpected sources of income

We did have some unexpected sources of income during that time.

Two big ones I can recall was the severance package that I got from my employer as well as the retention bonus for agreeing to work until the last day.

Getting debts paid off

We then used most of those funds from my employer to pay off many of our debts.  This just reduced our monthly expenses even further.

Gifts

I can’t even begin to list all the gifts and items that people gave to us during those years.

From wedding gifts, to couches, to tables, to lamps, everywhere we looked we saw God’s provision.

At one point we looked around our apartment and almost everything had been given to us.

Free travel

During this time I hadn’t quite yet discovered our current strategy for traveling free, but God still provided some awesome vacations.

A super-generous family in our church had a beach house that they allowed us to use for free any time we wanted.  We probably stayed there 7-8 times in those early years of our marriage.

All that travel would have cost us many thousands, but God provided it for us.

Then some of the bigger harvest began

As awesome as all that provision was, over the next few years we really began to see the fruit of all that tithing and giving.

By nothing other than the miracle working power of God, my blog began earning more than my old job in less than a year.

And over the next couple years, the business earnings and other provision just continued to grow until we felt like we were experiencing Luke 6:38:

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap…”

It was a little overwhelming at first.

I had never been in a position where I had more than enough.  We decided to basically cap our standard of living and just keep sowing (giving) the rest.

This eventually led us to start giving our age as a percentage of our income.

And all these years later God has continued to provide all our needs.

I love this quote by RG LeTourneau:

“I shovel (money) out and God shovels it back, but God has a bigger shovel.”

A few questions to ask

If tithing doesn’t seem to be working for you, here are a few questions to honestly ask yourself.

Like I said at the beginning, I don’t have your answer, and there isn’t one answer to this question.

But my prayer is that as you ask yourself some of these questions and ask God to show you, you will get some revelation for your specific situation.

Are you viewing tithing as a turn-key system instead of an act of faith?

The act of Tithing is NOT a turn-key system or a money-machine where you simply put in a dollar and it spits out a dollar.

God (rightfully so) refuses to be reduced to a simple formula like this.

But, it is more of a general truth that requires faith in GOD and a trusting that what He says, He will do.

Matthew 6:33 (NASB) states that we should, “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

It should be no surprise that God wants our hearts, and for us to simply “give to get” and view God as a divine ATM, is missing the mark.

If we truly understand how much we have been given we will find ourselves desiring to “Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce.” Pro 3:9 (NLT).

While having a trusted advisor proof this article, he left this comment and I thought it was just too good to leave out…

“…In our minds, the tithe/blessing graph normally has an x axis (give) and y axis (receive) and we see the relationship as cause and effect. But, I think there’s a third access that we could call “heart” that is indicative of what God is doing IN us during the journey. The heart axis adds a third dimension whose fruits are mysteriously intangible but so beautiful as God carries us across spiritual milestones in the path of our lives.

When we get hung up on why tithing isn’t working, we’ve probably missed the question of why we tithe in the first place. We’re not called to be obedient SO that we experience tangible blessing; we’re called to be obedient so that we experience heart-peace, and tangible blessing is icing on the cake. The beauty of the blessing that follows obedience is that heart-peace is achievable regardless of circumstance when we loosen our grip on our own perceived control of our lives and our expectation of what God’s timeline should be in those specific circumstances.”

Is it possible that God has provided in ways that you weren’t expecting?

Like in our story above, provision doesn’t necessarily mean money.

In my case a whole lot of God’s provision in the first few years of tithing wasn’t money, but Him providing for my needs nonetheless.

Are you actually giving the amount you think you are?

Just like with budgeting, if you don’t track it you don’t really know what is happening.  And I don’t want to get too hung up on exact percentages, but I know in my own tithing experience when I found out that I wasn’t actually tithing when I thought I was – we decided to get exact with it.

And as soon as we did, we realized we didn’t have enough to cover our monthly expenses. But guess what,  God came through for us. It was almost like he was looking for the opportunity to be tested.

Are you expecting results too quickly?

In the example above, we did see almost instantaneous results from making that change.  But, over the years most of our breakthrough took a while.

Think about it, when you plant a seed, you don’t get to eat the fruit the next day – right?

It takes time for that seed to sprout, the seedling to grow into a plant, and then for fruit to develop and ripen before you can eat it.

Sowing into God’s Kingdom is no different.  It takes time before we can reap the harvest.

And the length of time seems to be different for every tither you ask. I wish I knew why, but the bottom line is that these seeds we sow into His Kingdom will bear fruit, we just need to hang on to Galatians 6:9:

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.”

Have you actually received financial increase and not noticed?

I don’t know about you, but before I began using a budget to control my spending I would get raises from work and never really feel any financial impact. I would just go about spending like normal and spend until the bank account ran out of money.

When you live like that you very well might not even notice the provision of the Lord. Without using a budget it is very difficult to feel a financial increase of 5% or even 10%.  And for some people even a 50% increase could go unnoticed.

Are you giving cheerfully or out of compulsion?

You should not be giving because you feel pressured to.  See my tithing article on this for more, but this is an opportunity that we have to trust God and watch Him move in our lives.

2 cor 9:7 says:

“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.”

If you are struggling with that cheerfulness with giving, ask God to help you with it – He will!

Are you obeying him as he is leading you?

God could be leading you to do something that would provide those blessings and provision.  And if you don’t obey, you might be missing out!

Read this passage from 1 Kings 17 (during a famine).

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah: 3 “Leave here, turn eastward and hide in the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan. 4 You will drink from the brook, and I have directed the ravens to supply you with food there.”

5 So he did what the Lord had told him. He went to the Kerith Ravine, east of the Jordan, and stayed there. 6 The ravens brought him bread and meat in the morning and bread and meat in the evening, and he drank from the brook.

What if Elijah hadn’t obeyed God?

When God called me to step out in faith and work on the blog full-time, it didn’t make any sense.  In the natural it looked like it would take years to even get back to what I was earning at my day job, but by His miraculous grace within a year the business was providing far more than my old day job.

If I hadn’t obeyed him in that area I would have missed out on those blessings.

It may just be that your blessing and provision is on the other side of obedience.

Final thoughts

If you find yourself not seeing the results you expected from tithing, I would encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal to you why.

Walking something out in faith and not seeing results has been one of the toughest aspects of the Christian life for me.

I have been there so many times and I will say this: because I have seen this pattern play out over and over with God, it is getting a little easier to step out in faith.

But it still is hard.

As I write this I am dealing with a pretty big faith test that I will tell you about once I am on the other side of it, but in the meantime I will keep trusting God and wait (as patiently as I can) for my breakthrough.

Let’s do it together, shall we?

P.S. If you need more inspiration check out these Bible Verses about Giving.

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12 years ago, Linda and I confronted our debt and decided that we were going to pay off our credit card debt on our own (and fast if at all possible).

We were determined to make the sacrifices necessary to eliminate it as quickly as possible.

We had $46k in total debt (though not all was credit card debt), and we created a makeshift debt-payoff plan that guided us to becoming debt-free.

In our case, we were a little extreme (like budgeting only $45/week for food), but we really wanted to get our credit cards paid off ASAP!!

The good news is that for most people, you don’t have to make massive lifestyle changes; you can take the slow and steady approach. It may take longer, but it will be a little less painful. Ultimately, it is up to you how fast you pay off your debt.

Looking back it was so clear that God was involved in the process. The miraculous speed with which we paid off our debt can only be attributed to God. As we stepped out in faith to pay off our debts, He came in and helped us pay it off so much quicker than I had calculated. Unexpected sources of income came in multiple times and shaved years off our debt payoff plan.

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This exhaustive guide is really more like a short book (and you can just click here to download the PDF version), or to make your life a bit easier you can click the links below to navigate through.

The problem with debt

Anyone who has really felt the effects of their debt can understand why the Bible says that the “borrower is slave to the lender”.

The weight of that burden can have terrible consequences.

Our Marriages

As we all know, money fights are one of the biggest stressors on our marriages, and they are also one of the leading causes of divorce.

Our Joy

According to a 2007 survey by the American Psychological Association, Money problems are a leading source of stress for Americans.

Our Sleep

A recent study found people with high levels of debt were more than 13 times as likely than low or no-debt people to lose sleep at night.

Our Physical Health

Multiple studies have found that high debt levels are associated with a wide range of illnesses including ulcers, migraines, high blood pressure, and heart attacks.

And with all these terrible side-effects, it is no wonder that so many people are choosing NOT to take on any more debt and trying to figure how to get out of debt as fast as possible.

How to get out of credit card debt on your own and fast

In this article, I am going to focus specifically on credit card debt, but the methods should work for most types of debt: student loans, auto loans, and even some medical debt.

And just so we are clear, this isn’t theory for me. These are things that Linda and I lived through and did ourselves when we were working to pay off our credit card debt.

Step 1 – How much debt do you actually have?

Maybe you have been choosing to not confront your debt and look to see how much you owe?

If that’s you, it is time to face the facts and add it all up. You can’t win this battle without knowing what you are up against.

I’ve been there, and I remember burying my head in the sand and hoping that somehow it would all just go away.

But, as you probably know, that doesn’t work. The longer we do that, the worse it gets, and it has to be dealt with at some point.

And like I mentioned, God was fighting our battle alongside us, but I don’t think we would have seen that if we hadn’t been honest and acknowledged our “mountain.”

“Truly I tell you, whoever says to this mountain, Be lifted up and thrown into the sea! and does not doubt at all in his heart but believes that what he says will take place, it will be done for him.” Mark 11:23 AMPC

Tell the mountain how big your God is

When you are looking at an overwhelming amount of debt that you need to pay off, it can be easy to just constantly focus on how big the mountain is.

But just like David running towards Goliath, our strength is in our declaring to the mountain how big our God is!

Our testimony is that God miraculously helped us go from paycheck-to-paycheck living to pay off $46k on our tiny salaries. And ours is nothing compared to what I have heard from some of our readers.

Running this website for the last decade, I have seen some miraculous stuff in the lives of our readers and let me tell you that there is no amount of debt too big for God to handle!

Almost every debt-payoff testimonial I have heard involves work towards the goal, rather than God dropping a check in the mailbox (though that has happened).

But nearly every Christian testimony I have heard about paying off debt had a similar story to ours in that they stepped out in faith and God came in to amplify and speed up the debt payoff process.

It reminds me a bit of Peter walking on the water. He had to take that first step 100% on faith that Jesus would support him. Surely there were fears and doubts in his mind, but he chose to trust in his Lord.

The other disciples never stepped out of the boat and missed out on the testimony that Peter will always have that he walked on water.

Let me encourage you that though you may be staring at a huge mountain of debt right now, God is bigger and is able to take care of it in ways that you and I will never be able to imagine.

BUT…

We have to step out of the boat to see those miracles.

Homework: Add it all up
  1. Create a simple Google Spreadsheet (or paper) and add up every piece of debt you have.
  2. Tell your mountain how big your God is!
  3. Extra Credit: Spend an extra 10 minutes and use our balance sheet spreadsheet to identify your net worth.
Step 2: Quit spending Plug The Holes

If you were in a boat in the middle of the ocean and you noticed that water was coming in through a hole, would you spend your time scooping the water out over the side of the boat, or would you plug the hole?

Getting out of credit card debt uses the same principle. Our spending is like the water coming into the boat, and the way to fix it is to QUIT SPENDING!

Yes, it is obvious, but it needs to be repeated because for some reason our brains can realize that it is true, but not do anything about it. So our goal now is to plug the hole, stop the bleeding, whatever you want to call it: just quit spending.

Spend Less Money Than You Make

Getting out of debt, creating wealth, living financially free, and retiring with some cash in the bank can all be achieved by following one simple rule:

Spend Less Than You Earn

If you do everything else wrong, but get this correct you will still be okay.

But, the scary truth is that if you do everything else right, but get this wrong you will end up deeper in debt.

It is very simple, but it is not easy.

It is the only way to stay debt free. It is the only way to have any lasting wealth.

It doesn’t matter if you get $10 million from lottery winnings; if you can’t follow this simple rule you will be back to where you started in no time (and often even worse.)

It doesn’t matter how much you make. Everyone (I used to do this too) thinks that when they make more money, they will be able to spend less than they earn. Rarely is this true.

We all know someone who no matter what time something starts you can count on them being 15 minutes late. It doesn’t matter if they have the entire day free, they will still be late. It isn’t a matter of the time available as much as it is a matter of discipline. It is the same way with our spending.

If you can’t spend less than you earn with what you have now, you will not be able to when you get more. Parkinson’s law states that “expenses rise to meet income.” So without a deliberate and intentional effort, each increase in income that you get will quickly be used up by new expenses.

This is the frustrating part about getting a raise. As much as I loved getting them, they never seemed to make bill paying any easier.

Have you ever felt this way?

So I Know I Need To Spend Less Than I Earn, But How? Make A Budget

A budget is absolutely one of the best tools that you will find to help you spend less than you make. I have written extensively about how to budget, but I suggest you start with this post – how to make a budget.

It will walk you through all the steps you need to get started on an effective budget. If you are really serious about getting out of debt, don’t skip this step.

You also might want to download one of our free budgeting spreadsheets while you are at it.

Everyone who does not budget spends more money than those who do. It is as simple as that. It doesn’t have to be painful and can even be fun.

Eliminate The Temptation To Spend

Look at your credit card statements and see where you are spending more than you think you should be.

Romans 13:14 says to ”make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts.”

I did this by not going to the mall and not going out to eat.

These were my two problem areas where I spent way too much money. Find out what your temptations are, run from them and set yourself up to succeed.

Alcoholics shouldn’t hang out in bars, and over-spenders shouldn’t go to Target! Just ask my wife!

For more check out how to quit spending more than you make. Additionally, you might want to check out my favorite ways to save money.

Step 3: Making sacrifices

This one is where the rubber meets the road. If you are one of the bold ones who has a lot of debt but wants to pay off all your debt in a year, then this is where you can make some huge headway!

The Sacrifice Is Only Temporary!

The most important thing to remember as you are reading this is that it is ONLY TEMPORARY.

By making a sacrifice, you are not condemning yourself to that for the rest of your life. You just need to make up for all the overspending that has taken place in the past.

If you have done some of the things mentioned above, then you are already on a better financial footing than you were.

But, if your expenses are still greater than your income, then we are going to have to take a few more steps.

Sacrifice Your Stuff And Sell It!

To get this debt paid off – especially if you want to do it fast, then you are probably going to have to sell some big stuff.

The truth is that you either have to cut more expenses or increase your income.

Depending on how deep in debt you are, you may need to take drastic measures to get yourself back on solid ground.

What do you have that you owe money on?

Take out a piece of paper and write them down. Do you have loans on your house, car, boat, living room set, or anything else? The goal is to minimize our expenses, so what better way than getting rid of some of the stuff we owe on?

Don’t worry, you will be able to get it again later, but now your goal is to break free from the bondage of debt!

You have to open your mind to things that you might not have wanted to do. This is probably one of them.

Cars Are Terrible Investments!

Like we’ve talked about before, we pay a lot of money for cars and they basically only go down in value until they are sent to car heaven.

In my opinion, cars get people into financial trouble more than anything else.

Most people don’t spend tens of thousands of dollars on something that knowingly goes down in value.

The way to defeat this is to drive older cars (older cars have already suffered much of the depreciation and therefore lose a whole lot less in value each year).

Now I know everyone’s situation is different, but the goal is to get you to start asking, “what if we sold _______?”

So, if you have a boat that you owe thousands on still or a couple of cars, it doesn’t really matter; if you are making payments on it, you should consider getting rid of it.

And come to think of it, if you do own it and it is still worth a decent amount, you can sell that too!

“But If I Get An Older Car, It Will Be Expensive To Maintain.”

Not necessarily. Go to Consumer Reports and give them $6.95 for one month of access to their website. They have hands down, the best and most useful information for buying a used car. They rate just about every car in the book for all kinds of criteria. Not the least of which is reliability.

What I have found over the years is that Honda and Toyota (on average) have consistently made the most reliable cars.

But, do your own homework at Consumer Reports.

Sacrifice your time and get to work! Again.

Yep, if everything up to this point isn’t giving you some extra cash to help you get out of debt, then you may need to think about getting a second job.

The good news is that second jobs aren’t what they used to be. I remember when I was younger I would put in a hard day’s work at the grocery store and then make my way to the restaurant for the completion of about 12-16 hours on my feet.

Needless to say, those days were very tiring, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Thanks to technology there are so many legit ways to make money these days, many home-based businesses you can start, or a bunch of real companies that will pay you to work from home that you could work with temporarily as you knock out your debt.

Work Overtime

Ask your boss if he/she has anything extra you can work on to pick up some extra hours. This will likely be the best paying additional income you could find.

Sell On eBay

This is probably the most popular method these days for people looking to supplement their income. The greatest part about it is that you can start with stuff laying around your house. If you have not sold on eBay before, I highly recommend it as a way to generate some extra income.

I wrote all about my experience of how I made $2,145 in one month selling on eBay and Craigslist. Or for more info, you can read the earlier article I wrote for beginners called 7 Steps to selling on eBay.

Should you sell your house to pay off debt?

This really is the epitome of selling everything to get out of debt! This is a tough one. It really will depend on your situation. I have personally known a few people who have sold their homes to get out of debt, and they all seemed happy that they did.

But, you have to remember that it generally costs a good amount of money to sell a home and move to a new place. Not to mention all the time involved.

You might be one of those people in a situation where selling your house and moving into an apartment for a while makes sense. But if you are unsure, definitely seek wise counsel about the details of your specific situation.

Should you cash out your 401k to pay off your credit card debt?

Like the previous question, this one depends on your situation. First off, if your 401k is at your current employer, you won’t even be able to unless you qualify for Hardship Withdrawals.

Additionally, even if you can, you will have to not only pay taxes on the withdrawal, but also a 10% penalty (assuming you are under 59 1/2 years old). You might be able to avoid that if your medical debt exceeds 7.5% of your Adjusted Gross Income.

If your credit cards are charging you 25% interest, it could make sense in some cases as you likely aren’t earning near that much in your 401k. But you are also giving up the long-term earning potential.

Bottom line, this is another one where you will want to seek the wise counsel of a trusted advisor who truly understands your debt situation.

Should you stop tithing while paying off your debt?

I won’t go into this much here because I already wrote about my thoughts on stopping tithing while paying off debt.

But suffice it to say, as mathematically counter-intuitive as it seems, we continued tithing while we were paying off our $46k and we paid it off way faster than our payoff timeline suggested.

We had surprise income come to us multiple times, and I am convinced that if we had stopped tithing, it would have taken us LONGER to pay off our debt.

What sacrifices are you going to make to get out of debt? Tools to help you get out of credit card debt DIY Debt Consolidation with Balance Transfers

I don’t recommend this for a lot of people because you can get yourself into trouble if you don’t stay on top of things.

But we used this method (in the video below) when we were paying off our $46k of debt. Essentially I transferred all our debt (credit cards and car loans) onto 0% credit cards to save a ton on interest charges.

How I got 0% on all my credit cards and car loans - YouTube

Debt consolidation with Lending Club

This is a much simpler way to reduce your interest rate than the balance transfer method mentioned above.

You won’t be able to achieve 0%, but if you have credit cards with interest rates in the range of 20%+, you should be able to get them greatly reduced.

I wrote a thorough article documenting how to do a debt consolidation with Lending Club that you can read for more info.

Debt..
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The simple truth is that while they cost me a lot of money early in my life in interest charges (because of my bad financial habits), at this point, they save me far more money than I could have ever imagined.

This is another one of those articles that I should have written years ago, but I was a little scared.

There are some people out there that don’t fully understand what the Bible says about debt and whether or not Christians should use credit cards.

Yes, they absolutely need to be used with caution and you really have to “know yourself” and be honest about whether or not you will pay off the balance each month.

Because if you don’t pay off the balance each (and EVERY) month, you will quickly negate any benefit that you would get from using credit card bonus points.

But, if you have the self-discipline to pay them off each month AND you don’t actually spend more using them than cash, then you can benefit big time from the rewards that many cards offer.

Do credit cards actually make you spend more than cash?

On numerous occasions, I have heard (and even found myself repeating) a quote from a supposed study from Dun and Bradstreet that states that:

“People spend 12-18% more when using credit cards instead of cash…”

But when I actually began looking for the source of that info (the study itself) I wasn’t able to find it anywhere. And I am not alone – a quick google search revealed lots of financial experts discussing it, none being able to find it and even some questioning if it ever actually existed.

Regardless, knowing my own behavior, it does make sense to me that I could spend more on plastic than using cash. However, at this point, I know of no conclusive studies proving that.

Again, the key is to “know yourself” and determine honestly for yourself whether or not you do spend more when using plastic.

A DIY debt consolidation using credit cards

The first real benefit I got from using credit cards was when I did a makeshift debt consolidation using credit cards.

10-15 years ago, I was paying off my consumer debts and I didn’t have the option of using Lending Club for a debt consolidation, so I used 0% credit card offers instead.

At the time there were a bunch of great balance transfer credit cards offering 0% for 12 months with no balance transfer fee.

So I got as many as I could and I transferred my higher interest rate cards to the 0% cards. I even transferred our car loans to our 0% cards as well. It took a good amount of tracking and Google calendar reminders to make sure I transferred to a new 0% credit card before the 0% promotional offer expired.

But the couple hours of effort each month allowed us to move all of our debt to a 0% rate, saving us many hundreds if not thousands of dollars in interest charges.

We used that process to pay off all of our remaining $46k of debt.

Once all our non-mortgage debt was paid off, I decided that I wanted to make sure that I never got into credit card debt again, so we got rid of all our credit cards.

I honestly think I was disciplined enough at that point to NOT get myself in trouble with them, but since I didn’t see any benefit to them now that our credit card debt consolidation was complete, we just got rid of all of them.

I cut them all up and got them out of my life.

We used a debit card and cash and generally had no issues (other than trying to rent a car with a debit card).

And it was all working out just fine.

Why I started using credit cards again instead of a debit card

Over the next few years, I would often hear some of my personal finance buddies talk about how they were getting so many perks and rewards with their credit card points.

For a while, I didn’t think much of it because I was using (the now defunct) Perkstreet debit card that at one point gave 2% cash-back on all spending.

So, in my mind, I didn’t really think I was missing out on much.

But when Perkstreet went out of business (it was just too good to last), I found myself missing those rewards – 2% really adds up to a lot of money each month!

So, I started investigating the whole world of credit card rewards…

My mind was blown.

I had no idea how valuable some credit card points were.

I began looking for credit cards that were offering bonus points for new customers and began opening as many as I could.

I opened 9 different credit cards over the next 6 months and began collecting points from all these cards.

I created a system of Google calendar reminders and a spreadsheet to help me make sure that I closed them all at the appropriate time to avoid the annual fee.

Over the next few years, I would figure out which cards are worth the time, which ones are not, and how to maximize point usage.

This led to us getting (by my best estimates) about $45k-$60k in free travel.

In the next article “How we travel for free” I go into detail about:

  • How we 80/20 the process so it takes next to no effort and maintenance
  • The only credit card reward program you need (that is best for 95% of Americans)
  • How we got 161 FREE hotel nights at Hyatts and 97 FREE Southwest flights over the last 5 years
Read Next: How we travel for free in the U.S.
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As long as I have been a Christian, I can remember people arguing and debating about tithing. Some say it was only an Old Testament Law that doesn’t need to be followed as believers under the New Covenant. And some say that it is just a relevant to New Testament Christians as it was in the Old Covenant.

I recently wrote about my tithing experience and I’d like to offer my thoughts on tithing in the New Testament…

It isn’t a means of salvation

You can’t earn your way to Heaven by giving and you won’t be excluded from Heaven by your lack of tithing.

Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV)

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.

Out of our Faith, our good works manifest. So, in my opinion, if someone truly understands how great of a gift they have been given, they will expend a lot of energy giving back.

Can you be blessed without tithing?

Some say you won’t be blessed if you don’t tithe. I kinda think this completely depends on the person and their maturity level as a Christian.

You expect more from a 13 year old than a 5 year old – right? I don’t think God is any different, He knows where we are on our walk and will meet us where we are.

I was a Christian for a while before I started tithing and I think I was doing okay. I know some Christians who don’t tithe and seem to be very blessed.

But, I don’t really think there is any getting around the fact that you will be MORE blessed if you tithe than if you don’t.

And to be honest, giving 10% should just be a mile marker on our giving journey.  If we truly understand how much we have been given, we will spend our whole lives trying to give way beyond 10%.

The Bible says that there will ALWAYS be seedtime and harvest (Gen 8:22). What we sow, we will reap. If we give, it will be given back to us in good measure.

So the bottom line is that there is undoubtedly a blessing that comes to givers.

Luke 6:38 (NIV)

“Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

God loves a cheerful giver

2 Corinthians 9:7 (NIV)

Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

God loves a cheerful giver, not under compulsion; if you aren’t giving with the right attitude, don’t waste your time… If you have an attitude about it and want to change it, just ask God for help. He will, I promise.

Tithing verses in the New Testament

There are plenty of verses about tithing in the Old Testament and a lot fewer in the New Testament. Actually, it is true that tithing isn’t talked about nearly as much in the New Testament as the Old Testament. Personally, I don’t believe that in any way nullifies the value of it as a practice.

Under the New Covenant, our salvation is not based upon our obedience to the 10 Commandments, but does that mean that we shouldn’t still follow them? Are they suddenly of no value? I think the same can be said of tithing. While you can debate all day long about whether or not it is a command for New Testament believers, it will still provide a blessing just like it did in the Old Covenant.

Do the New Testament Tithing Scriptures command it?

Is tithing a new testament principle? In the next section below you can see what Jesus says about tithing, and He clearly does NOT command us to tithe.  But, that in no way means that we shouldn’t do it!

As Rev. Bill Miller puts it in his Financial Newsletter:

“Many believers who don’t want to tithe say that there are no scriptures in the New Testament that tell us we (must) tithe. And I say there weren’t any scriptures for Abram and Jacob either. Why would there be scriptures to repeat for us to do something that God has ALREADY said can be done of one’s FREE WILL in exchange for a blessing?

For those who don’t tithe, what are you doing that is scripturally superior to honor God sufficiently enough to warrant His favor and blessing in return?” 

What did Jesus say about tithing?

FMF brings up a great point about New Testament tithing (Jesus words himself)…

Jesus endorsed the tithe

In Matthew 23:23 and Luke 11:42 Jesus referred to tithing as something that should not be neglected…

“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”

So if you have been wondering what Jesus said about tithing or if “tithe” is in the New Testament, you have it right there in Luke 11:42.

Also From FMF

“No longer are animal sacrifices necessary, but we are now to sacrifice our own lives and live for Christ, not ourselves. No longer is ‘an eye for an eye’ appropriate but we are to love our enemies and ‘turn the other cheek’. These are only two examples of heightened responsibilities Jesus taught His people. As such, I can only conclude that the same holds true with the tithe. While it used to be the requirement, it should now be the minimum.”

He said we could test Him

Do we have any better invitation that to actually test it out and see if it really works? Most of us who do tithe were probably in the same spot as the non-tithers and didn’t believe it ourselves, but we tried it out. Guess what? Just like God promised, things are better after tithing! It really is like all the other areas of our walk with God – it requires FAITH. No, it doesn’t make sense that when we give all this money away, things will actually be better – but I have found it to be true in my own life and others have as well.

Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

“Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the LORD Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.”

It is so much bigger than us The much bigger issue here is that God’s Kingdom needs to be advanced!

Who does He use to do that? Us, the believers! If we aren’t funding and financing Kingdom activities, then who will? How are the lost going to be reached if we don’t send those to preach? (Romans 10:15)

We shouldn’t be getting all caught up in percentages and what we “have to do” according to the Bible – what we (as God’s people) need to do is to forget about our ambitions, goals and motives and pick up God’s plan. We have been saved from eternal separation from God by grace! With all that we have been given, how can we do anything else but give all we have?

What if we all got our minds off of our own earthly bank accounts and focused on sowing into things that will have eternal value.

“I judge all things only by the price they shall gain in eternity.”

– John Wesley

I know it is difficult to comprehend, but eternity is a LONG TIME! We can either be doing things with our time and money that may benefit us for a few years down here, or we can see ourselves as the eternal beings that we are, get our priorities lined up with God’s, and starting giving in a way that will actually last for eternity!

Matthew 6:20 (NIV)

But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal.

When we give into our churches and into ministries that are reaching the world, we get to be included in their eternal reward. We are the BODY of Christ, we all have a part to play.

Ephesians 4:16

…from whom the whole body, being fitted and held together by what every joint supplies, according to the proper working of each individual part, causes the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love.

The amazing thing is that as we start getting our focus off of ourselves and on meeting the needs of others, we will have our needs taken care of. It is just the way God set it up. He is so good, isn’t He?

I would love to hear your comments – so please share them below. Disagreeing is absolutely okay, just please be civil. Deal?

  Check out our related book:
Managing Money God's Way: A 31-Day Devotional   "This is an excellent book. I recommend it to anyone who is dealing with not only money issues, but becoming a better steward over their lives as a whole."   — F. Gallop, Amazon reviewer.    
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