Mormon Finance: Living on less than ½ an income

So it’s been a while since our last “Mormon Finance” blog entry.  Forgive me.  In the interim, I’ve graduated school, moved across the country, and my wife and I have both started jobs.  As much as we loved being in school, I have to say that having a regular income again is nice.  (In case you were wondering, yes, I am trying to follow my own advice and get out of debt as soon as possible).

So here is something that I’m guessing not many of your Mormon friends talk about.  It was something I didn’t realize before I got my first real job. Many Mormons are living on less than half of their income. How can that be?  Just check out the nifty pie chart, which is a breakdown of my finances. Keep in mind that the “What I Live On” category includes paying rent, food, gas, and student loans –all of which are things that are hard to reduce that much.

I know these numbers can vary, but the reason I’m posting this is draw attention to the purple slice at the bottom.  Many of you may know that Mormons pay tithing (10% of our income). The thing I never understood as a kid paying 10% of my income on my minimum wage job at Pretzelmaker was that after the taxes that go with full time employment, 1/10th of my income becomes more like 1/6th of my income. And that is before I pay all my bills.

I guess what I’m really saying is that tithing is really cutting into my spending money. The funny thing is, I wouldn’t change a thing.  I can honestly say that paying tithing has brought so many benefits to my life both financial and spiritual that I’m glad for the opportunity to pay it.

There are a lot of practical reason why tithing is a great thing, and I’m planning on exploring this further in a future post. But in the meantime, I’ll share an anecdote that I think is interesting.

Ten years ago I met a woman who was married to a man that was raised Mormon.  The husband had for short periods of time come back to church, and during those times had paid tithing.  Even after the husband would stop going to church, the wife would continue to make him pay their tithing because she said that when their family was paying tithing, everything else seemed to go better in their family.  When they stopped -things always seemed to fall apart.  At this point, this woman didn’t even believe in God -but she would swear on tithing, because she had seen it work. Feel free to try it out yourself, I don’t care if you are Mormon or not. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

For those of you who have tried it- leave a comment below about how tithing has affected you.  For those who haven’t, let me know what questions you have

2 thoughts on “Mormon Finance: Living on less than ½ an income

  1. Elisha Goodson

    We have really put tithing to the test this year and trusted in the Lord more than our credit cards. We have had to make some lifestyle adjustments- but I have been able to be home with the kids and help others, My husband is back in school, we have bright hope for the future and we are living a richer life than ever- we have more friends, food storage, and I have been learning how to create fun things and become more resourceful. It is way easier to just go buy stuff, but the taste of bottled Garden salsa, the perfect fit and feel of a bathrob you completed for your child, and the smell and look of heart shaped noodle soup- can’t be beat. Tithing is truly a gift- It is freedom of the mind and heart. I think tithing is God’s way of saying “Hey kids, you already have so much, but if you share with your brothers and sisters whose homes are bare, I will make sure that all of your needs are met, and you will be my happiest child ever!”
    Thank you Lord for this Beautiful Earth and the Opportunity I have to share with others

    Elisha

  2. kasey

    Ever since we got married ten years ago, my husband and I have worked hard to pay a full tithe. We have seen many blessing because of it. We are not rich and we never seem to have a lot of extra money, but we have always had enough for our needs. Just like everyone else we’ve had financial troubles these past few years: paycuts, foreclosure, going without to try and save a little here or there. But we have also seen some of the greatest blessings these past few years: side work for my husband to provide extra income, healthy children, only needing to get gas once a month, finding a new home to fit our family and our budget, and a sense of peace that comes from paying tithing and knowing that we will be taken care of.

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