Giving While In Debt



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Basic Outline Of The Content In Video

  • My Confession:  We aren’t giving as much as we feel we should.
  • We give in the basic areas.  Cancer walk/runs, fund-raising, school functions, natural disasters
  • Even though specific numbers aren’t important, we can’t imagine giving 10% (for example) right off the top.
  • Should giving be treated like an investment?  Give less now, in order to give so much more later?
  • Are we modeling our values appropriately for our children?
  • If you were on your deathbed, would you be satisfied with the giving you’ve been able to do?
  • Once we get out of debt are we really going to start giving?  Or will there always be another justification?  How do we keep from falling into that trap.
  • I don’t want to live my whole life and look back and say, “I was too busy to give.”

If you are in debt, do you struggle with same issues?  Are you giving as much as you think you should?  If you are already out of debt, how did getting out of debt change your view on giving?  Did it effect it at all?  As always, please help me work through this issue by leaving your comment below!

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13 thoughts on “Giving While In Debt”

  1. Treating like an investment – I’m not sure how effective this will be. If you’re giving to something like a university endowment, they might be able to achieve a better ROI than you, meaning that your smaller gift today could be worth more than your larger gift tomorrow. If you’re giving to something like cancer research, if the costs of research rise faster than your ROI, the value could be eroded. Also, you might delay a potential breakthrough that could save lives.

    Your deathbed comment is a good point.

    Kosmo @ The Casual Observer’s last blog post..Retro fiction: Tina

    1. I should clarify that we don’t actual invest the difference, per se. It’s just more of a mental justification. Like how much more can we give if we are completely debt free!

  2. Adam,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with the there will always be a justification. I speak from experience as we dug out of $70k in debt, funded an emergency fund, and are now in house savings mode. Our giving does increase every year, but there will always be a tug to focus on your goals.

    The main problem is that it is a heart issue. I don’t give because I am not yet that generous and want to focus on me. Focus on changing your heart, which doesn’t have a lot to do with money. While in debt reduction mode, you can intentionally volunteer to help neighbors, or at a local shelter, or after school program. Keep it real and focus on experiences that broaden your world and your perspective. Meeting people and situations with real needs is infinitely different than randomly giving to causes or organizations, because they do good things somewhere in the world that you will never see.

    The more financially sound you become the more you can insulate yourself from the real world and real struggles. You can buy a bigger home and move into ‘good areas’ and stay away from what most people know to be reality which then turns giving into something intangible not something that is about having a giving heart and sharing the your blessings with others.

    The Happy Rock’s last blog post..The Happy Rock’s Monthly Budget Expenses Revealed

    1. Wow, thanks for your awesome insight. Our numbers are relatively close to yours and it’s awesome to have you share you experience having already achieved what we are fighting to do.

      I think your right that it’s all about heart. I think we both are caring, passionate people. My mind just wanders to how much more of a difference we could make with a few years of sacrifice.

  3. We give, but not nearly as much as I would like to. We have it automatically deducted (which some extras on top throughout the year) and increase it every year, slowly, but steadily working towards 10% of our income. Having it automatically deducted helps a lot. Set and forget. We don’t have to make the decision every month to give….it’s just done.

    For us, neither my husband or I grew up in a household that talked very much about giving. I know my parents gave, but I don’t know how much. It was just never discussed. And we never volunteered our time, which I also feel is important. This is something I want my children to grow up doing. Giving. Time, money, services.

    We live in an area that is very diverse, socio-economically, which I also believe will help us in this area. I’ll be honest, sometimes it can get to me, but it makes for a LOT of teachable moments, that’s for sure. And it’s real life. Not like the white-flight, suburban, upper middle class area that I grew up in.

    So, I see things, people all the time that make me very thankful for what I have. That in itself helps me to give more. Knowing that even after we give, we will still have so much.

    Mama Bird’s last blog post..The Lure of Living Abroad

    1. Yeah, you and Happy Rock both comment to the power of giving locally. Or at least where you can actually see and feel the impact. This is important to us and is usually the direction of our current giving.

      My household was similar to yours. I know my parents gave, but we really never talked about it much.

  4. I’m 100% w/The Happy Rock.

    You can view my entire “Testimony to the Tithe” story to get all the details, but suffice to say that I have never been as blessed financially as I have since I set up auto-donations to my church every month.

    My advice Adam – try it for yourself, but remember…if you give, do so cheerfully or do not give at all. No one likes a grumbling giver! 🙂

    Matt Jabs’s last blog post..Financial Philosophy & Sacrifice to Create Wealth & Live Off Your Interest

  5. Pingback: Friday Quotables - The Hunt Is On Edition | StretchyDollar

  6. Excellent video today Adam! Your confession is very timely right now in my life. I know I should be giving much more of my time and money to people. There’s something about giving that’s good for the soul. I would call it an investment in people’s lives – helps them grow and succeed. Thanks for your transparency today.

    John at’s last blog post..Review of CheckVist

    1. No problem, John. I’m glad it connected with you today. I’m going to try to do at least 1 video a week, if people enjoy them!

  7. Adam – This topic is a struggle for many people. Personally, I “tithed” sporadically before deciding to dig myself out from under the mountain of debt I had amassed over the years. I say that I tithed, but since I didn’t make it to church every single week for a given year, I never ended up really giving a tenth of my income.

    When I decided to get my financial house in order, I setup my giving on an automatic draft. I now tithe 10% off the top, not because I think it has anything to do with salvation, but because it’s a way for me to give back a portion of what really isn’t mine to begin with. Giving takes my eyes off of myself and helps me to be more of a self less person (and self less people make better spouses, parents, friends, employers, employees, etc.).

    We started our debt reduction journey on January 1st, 2008. My wife and I have paid off $43k so far and we will be completely debt free by the end of this year. Yes, we would’ve probably been debt free by now had we stopped giving during this time; however, we chose this path knowing it would extend our journey and had faith that everything would work out better for our family in the long run.

    Best of luck in deciding what’s best for your situation. Cheers!

  8. Giving, for me, is planting seeds for the future. So I would encourage you: Give! Give what you can. Sure, work your way out of debt. But Give, be generous and bless your friends & family.

    Giving releases YOU from the power of Money. It shows you that you are not bound to your money, but your money is your servant – and you plant it where you desire.

    Giving, like spending & Saving – needs also to be in balance though!
    Too much giving = not enough living, and too much living = not enough saving. I have a post which is brewing away on this very topic of financial balance.

    Good topic. Nice work, glad I found your site Baker.

    Jon Coleman @ Pepper Pots’s last blog post..Repair or Replace?

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