By Guest Blogger Tana at Debt Free Forties
Tithing while in debt can be a controversial subject, depending upon your beliefs, the church you attend, and the amount of debt you’re in. Deciding whether or not to tithe is a very personal choice, and one I would not venture to even help you decide. What I’d like to suggest are some non-monetary alternatives for those to choose to continue to tithe during debt repayment.
Alternatives to Traditional tithing in a time of Debt Repayment
To conquer your debt, you need to throw every penny you can at it, and fast. The longer it takes, the more likely you are to fall off track with kicking debt out once and for all.
One way to conquer debt is to pause any expenses that don’t directly contribute to your ability to live, such as housing, gas, and food, to name a few. One of these expenses could be tithing. The beautiful part is, if you chose to stop tithing financially, you can continue to do so with your time, energy and dedication instead.
Consider other ways to contribute to your church and community. As the old saying goes, time is money, right? Your unique skills, time and energy are a great offering to your church and community.
All churches have tons of social events, gatherings and even members that could use help. Why not use your time to help those in need of a meal or clothes? Or help the youth group with holiday outings? There’s no such thing as having too many volunteers, not to mention the great example you’re setting for the younger church members and your family.
Is it OK to Give Time Instead of Tithing?
You might be wondering if it’s ok to give of your time instead of your wallet. It really boils down to being your personal decision. What are you comfortable with? And how badly do you want your debt gone? Tithing your time can be a great motivator in debt repayment, so that you can get back to tithing financially as soon as possible.
No one can answer this question for you. It’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable with. It’s ok to admit that you can’t contribute financially, but will as soon as you can. Try talking with your clergy or someone whose opinion you trust if you need help.
Creative Alternatives to Tithes and Offering
If you do decide to try non-monetarily based tithing, there are many, many ways to contribute to your church and community. From volunteering to donating goods, here are the top ways you can contribute:
Volunteer at your church.
- Churches have a great variety of people who attend, and many of them could use help. From new moms to the elderly, everyone needs a helping hand.
- The church itself doesn’t run without people helping out. Everything from cleaning to social events needs members to volunteer to help things run smoothly:
- Teach Sunday school classes. Good with kids? Offer to take on a Sunday school class or rotate out with other teachers.
Volunteer with the youth group. Set a great example for the younger generations by showing them fun and community by volunteering to go on outings and organizing events.
- Sign on to help with funeral luncheons. If ever anyone has a time of need, this is it. Sign up to help members celebrated their loved ones lives.
- Join VBS summer camp. Only a week long, but is a great opportunity to teach, sing and create fun crafts!
- Offer holiday help. With the higher attendance rates during the holidays, the church could use the extra hands with organizing, cleaning, decorating and greeting others.
- Clean the church. Offer to help with spring cleaning by polishing pews, painting, and giving a facelift to the church.
- Organize holiday drives. Great with organizing events? Offer to run holiday toy or food drives for those less fortunate.
- Help with the landscaping. Plant flowers, mulch, clean gutters or offer to shovel and salt sidewalks before services.
- Help the elderly that attend your church. Sign up to read to them, visit them, or whatever services your church provides. If they don’t offer anything, start a new volunteer effort!
- Provide carpool services to church services for those who cannot drive. There are members who cannot drive due to sickness or physical issues. Offer to drive them to the service of their choice every week.
- Bring new moms or sick/grieving members meals. Set up a meal service where members can provide dinners to new moms or sick/grieving members in their time of need.
- Offer up your skillset. What are you good at? What do you do in your work life? Figure out how to bring those skills in a volunteer capacity to the church and it’s members.
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Donate to the Food Pantry.
I like to do months where we eat out of the pantry so that we use up items before their expiration dates. Sometimes those don’t go as planned, and we don’t get to do that as much as I’d like.
A perfect alternative is to donate those items to the food pantry. It’s a great way to rotate your pantry stock, give to the community, and give without breaking the bank. It’s items you already have and a great way to make sure that they get used!
Donate clothes and household items to the church, Goodwill, or another charity.
It’s no secret that we all have clothes that don’t fit anymore or with the tags still on, lurking in the back of our closet. Why not donate them to someone who will actually wear them? Same with items around your house that you no longer need. Give them a purpose and hand them off to others who are less fortunate and could use something new-to-them to brighten their day.
Consider tithing outside your church.
There are tons, and I mean tons, of charities and community projects that could use your time, energy and dedication. Find something that calls to you and contribute your time. Team up with your spouse, a friend or family member and use that volunteer time to build your relationship as well!
It can be difficult to come to terms with your inability to tithe financially while repaying debt. However, remember that it’s temporary and it can be a great motivator to get your debt paid off. Give yourself a break, and remember that your ability to help out is just as great as a financial gift.
Tana blogs at Debt Free Forties, a personal finance and lifestyle blog which helps her stay accountable with her own debt repayment. Her goal is to educate others on how to take control of their money and find their own financial freedom. You can learn more by visiting http://debtfreeforties.com or download your free debt and savings tracker printables here! https://debtfreeforties.com/free-debt-savings-tracker-printables/
For help on budgeting including free printables, see this previous post.