It’s that time of the year where people are starting to collect their tax forms and begin the process of filing their taxes. It’s an annoying process, at least in our household, and every year my husband and I end up having a long conversation about how we prioritize our money. Every year. It’s an opportunity for us to take a look at how much we make, how much we’ve spent, and how much (if any) we will get back on our tax return. Then what do we do with that money? Save it? Pay off debts? Where are we as a family in terms of meeting our financial goals.
Why tithe? It’s easy to simply reply with “because we are obligated to” which, while true, isn’t exactly a compelling argument. The Church and Fr. Kevin likely have their own great and compelling arguments for tithing. Mine is simply that having God in the budget is a reflection of my values. And it’s true, how you spend your money is a very telling way to see what you prioritize. If you spend money on gym memberships, personal trainers, going out to drink with friends, traveling, or home improvement projects how your prioritize those expenses says a lot about what you value.
Now, the Church says we are obligated to set aside 10% to tithing. In our household, that’s a hefty amount of money to give to the Church. We are on a really tight budget. Between student loan payments, mortgage payments, car payments with insurance, and grocery bills there isn’t a whole lot left over at the end of the month. We are living paycheck to paycheck and blessed to be able to cover those expenses.
So how much should we pay? Good question. The answer? Whatever you can offer. It’s as simple as that. Be reflective about what you can and cannot afford to tithe, but I would challenge you to make an effort to tithe regularly. Even if it is very little.
There are two great ways to tithe regularly:
Utilize the Weekly Envelopes. This is where my husband and I started when we were first married. If you are a registered parishioner at Our Lady of Grace, your family will receive a bundle of blue envelopes every 3-ish months. They are the collection envelopes. You know, the ones that you put in the basket during mass. We would lay them out and every week before Mass we would put in the envelope whatever spare cash we had to offer. Sometimes it was $5.00 and other times we had a $20. And honestly sometimes we didn’t have anything. It works as a strategy because you’re evaluating every week what you can offer. When you’re on a tight budget some weeks are better than others so you can adjust as necessary.
*Pro Tip: It’s great to use those envelopes rather than loose cash in the basket. Why? Every week someone counts the money collected over the weekend tallies it up. At the end of the year during tax season you will get a statement from OLG and find out just how much you offered throughout the year. Then you can write it off as a tax deduction. Woo! This is important for those of us on a tight budget. If you aren’t getting those envelopes, call the Parish Office to make sure you’re registered as a parishioner 952-929-3317
Set Up Automatic Payments. Most churches, including ours, have automatic payments that will come right out of your bank account on a regular basis. You can set that up on the Our Lady of Grace website right here. This is what my husband and I are doing now because sometimes we honestly forget to tithe. Having it come out of the bank every month like a bill is great and effortless. You can set up payments based on what your comfortable with. Even as little as $10 a month is more than nothing. Then after a year you can reevaluate your finances to determine if your family is able to contribute more or continue at the pace you’re working at.
Money is one of those things that we tend to not talk about because it is personal. But because it is so deeply personal I would encourage you to include God in the budget and make Him a player in your financial priorities.
Daughter of God, friend, wife, mother, and OLG Parishioner