Sticking With It – Single Style!

Through our one-on-one financial counseling here at NewSpring Church, we are able to help a lot of people through life-changing financial decisions.  I recently received an e-mail from a lady I met with over fourteen months ago who suggested that I share on the topic of "how singles can manage money well."  I suggested that she write the blog post, and she did.  Today, with her permission, I present it to you.

 

Sticking With It

I have been a fan of Joe’s for the past year because he has completely changed my life. Joe has me "marching to debt freedom." But, before I tell you more about my journey to debt freedom you should know a little bit about me. I am 26 years old, a nurse, and I owe more than $23,000 in debt. I am definitely not an expert – I’m still learning each day – but over the past year, I have stuck with budgeting and have seen the rewards.

 

As a twenty-something single, I know that there are unique challenges that people my age face. I wrote an email to Joe and told him that he should blog about some singles who working to be debt free. And here I am, writing about my experience. I am writing this for all of the single people out there who are struggling with debt. I really hope that my story inspires and helps motivate some of you!

 

To brag a little, I have to share some of my big accomplishments this year. I have paid off $9,000 towards my student loans, and, as of October 31st they will be completely paid off. Bye bye federal government! Looking back, it is so hard to believe that I was content with my original 10 year minimum payment plan. Right now, I can’t wait to delete that line from my budget!! My goal is to be debt free by November 2009!!

 

Budgeting was hard at first, but I stuck with it, and each month got easier and easier. I was able to predict and save for future expenses including car repairs, Christmas gifts, car taxes, vacations, and medical expenses. I often think back to how I spent the first 3 years of my nursing pay eating out and wasting money. I regret those decisions, but I’ve learned from them. No longer do I waste money!! I want to be financially free from the bondage of debt and I’m working hard to make it happen!

 

One of the toughest parts of budgeting and being single is not having anyone to hold me accountable. I do not have a spouse, but I have found others who are using their money wisely. I seek these people out before making financial decisions. I have read many books and prayed about money decisions.

 

Tithing was also a struggle for me, and I didn’t begin to tithe until I joined Newspring and realized that I needed to give back to God what already belongs to him. I grew up in a single-mom household where money was tight and learning to tithe was the hardest thing I did in my Christian walk. But, God has been faithful to me and honored that decision. Of course, giant checks have not appeared in my mailbox but I have been taken care of in small ways. For example, during this paycheck my cell phone bill was -0.63 due to Suncom switching to T-mobile,and I ended up with extra money in my pocket! God is good.

When Perry recently spoke on stewardship, God spoke to me. I had to pass up the opportunity to go on an awesome trip, but I know God will honor that. Being single there are so many great social opportunities and activities that are so hard to turn down. I have to be selective so I can be a good manager of what God has given me. As it says in Matthew 25:14-30 I want to be told “well done my good and faithful servant you have been faithful over little I will set you over much.”

I hope this helps someone out there and spurs them on toward financial freedom!

Sangl says …

For all of you singles out there, what would you add? 

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4 Responses to “Sticking With It – Single Style!”

  1. Elaine Suttles October 22, 2008 at 5:07 am #

    Thanks for your inspiration. I too am single but much older than you. I recently had a one-on-one counseling session and I am just getting started with my debt pay off. It is hard getting started. But the determination is their and I know I am making God very happy that I have finally “got it.” I wish I would have started long before now. I am looking at three years before my debt is paid off. I will succeed. That I know because God and people like you are behind me! God Bless you and all of us who are digging our way out of our debt. A lot of little things are trying to set me back, like a car wreck, health issues but I will not give up. I trust and have faith that God will work it all out!

  2. TurtleLover October 22, 2008 at 12:18 pm #

    Thanks for sharing with us!

  3. Russell Earl Kelly, PHD October 22, 2008 at 3:52 pm #

    Friend, May I offer an alternative interpretation of Malachi for your study.

    From: Tithing is not a Christian Doctrine
    http://www.shouldthechurchteachtithing.com
    Russell Earl Kelly, PHD

    Malachi 3 is the Most Abused Tithing Text in the Bible. The “whole” tithe never was supposed to go to the Temple!

    A. Malachi is Old Covenant and is never quoted in the New Covenant to validate tithing (Lev. 27:34; Neh. 10:28-29; Mal. 3:7; 4:4).

    B. In Malachi 3:10-11 tithes are still only food 1000 years after Leviticus 27:30-34 and Numbers 18:21-28.

    C. Malachi’s audience had willingly reaffirmed the Old Covenant (Neh.10:28-29). The blessings and curses of tithing are identical to and inseparable from those of the entire Mosaic Law. The rain in Deuteronomy 28:12, 23-24 and Leviticus 26:1-4 is only obtained by obedience to all 613 commandments. Galatians 3:10 (quoting Deu 27:26) “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continues not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.” Trying to earn God’s blessings through tithing only brings curses for failure to keep all of the law. See also Galatians 3:19.

    D. Beginning in 1:6 “you” in Malachi always refers to the dishonest priests and not the people (also 2:1-10; 2:13 to 3:1-5): “Even this whole nation of you –priests” (3:9). In 1:13-14 the priests had stolen tithed animals vowed to God. In Nehemiah 13:5-10 priests had stolen the Levites’ portion of the tithe. God’s curses on the priests are ignored by most tithe-teachers (1:14; 2:2 and 3:2-4).

    E. Point #12 of the essay. The Levitical cities must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3:10. Most tithe-recipients lived outside of Jerusalem.

    F. The 24 courses of Levites and priests must be included in a correct interpretation of Malachi 3. Normally only 2% of the total Levite and priest work force served at the temple one week at a time. Subtract wives, males under the age of 30 and daughters. Therefore 2% did not require all of the tithe. See 1 Chron 23-26; 28:13, 21; 2 Chron. 8:14; 23:8; 31:2, 15-19; 35:4, 5, 10; Ezra 6:18; Neh. 11:19, 30; 12:24; 13:9, 10; Luke 1:5.

    G. Nehemiah 10:37-39 is the key to understanding Malachi 3:10, The people were commanded to bring their tithes, not to the temple, but to the nearby Levitical cities. Verse 38 says that the priests were with the Levites in the Levitical cities when they received the tithes.

    H. According to Nehemiah 13:5, 9 the “storehouse” in the Temple was only several rooms. The real “storehouses” were in the Levitical cites per Nehemiah 10:37b-38. Only the Levites and priests normally brought tithes to the Temple (10:38). Two rooms in the Temple were far too small to contain the tithe from the entire nation and 98% of the Levites and priests lived too far away to eat from them.

    Therefore, Malachi 3:10’s “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse” only makes contextual sense if it is only commanding dishonest priests to replace the tithes they had removed from it or had failed to bring to it.

    While the 3:10 of the Law in Malachi is so important to tithe-teachers they ignore the 3:10 of the Gospel in Galatians and 2nd Corinthians. Perhaps those wanting to enforce the 3:10 Law of Malachi should also enforce the 3:10 Law of Numbers. They share the same context.

    Christian giving is freewill, sacrificial, generous, joyful, regular and motivated by love. That is enough to provide the needs of the Church.

  4. Whitney October 23, 2008 at 8:11 am #

    I too am a single woman getting out of debt and I have tested the Lord with my finances. Let me tell you – He has BLESSED me beyond words! I am so thankful for you, Joe and your crusade to see people freed from the bondage of debt. Thanks for sharing this post with us. :)

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