I was a full time homemaker for approx seven years and we were caring for an ill parent – we have a home equity loan up to about 90K, no other mortgage, and cc debt of about 35K. I returned to work about a year ago, but nothing seems to be changing! Total monthly income is about $5000 and expenses about $5000! We tithe about 800/month and childcare/after school is approx 460.
Should we try for a cc consolidation? We’re not really using them now -this is old debt from before I went back to work – except if something major comes up… I feel like we need help getting on track-we thought the home equity loan would help, but that just made things worse- we used the money to fix up the house (1964) and buy a used minivan and pay off other cc debt. We are both college educated, but I’m starting to feel money stupid.
Obviously you are tithing because you feel a spiritual need to do so. It is not my place to tell you not to do that. Consider if there are other ways you can help support your church without just handing them money. Can you tithe by actions or deeds to help reduce the financial burden? I’ve watched others do that successfully. For example, one past client was so wracked with guilt that he could not afford to tithe that he stopped going to church. I asked him to talk to his church to see what he could do instead and they said they would be happy to accept his mowing the grass instead of tithing cash.
The issue here is that while you’ve returned to work and your income went up, so did your expenses and probably your tithing as well. So in essence not much changed.
This cycle of just being able to make ends meet is more likely to leave you exposed for taking on more debt and digging a deeper hole. Treading water financially just means that when the next unexpected surprise happens or you just need a family treat, it will add to your balances due.
Your experience with the home equity loan is typical. It seems to be a pattern of borrowing, consolidating, and running debt back up that sinks most people.
Ultimately only you can find that right answer that makes the most sense for you. But I ask that you consider these points.
- Your children only get one childhood and do you want to be one of living on the financial edge?
- Does your God want you to tithe first or be a good steward of your money first?
- Is bankruptcy against your beliefs even though it is biblically rooted (Read “Is Bankruptcy Scriptural” in this post.) and leaves you safer moving forward?
I think the right decision will come down to a balance between what you believe spiritually and what is safer for your family moving forward. That solution probably involves bankruptcy to discharge the credit card debt, allow you to keep tithing and start to save to protect yourself from living on the edge.
Please update me on your progress by posting updates here in the comments section of your question. I’m very interested in how this works out for you.