Tag Archives: Stealth saving

Budgeting – Healthy Habits Part III – Debt elimination and the Mystery of tithing

4/20/2012 Portland, Oregon – Pop in your mints…

If you have missed the first two parts of this series, please take a moment to review them below:

Budgeting – Healthy Habits Part I – Expenses

Budgeting – Healthy Habits Part II – Income

Today, before we put budgeting to rest for a season, we would like to leave you with some additional healthy habits:

Additional Healthy Habits:

Avoid accumulating too much debt – Limit yourself to one or two credit cards with realistic credit limits to avoid the temptation to over spend.  Create a policy between you and your partner to discuss all unplanned purchases over a certain dollar amount before committing to it.  There is wisdom in counsel, and often running a purchase by someone else will help one make a rational rather than emotional decision.

Tips on Debt elimination – Check your budget to ensure that you have a surplus with which to pay back the debts (via depreciation line or an operating surplus), if not, make adjustments (belt tightening, if you will) until you do have a cash surplus.  Start with the lines where you have been most conservative and pare them back, then make cuts if necessary.

There is nothing wrong with delaying gratification.  In many ways, a purchase can be more satisfying if made with funds obtained via a multitude of tiny sacrifices.

Start paying back the smallest debts first.  Paying a debt off will help you build momentum and create habits in order to pay off bigger and bigger debts as you go along.

A great resource for this is Gary North’s “Deliverance for Debt” Debt reduction course.  It is free and you can subscribe via email.


Naturally, there is an infinite number of different tips and tricks for eliminating debt and saving money.  In this space, we will endeavor to share a few of our tried and true tricks, however, it is not enough.

We must then make a shameless appeal to our altruistic fellow taxpayers to share one or more of their favorite tips on The Mint’s Budgeting Forum.  Its easy, just sign in with your Twitter, Facebook, Google, Yahoo, or other nearly other commonly used internet user IDs and help your fellow man to help him or herself on their journey to budgeting nirvana.

Stealth Saving – Pay an extra $5 to $10 on utility bills each month.  After a few months, you will have a free month of utilities.

Open a separate savings account  –   Fund this account first every month and make it difficult to access (no online banking, checks, etc.).  Open it at a separate bank from the one that you normally bank at.  This will force you to think twice before using it.

Pay cash for items – There is something about cold hard cash that makes you think twice about spending and helps solidify the limit on how much you can spend.  Cash disappears, plastic doesn’t!

Keep the change – Pay cash for items and accumulate the change throughout the day.  At the end of the day, dump it in a 5 gallon water bottle.  When it is full, take the money to the bank and go on vacation.

80 – 10 – 10 plan – This is mentioned by many and the general idea is that you live on 80% of your income, save 10% and tithe (give to your local church) 10% of your income.  I will not elaborate on it here, other than to make mention of the reasoning for the tithe.

Why tithe?  Despite the numerous Biblical references, tithing is not one of the Ten Commandments.  So why do it, especially when you are in debt?

God designed tithing not to separate us from our money, rather, to teach us how to serve and experience blessing in the process.

Tithing, apart from helping keep the lights on at your local church, has the incredible habit forming benefit of forcing one to focus on their income.  God knows that you can spend all day in a defensive position, cutting costs and desperately clinging to maintaining what you have.  This is an expense based focus on money and it can have many benefits in the material world, but it is worthless in God’s Kingdom.

God wants you to have an income focus.  “What can I do to serve others that is most highly valued by them?” should be the question on your mind.  Remember, “The greatest amongst you shall be servant of all.”

Tithing forces you to focus on your income first, which naturally will force you to focus on serving others rather than maintaining and increasing your own possessions.  It may seem strange, but serving the greatest number of people has the unique benefit of increasing one’s blessing, both on earth and in heaven.

God has made his creation perfect, and the economic laws are eternal and He can be trusted.  “But seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all of these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33

Additional  Budgeting resources:

The BibleDaily study of God’s word will give wisdom in guidence in every area of your life, finances included.

Mint.com:  A free expense tracking software which accesses your online bank account information once you give it permission

Turbotax.com:  An online income tax calculation tool.  There is a charge to file your taxes with the software.  Tip:  To avoid the charge and get the benefits of a free tax adviser, use turbotax to calculate your taxes, then copy the information to a paper form and mail it in.  This is a great way to be aware of changes in the tax code without having to do hours of research.

Dailyreckoning.com:  A great resource for alternative investments.

APMEX.com:  An online precious metals dealer which sell gold and silver coins at reasonable prices.

deliverancefromdebt.com:  Gary North’s debt elimination course mentioned above, free of charge.

A budget, like staring at oneself in the mirror each morning, can be a scary thing.  After waking up, nearly everyone could use some degree of care to make oneself presentable.  Your budget is no different.

Rest assured that there is not anyone who looks in their financial mirror, the budget, and turns away completely satisfied.  We are all imperfect human beings, and a realistic budget tends to reflect our imperfect actions.  According to Mises, the source of all Human Action is to remove “felt uneasiness.”  Creating a budget, then may be a way to measure just how ill at ease we are.

{Editor’s Note:  If you have ever wondered why people do what they do and how the economy works, we encourage you to take the time to read “Human Action” by Von Mises}

Finally, take comfort in knowing that everyone lives on the margins.  The rich are always on the brink of either acquiring another sports car or losing a mansion, while the poor are always on the brink of much graver decisions involving the use of resources.  There is no one this side of heaven who does not feel need and want to some degree.

And it is good, for it is this felt uneasiness which causes us to serve one another.  This mechanism alone, if left unchecked by coercion and compulsion, would eradicate poverty as we know it.

The time has come to stop doubting and believe.

Stay tuned and Trust Jesus.

Stay Fresh!

David Mint

Email: davidminteconomics@gmail.com

Key Indicators for April 20, 2012

Copper Price per Lb: $3.73

Oil Price per Barrel:  $103.88

Corn Price per Bushel:  $6.12

10 Yr US Treasury Bond:  1.97%


Gold Price Per Ounce:  $1,642

MINT Perceived Target Rate*:  0.25% AWAY WE GO!

Unemployment Rate:  8.2%

Inflation Rate (CPI):  0.3%

Dow Jones Industrial Average: 13,029

M1 Monetary Base:  $2,211,300,000,000

M2 Monetary Base:  $9,968,200,000,000