Tithing And The Budget

Tithing and The Budget
by Barbara M. Barthelette

Budget is always a constant in the lives of one-income families. And even though we are offering up the ‘freedom’ of the outside workplace, God still sees fit to send us crosses particular to our station in life.

We used have a sock basket of some sort. You know, the place we put the socks that come through the wash minus the mate they were made for! Our cross was that we never matched them all up, we never got to the bottom of the sock basket and we  often found socks we didn’t remember ever inviting into our homes. The size of the cross depends on the size of your sock basket!

Cooking can be a cross when it is days before payday and you have to be creative, not only in what you make but what you tell the children it is so they will eat it! That is why lids were invented for pots so family can’t come in and get preconceived notions about dinner.

Coupons for grocery shopping and special sales stretch the budget but can be a cross for the family. “Why do the fish still have their heads on?” They were on sale because they were cross-eyed. The store had to leave them on to make sure the customer knew this before buying. “How come you didn’t buy potato chips?” Go back to the Irish potato famine. Claim a shortage of potatoes. Check your history book.

Paper towels are a necessity in the kitchen. I usually ended up with an empty roll and find ‘used’ paper towels all over the house. There were once thirty paper towels, precisely separated and laid out on the floor from back door to bedroom. “We were pretending the floor was a deep river and the paper towels are stepping stones!” A sudden yell for help from the bathroom proclaimed a flood which quickly told me what they tried to use the rest of the paper towels for! They had used up the bathroom tissue to reenact The Mummy.

I kept trying to come up with time-saving, money-saving ideas to run my home happily yet frugally. I considered giving each person a sock basket of their own but quickly realized I would then probably have six or more baskets full of socks. I mean, what are the chances they would have ever compared the contents of their respective sock collections?

I tried starting a rumor that potato chips were made from creamed zucchini, carrots and turnips but my gang figure that if it is fried, it can’t be all bad.

I tried assigning each their own roll of bathroom tissue. I thought I had a system figured out. I would keep written records and the stuff under lock and key. I would check out a roll to each person, initial and date the inside of the tube and make note of the distribution in my notebook. When they brought me their empty cardboard roll, I would check the first date, the date returned and give counseling on waste not, want not as needed. It didn’t get off the ground, My husband wouldn’t cooperate on this one. He said that if we weren’t a one-income family with mismatched socks and on a budget, he would take me on a long, long restful vacation.


A few years ago, a representative from the Christian Foundation for Children and Aging (Now called Unbound) came to our parish with folders and bios of 200 children overseas in need of a sponsor. Much to their surprise, between our two parishes, they were only able to find 100 families/people willing to make a commitment to these deserving children.

The way this works is that you can chose a child from any participating children and let them surprise   you with one on the waiting list. The cost is anywhere from $30 to $35 a month to help support the child, give aid to the family, and see that the child is able and prepared to attend the local schools in their country. The great part is that you get regular letters from the child in response to the letters you write to them. Not to worry! No language barriers as someone at their office provides the original letter along with a translation. You also get a picture which is updated annually.

My family has been participating in this program for over twelve years now. Our first child was Lydia who lived with her parents and four siblings in Kenya. We met her when she was eight and enjoyed learning about her dreams and her family for eight years. Unfortunately, she suddenly became ill and by the time they found transportation of the local hospital, she had died. I didn’t realize how much I had loved this little girl until I got that phone call from the organization.

I asked for another girl but the office mixed up the request and we sponsored a growing boy in Guatemala named Wilson. We have been in touch very regularly and know all about his schooling, his dreams, and his family. You have to remember that the monthly stipend goes very far in those countries and it helps grow the child and their family.

We decided to add another child to our overseas sponsorship and along came Melanie from Colombia, South America. We helped her and enjoyed her stories and news for only four years. Her family’s prospects improved and they moved away from the mission base.

Still wanting a girl, we were assigned Juana from Guatemala. She was around four years old when we began helping her but being chosen for the program is an extended family and friends event so whenever her mother couldn’t take the time to write, a neighbor or friend made sure we knew how Juana was doing.

To take Melanie’s place, we were provided with a young girl, also in Colombia, South America, named Maria. She is active in sports and loves school, especially art.

At this point, we had two boys and one girl and couldn’t resist and opted to take on helping one, more child and added Enock to our long-distance family. He is only six but his father writes long and frequent letters about how he goes and and is always proud to say that “Enock eats the books and drinks the knowledge’ at school. We share stories about our respective families have grown very close.

Well, my stories came about because Unbound currently has 2,155 young adults who need sponsors. The world, today, is such that if these young people don’t get help and an education, they will not have much hope for a better life for themselves or their families.

Yes, $30 is seemingly a lot but when you consider this amount in another country can help clothe, feed, and school a child besides helping the family in other ways, it is a small sacrifice for us with a huge impact on the children.

Interested in making a change in the world? You can contact Unbound at 800-875-6564 or go online at unbound.org/students. It’s a great way to make a friend and prayer partner for life.