Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Christ, Save me!

I've started to undertake a major overhaul of how I spend money, influenced in no small part by spending a wonderful week with Libby, who runs Whittled Down.

But also, secretly? It's started to make me think about Christian financial theory. That's right. You heard me.

Deut 28:12 - "that you will lend to many nations, but will borrow from none."

Aside from justifying a large portion of Christian society's anti-Semitism, this quote is also one basis of modern Christian finances.

Among the various websites covering such rousing and relevant topics as "Should You Take a Pay Cut for a Ministry Related Position?" (Answer: Yes. Unless it means you can't support your family.) and "Is Insurance Scriptural?" (Answer: Yes, because otherwise you might not be able to support your family.), there's a wealth of information on why going into debt is bad, how credit cards try to fool you into doing it, and how to get yourself out of it responsibly.

I've never been in debt. I pay off my credit card purchases as soon as they post online. My parents supported my college education. I read this book:

But also, I had a two-hour long conversation with a couple fundamentalists about why they only pay fully and in cash for anything they buy. There's no more secure way to become tethered to worldly things than to go into debt for them. Owe someone because they saved the life of your kid? Sure. Owe them because you want a new car? Not really.

...not unless it prevents you from providing for your family.

Since I have no family for whom I need to provide, I've taken a slightly different approach. I *finally* opened an ING Direct savings account, because a promised $25 bonus (which was promptly posted in my account) lured me in. I downloaded a massive spreadsheet to categorize all my spending. I'm waiting at least a week before buying ANYTHING. And I'm using Freecycle and Craigslist (the free section) as my new favorite window-shopping places.
I might even make bread tonight. I'll have to get make some red wine to go with it.

edit: It occurred to me that I really should include something about Reverend Billy and the Church of Stop Shopping, but I think that deserves a post unto itself. 

The spreadsheet I downloaded (which, ahem, I can use with openoffice. Libby is now obsessed with this spreadsheet. Be careful.)
ING Direct "electric orange" checking and "orange savings" -- to get the $25, you have to be a new customer, deposit at least $250,  use a referral code from someone who already has an account (hint hint. if those don't work, comment). 



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