Archives For Finances

Screen Shot 2013-12-03 at 10.31.45 PMIt’s been reported on Huffington Post (“shows outrageous Christian generosity”), ABC (“doing the Lord’s work”), Denver Post (“what would Jesus tip“) and literally dozens of other news reports and websites.

Christians and restaurant servers have gotten off on the wrong foot (to say the least). Ironically Christians are known for being poor tippers or worse, “tract” tippers (“here’s a tip: get saved, Jesus loves you.”), or worse yet, ideologically resistant tippers (“I’d tip you but I don’t agree with your lifestyle”).

But one person is on a mission to change all of that. Continue Reading…

UntitledDave Ramsey’s ministry was a God-sent for my wife and I a few years back when poor money management forced us to move in with my in-laws for three years. I’ve written about our story before and how Dave’s Financial Peace University literally changed our lives. It taught us to be faithful stewards with the money and jobs God provided. To honour God with the little things in life. To be wise with what we have. And in the process, it brought about greater peace and less stress in our home.

Yet being the armchair scholar that I am, I couldn’t help twitch at some of Ramsey’s biblical claims. Particularly when he starts talking about tithing – that Christians must tithe 10% each week because the Bible says so. News flash, it doesn’t.

But I had to put aside some of the nuances of Ramey’s claims and remember that he’s not a biblical scholar or theologian. He’s not operating or functioning in those roles, neither is he claiming to do so. Continue Reading…

Six Christmas Spending Tips

Derek Ouellette —  November 28, 2013

Break the BankIt’s that time of the year again. The time when I come face to face with a conflict of commercialism, my job and my conviction.

I work retail. My livelihood pretty much depends on your coming into my store and spending your money on our products and services during the Christmas season. Without the Christmas shopping season our economy would look very different. Retailers depend on “this” season to get most of us through “those” season. You know, the other times of the year.

But Christmas is also that time when people go into their deepest debt and spend the rest of the year trying to claw their way out before the next Christmas season. Every time someone pulls out a credit card to buy Christmas presents, my guts shrivel up and I feel remorseful for them. Yes I know that some people like to use their credit cards just to get points or to build credit, and some of them even manage to consistently pay them off each month. But the reality is that is not the case for most people. Most people buy on credit at Christmas because there is no way they can afford the season from their normal income.

And then there’s the fact that we are so ridiculously commercialized and wealthy in a sort of “I’m in debt up to my eyeballs, but check out my new XBOX ONE” kind of way, while children around the world go hungry and entire communities lack safe drinking water.

But I’m not the type of offer a polarized solution to our excessive activities. I think festivals and traditions are good and healthy for a community. I don’t think exchanging gifts, enjoying grand meals and celebrating with the extended family are, by default, bad things. I also don’t think that, on account that someone somewhere is hurting, we should all strip our lives of any pleasures at all times. But this is not the place to argue for what I just said. Instead I’m going to offer you a few tips for your Christmas spending. Continue Reading…

My family sat squarely on the poor side of the middle class. In some ways we had plenty. We always had baskets at Easter and a tree overflowing with presents at Christmas. But we spent time on welfare and mostly in geared-to-income housings, often without having a car to get us around. We were never put into sports like many of the other kids or sent away to camp in the summertime. Instead we would play baseball or hockey in the street with the kids in the projects or go to the free Parks & Rec. day camp in the summer that the city provided for low income communities. Continue Reading…