Last month, I posted an update about how my wife and I are raising a cow for beef. This is a summary of our activity and costs for month 12. Bambi just turned one year old on Saturday. Happy birthday, Bambi! As always, let’s first check Bambi’s growth. Here he is at eleven months old:

Bambi - 11 Months Old

       And here he is at twelve months old:

Bambi - 12 Months Old

       I’m not really sure how much Bambi weighs right now, and I probably won’t know again until he goes to the butcher. Now that he’s living with other cows and has little interaction with humans it would probably be difficult to check him with a weight tape. But I can definitely see an improvement between these two pictures. He’s a bit stockier and more filled out.

Costs & Time

       Thanks to moving Bambi to our friends’ pasture, I haven’t spent any time on raising him this past month. I will be paying our friends some amount per month, but they haven’t let me know what it will be yet. I’m thinking it should be somewhere between $20-40/month. I was spending about $40-60/month to feed Bambi, but it won’t cost our friends that much since they have a large pasture. He’s still being fed some grain, but he gets most of his fill from the pasture. So I don’t really have anything to report in terms of time or money spent this past month. But here are our total costs so far for your reference:

  • Cost of Bambi – Free!
  • Castration & Dehorning – $16.00
  • Milk Replacer – $45.54
  • Miscellaneous – $46.87
  • Feed – $362.77
  • Hay – $88.00
  • Straw – $20.00
  • Medicine – $5.00
  • Total Spent – $584.18
  • Time – 102 hours

       If you want a more accurate estimate after a year, let’s figure on about $620 so far.

       Moving Bambi to our friends’ farm was probably the best decision I’ve made. It’s nice not having to move him around our yard, feed him every day, and refill his water buckets several times a day. We couldn’t have simply paid our friends to keep him from the beginning because bottle feeding requires a good bit of time.

       But it would have been better for us to raise him on the bottle, get him used to eating grain and grass, and then send him back to our friends. Then, we could have paid them a set amount to cover his boarding costs. This would have saved us some money (maybe about $160?) and a ton of time (probably well over 60 hours). The nice thing is that it doesn’t take any extra time for our friends to feed Bambi since they already have other cows to care for.

       We’ve found another friend from church who can send Bambi up to be butchered when he sends his cow in November. All that’s left now is to get it scheduled with the butcher and decide how we’d like things cut, packed, and processed (jerky, sweet bologna, etc.). I’ll be learning about that process in the next month or so because we need to get it scheduled soon.

       Make sure you sign up for free updates to Provident Planning if you don’t want to miss out on the final steps in the process of raising a cow for beef!

The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook
       Welcome to the Carnival of Personal Finance #271 – The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Edition! My friend Craig Ford at Money Help for Christians is launching a new eBook today. It’s designed to help you discover the secrets to successful budgeting.

       I think it’s a great resource for anyone who’s ever struggled with budgeting, so I’ve included some quotes from his eBook throughout this carnival. You can get the book for 30% off if you buy before midnight (EDT) August 31st, 2010. Be sure to read through to the end of this carnival because I’ll be giving away two FREE copies to two lucky winners!

Editor’s Choice

       Here are my top picks from the submissions this week:

  • Mike Piper from Oblivious Investor presents Dealing with Investment Confusion, and says, “What’s the best approach to dealing with the confusion that comes from being a new investor?” – [Mike shares some good advice for people who are confused about investing. It won’t immediately cure your confusion, but applying this strategy over and over will help you make informed decisions you can stick to.]
  • Briana Ford from Go Banking Rates presents Why Americans Can’t Afford to Die [Infographic], and says, “If you never thought about this problem before, take a look at how expensive funerals really are. You may discover you, like many Americans, simply can’t afford to die.” – [What can I say? I’m a sucker for infographics.]
  • Len from Len Penzo dot Com presents A Simple Trick to Get Your Credit Card Interest Charges Waived. – [I wish more people realized the power of Len’s simple trick!]
  • Lauren from Richly Reasonable presents 4 Bad Deals, and says, “The term “Bad Deal” is relative. Not only is Necessity the mother of Invention, she is also the mother of many a Bad Deal. Necessity has a TON of children.” – [Funny, smart, and witty – and likely to open a few eyes at least!]
  • Jacob A. Irwin from My Personal Finance Journey presents Adjusting My Monthly Budget to Account for Home Ownership, and says, “A look at the steps I have recently taken to adjust my personal budget to account for the various elements of home ownership.” – [At our current rent rate owning a home just doesn’t make sense. Just look at all the costs involved!]

       Congratulations to the editor’s choice picks! Here are the rest of the articles from this week’s submissions.

Money Management

  • MD from Studenomics presents Quick College Students Guide To Personal Finance.
  • Jason from One Money Design presents How Do You Live Well on Less Pay?, and says, “There are plenty of people that don’t make a lot of money and have trouble covering basic expenses each month. There are 5 essential tips to follow to live well on less pay.”
  • Revanche from A Gai Shan Life presents Shopping for the single life .
  • ispf from Grad Money Matters presents The American Dream of Home Ownership: 10 Things You Can Do as a Student.
  • Jim from Wanderlust Journey presents Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines Shareholder Benefits.
  • Jason from Live Real, Now presents Check Your Bills, and says, “Can you automate your finances too far?”
  • Elle from Couple Money presents Financial Tips for College Success, and says, “Many college students are surprised to see how easy it is to build a financial foundation for themselves. Learn how to set up bank accounts, pay your bills, and start a graduation fund.”
  • DE(a)BTh from Murder Your Debt presents Your Wasted Life, and says, “You thought financing a house and a fast car meant freedom. That an expensive education would lead you to a rewarding career where you could earn lots of money. You were wrong, weren’t you? You hate your career but you’re stuck. You’re stuck because you swallowed the lies you were sold. The lies that material possessions bring success. The lies that more money means more happiness. And now what? You’ve got it all; the cars, the house with the huge yard, the sexy outfits and shiny shoes. But you’re STILL not happy!”
  • vh from Funny about Money presents Social Security’s Bizarre Rules, and says, “Social Security’s restrictive rules make it impossible to get out of poverty when unemployment forces one into early retirement and stock-market losses militate against retirement fund drawdowns.”
  • J. Money from Budgets Are Sexy presents What would you do with an extra $1,000?, and says, “Montel Williams wants to know ;)”
  • Bob from Christian Finances presents How to spend unexpected income: 3 questions to ask, and says, “It can be tough to know what to do when you receive a large sum of cash – this article will give you some questions to help you figure out what to do with it…”
  • Mr. GoTo from Go To Retirement presents How Much Long Term Care Insurance Should You Have?, and says, “Insuring against a long term care event is part of personal risk management. Estimating the amount of long term care coverage to obtain requires careful consideration of several factors.”

If you are working 40 or more hours a week to earn your money, don’t you think it is worth an hour or two to set up a budget?

Isn’t it worth spending about an hour every week to manage the money you work so hard to earn? It is always better to manage what you have than to work yourself crazy trying to get more money.

– from page 21 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford



  • Dividend Growth Investor from Dividend Growth Investor presents 33 Dividend Champions to Consider, and says, “Dividend investor David Fish has created a list of dividend stocks which have raised distributions for 25 consecutive years and has named it the dividend champions list. His list includes 100 companies, which is more than twice the size of the Dividend Aristocrats. I ran a screen on the list in order to identify stocks for further research.”
  • Mike from The Financial Blogger presents Use the Loonie’s Strength to Invest in the Eagle Market, and says, “Canadian dollar is strong compared to the US dollar at this time. Use this as an opportunity to invest in US stocks.”
  • Div Guy from The Dividend Guy Blog presents Dividend Investing with Less Than $1,000 Part 3: How to Pick Your ETFs and/or Dividend Funds, and says, “Starting to invest is quite motivating but as a young investor, you must put greed and hype aside and start by looking for sound investments.”
  • Squirrelers presents Small Stocks = High Return and High Volatility, and says, “Small stocks, particularly those in the lowest deciles, have performed very well over the long-term. They can be an important part of your asset allocation, provided you can stomach the associated risks.”
  • D4L from Dividends Value presents My Top 6 Performing Dividend Stocks Just Might Surprise You, and says, “As I have stated many times, my goal is to create an ever growing income stream from dividend stocks. Secondarily, it is my desire to beat the S&P 500 over time. With that said, I rarely look at the capital performance of individual stocks. However, I recently sorted my portfolio by Total Gain % (total gain/basis) and was mildly surprised at the top performers.”
  • ElizabethG (Modern Gal) from Modern Gal presents Investing for Inflation in 2010.
  • DSO from High Dividend Stocks presents Big GE and it’s big dividend, and says, “One of America’s oldest and most prestigious companies has become an accidental high yielder.”

Budgeting in and of itself is useless.

Budgeting is part of a larger financial plan.

– from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford




You need to focus your finances on accomplishing one major task at a time.

If you don’t, the danger is that every dollar will be diluted to a point that it makes little impact helping you reach your goals.

– from page 9 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford



The goal of the budget is to help you spend less than you earn.

Therefore, this becomes the single criteria for an effective budget – does it help you spend less than you earn?

– from page 12 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


  • PT from PT Money presents Free Prepaid Credit Cards, and says, “A thorough, original review of the best free prepaid credit cards, including those that are free of activation and monthly fees. These cards are great for those who need to avoid debt, or those that can’t get a traditional bank account.”
  • Silicon Valley Blogger from The Digerati Life presents Citi Dividend Platinum Select MasterCard Review, and says, “Here’s a review of a credit card I actually like.”

Real Estate

  • FMF from Free Money Finance presents How to Hire a Home Inspector, and says, “When you buy a home, you need to be sure you hire a good home inspector to identify any potential problems. This post gives tips on how to do this.”
  • Jeff Rose from Good Financial Cents presents Should You Upgrade to a Larger Home”, and says, ”
    In many markets, home owners are looking at homes in the next price range up as good buys, since foreclosures and a slow market are resulting in good deals. But, as tempting as it is to upgrade to a larger home, is it really a good idea? Here are some things to consider before upgrading to a larger home.”
  • Rob from Two Wise Acres presents 3 Things to Avoid When Buying a Home, and says, “When buying a home, it’s critical that you avoid these three credit mistakes.”
  • ctreit from Money Obedience presents Do renters really save money in the end?.


  • pkamp3 from Don’t Quit Your Day Job… presents Tax Incidence, and says, “Who really pays for a tax when it is enacted? If the government enacts a new tax on washing machines, is the entire tax on Maytag? The consumer? Cameron Daniels breaks down the details.”

A budget lets your spouse see your values and priorities in a tangible way.

A budget forces you to communicate not just about your life goals, but also about your daily financial preferences.

– from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


  • Kristina from Dinks Finance presents A DINK in The Office, and says, “As a married or unmarried employee with no children, are you treated differently than your colleagues with kids?”
  • Nicole from Nicole and Maggie: Grumpy Rumblings presents Why did you go to graduate school?, and says, “Nicole and Maggie discuss reasons for graduate school and how sometimes we’re directed into a career for the right reasons and sometimes we fall into it for the wrong reasons. But it turns out OK anyway (or maybe it doesn’t, but you can always change your mind).”


  • Bret from Hope to Prosper presents Trillion Dollar Public Pension Shortfall, and says, “An article in the New York Times stated that there is a $1 Trillion dollar public pension shortfall. Despite repeated denials from PERS and public employee unions, public pensions are in big trouble.”
  • JLP from presents Democrats, Republicans, and the Federal Debt Since 1979, and says, “Though the title may suggest it, this is not a “political” post.”

Budgeting is a process, not an event.

You won’t wake up tomorrow with an effective budget. Instead, you will start with a decent budget that later becomes a good budget. Eventually, it is a great budget.

– from page 16 of The Secret to a Successful Budget by Craig Ford


The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook Giveaway!

       As promised, I’m giving away two free copies of The Secret to a Successful Budget courtesy of Craig. To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment on this post telling me how budgeting has helped you OR your biggest struggle with budgeting. I’ll use to select two winners tomorrow evening (August 24, 2010) at 5:00 PM EDT so be sure to enter by then!!! I’ll update this post to announce the winners, but use a valid email address when you comment so I can reach you if you win. Good luck!

[Update: Laura has won a free copy of The Secret to a Successful Budget! Congratulations!!!]

The Secret to a Successful Budget eBook

       In the last part of this series, we finished looking at God’s View of the World, Money, and our lives so we can start to focus on serving Him instead of serving Money. Today we’re going to start talking about practical applications. How should we act and what should we do when we take on God’s View and live out His will?

       The scripture today comes from Luke 6:20-38, and we’ll be looking at it in three parts. The first part we’ll look at is Luke 6:20-26:

The Beatitudes

   20 He lifted up his eyes to his disciples, and said,
   “Blessed are you who are poor,
   for yours is the Kingdom of God.

   21 Blessed are you who hunger now,
   for you will be filled.
   Blessed are you who weep now,
   for you will laugh.

   22 Blessed are you when men shall hate you, and when they shall exclude and mock you, and throw out your name as evil, for the Son of Man’s sake. 23 Rejoice in that day, and leap for joy, for behold, your reward is great in heaven, for their fathers did the same thing to the prophets.

   24 But woe to you who are rich!
   For you have received your consolation.

   25 Woe to you, you who are full now,
   for you will be hungry.
   Woe to you who laugh now,
   for you will mourn and weep.

   26 Woe, when men speak well of you,
   for their fathers did the same thing to the false prophets.”

Luke 6:20-26 (WEB)

       God doesn’t want us worried about our situation in this life. Even if we’re poor, hungry, and hated by men, we have an eternal reward in Heaven. Once we start keeping that in the front of our minds, we can see that we really are blessed, apart from our outward condition, and we are to be envied among men. Wealth and happiness in this life are only temporary rewards. If we focus on having those things in this life instead of being true to God, then we’ll have already received our reward.

       So what’s the practical application here? Stop worrying about your wealth, pantry, and reputation as men view those things, and instead focus on being rich in good works, full of God’s Word, and true to God’s will.

       The next part we’ll look at is from Luke 6:27-36:

Love for Enemies

       27 “But I tell you who hear: love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, and pray for those who mistreat you. 29 To him who strikes you on the cheek, offer also the other; and from him who takes away your cloak, don’t withhold your coat also. 30 Give to everyone who asks you, and don’t ask him who takes away your goods to give them back again.

31 As you would like people to do to you, do exactly so to them. 32 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them. 33 If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 If you lend to those from whom you hope to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, to receive back as much. 35 But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing back; and your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High; for he is kind toward the unthankful and evil. 36 Therefore be merciful, even as your Father is also merciful.”

Luke 6:27-36 (WEB)

       While this section has very little to do with personal finance (apart from giving), it does show us just how different our lives will be if we take on God’s View of the World, Money, and our lives. Jesus is telling us here that instead of being focused on wealth and plenty in this life we should live out these few instructions. I think Jesus is showing us that contentment acted out in life ends up focused more on doing good and showing love than earning money and gaining wealth. I’ll let you contemplate how this applies to your own life, but it’s a good example of what actions and thoughts should replace our desire and efforts for wealth.

       Finally, we’ll look at Luke 6:37-38:

Judging Others

       37 “Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. Set free, and you will be set free. 38 Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over, will be given to you. For with the same measure you measure it will be measured back to you.”

Luke 6:37-38 (WEB)

       Jesus tells us we’ll be greatly rewarded if we follow His teaching. Many take this to mean material rewards (a.k.a. the Prosperity Gospel), but I’m fairly certain Jesus is speaking in terms of spiritual and eternal rewards. If we are truly content and focused on God’s ways, are we going to care about being greatly rewarded in this life? Not at all—we’ll realize we already have a great reward in Heaven with Jesus. But think of the great reward we could have in this life if everyone took Jesus’ teaching to heart and lived it out. Can you imagine the peace, calm, and happiness we would all have if this happened? Now that would be a great blessing indeed!

Want to read the entire Bible study series on Contentment? Download your free copy of Contentment Is Wealth: A Bible Study on Contentment now!

Bible with Cross Shadow by knowhimonline on Flickr       Today’s Personal Finance Bible Scripture comes from Ecclesiastes 5:10-11. Solomon has a lot of great advice for us in Ecclesiastes. His simple observations go right to the heart of the matter and still ring very true today.

       10 Whoever loves money never has money enough; whoever loves wealth is never satisfied with his income. This too is meaningless. 11 As goods increase, so do those who consume them. And what benefit are they to the owner except to feast his eyes on them?

Ecclesiastes 5:10-11 (NIV)

       Solomon wisely observes that the greedy can never have enough. But what is the point of greed? What good does it do us to have more and more? The second verse gives us Solomon’s insight into the folly of greed. Having and eating lots of food only makes you fat. And what good does it do to have all kinds of possessions? Do you want to be wealthy just so you can sit around and look at your stuff all the time?

       How often do we think to ourselves “If I only had some more money in the bank…” or “If I could just get a raise and make more money…”? Solomon is cautioning us against the love of money. More money and more possessions aren’t really going to give us meaning in life. Only when we accept Jesus and give up our lives to Him can we experience any true and lasting meaning in this life. All the things The World can offer us are truly meaningless – they won’t matter at all once we’re dead!

I Am More Than My Income

August 17, 2010 — 7 Comments

       A couple weeks ago, I wrote an article as a follow up to the post I did on creating a balance sheet and calculating your net worth. It was called “You Are More Than Your Net Worth“. In the article, I said this:

       There is danger in obsessing over your net worth – in defining your success based on a number. It is wise for you to prudently manage your finances, and tracking your net worth is part of that process. But you must always be aware that your value comes not from what you own but from who you are in Christ. It is in being a child of God that Christians find their true worth.

       I went on to quote a few Bible verses and back up my point quite well (if I do say so myself).

       But I have to admit something to you.

       Apparently, I still don’t get it.

       That’s right. I sat here behind the computer writing about how you shouldn’t base your value on your net worth. But last week, I found myself rating my value based on how much income I’m earning (or not earning, in this case). Let’s back up a bit and get the story.

Laid Off

       In late 2008, I was laid off from my job at a financial planning firm. (Stock Market Decline + % of Assets under Management Compensation Business Model + Recent Expansions + Less than One Year at the Firm = Bye, Bye Paul!) This happened about six months before I married Michelle. Since then, I’ve been working to start my own business, but it’s been a slow start. I’ll be profitable this year, and that’s saying something. But I’ve taken a huge drop in my income for now.

       I could have possibly found another job working at another financial planning firm. But the problem was that I was tired of conflicts of interest and I was tired of catering only to the very rich. After a lot of prayer and discussion with Michelle, we both agreed I should start my own firm and do it in a way that meshes with my ethics.

       Fast forward to today, and I’m working on growing my business and pursuing other ways to earn a living in the meantime. Thankfully, Michelle makes enough working as a nurse that we’re still able to meet our living expenses. God is caring for us during this time. But recently I’ve found myself depressed and judging my own value based on the lack of income I’m bringing in for our family. (It’s just us two right now, but we’d like to have kids someday.)

Who’s Really Running the Show?

       Maybe it’s a guy thing – I want to feel like I’m providing for my wife. But that’s just stupid really. Nothing I have or ever will have has come only from my hands. God has created everything, and everything I have or will have comes from Him. When I give, I’m not giving my money – I’m giving the money God has entrusted to me. When I provide for my family, I’m not providing my money from my hard work – though work is required. If I’m honest with myself, it always has been and always will be God who does the providing.

       When I start judging myself based on my income, I’m taking God out of the equation. My value doesn’t come from what I own and it doesn’t come from what I earn. None of that matters in eternity. My true worth is in being a child of God – and that is infinitely valuable. I was bought for a price that can never be repaid. In God’s eyes, I’m extremely valuable. And He is of the greatest worth to me.

The Currency of Love

       The funny thing is that Michelle has never valued me based on my income (or lack of it). And God hasn’t either. It is in my ability and willingness to love that I find my true value as a Christian and as a husband. And my ability to love suffers as I obsess over my value as a source of income.

       That obsession (and resulting depression) puts me in the service of Mammon and makes me into a workaholic. I work when I should be spending time with God or my wife. I think about work when I should be thinking about other things. This is not healthy for my walk with Christ or my walk with Michelle.

       I’m trying to take my own advice and see my value in the currency of love and not money. It’s not easy. And I’m not so sure it’s something that would be solved if I just earn more money. The root of the problem is not really how much money I’m making (or not making). The root of the problem is me – my perceptions of who I am and what my responsibilities are to God and to my wife.

       I am not dismissing my responsibility to work and provide for my family. But I am dismissing Satan’s lie that I am only as valuable as the money I bring in the door. I will continue to work hard and look for ways to earn more money. But I will pray for God to open my eyes to see my true worth and to have wisdom enough to restrain myself in the pursuit of money. Please pray for me as I continue to pray for all of you.

Your Thoughts

       Have you ever struggled with feelings like this? How did you handle it? How did God show you the truth? Please help me out and share your thoughts in the comments below.

       This guest post was provided by Ashley from

       There are few things worse than knowing you owe the government a huge chunk of money and one of those things is knowing you do not have the money to pay what you owe. No one wants to be indebted to Uncle Sam because the IRS is a powerful collection agency and typically supersedes other creditors. When the tax bill comes due and you can’t afford it, you can be fined or penalized, have your assets frozen, find a lien placed on your property, or potentially have your property levied. Levies may come in the form of the IRS taking money out of your bank or taking money out of your paycheck (IRS wage garnishment).

       So what do you do? The IRS is reasonable in understanding that not all taxpayers are capable of settling their debts in one lump sum but still want to do the right thing. There are resolutions that the IRS offers to help consumers catch a break and settle their debts in full.

How to Get Help with a Back Tax Bill

       The first thing any taxpayer should do is realize where their current financial situation stands. They need to be clear about the reality of their finances so they will be able to better negotiate the process of getting help. The IRS has several programs that assist people who do not have the immediate resources to pay off their tax debts. If you are in a great financial place, you shouldn’t have too much trouble paying the debt in full.

       If you have a decent financial situation where you can’t pay the taxes in full but do have reliable income and some cash left over after paying living expenses, you should be able to set aside cash from each check to make payments on your tax balance. Options for people who are doing OK financially include:

1. IRS Installment Agreements

       A common method to help consumers pay their taxes is the installment agreement. The IRS will allow reasonable payments to be made on a monthly basis until the balance is paid in full. If you do not owe more than $25,000, you have a good chance of being approved for an installment agreement without much paperwork provided you can satisfy the debt within a 3-5 year time period.

2. Partial Payment Installment Agreement

       For those who can afford some payments but who are unable to qualify for a normal installment agreement, a Partial Payment Installment Agreement may be set up. The taxpayer will be able to make monthly payments towards their tax bill, but with a PPIA part of your debt will exceed the statute of limitations on debt collection. In essence, you end up paying less than you owed. You must provide financial documents to prove your financial status and get the IRS to agree to approving this option.

3. Take a Loan

       If you feel you would be successful approaching family or friends for a loan on the amount you owe, it may be an option to avoid fees and IRS paperwork to borrow the cash you need and satisfy the debt in full. Only exercise this option if you are comfortable dealing with family and money and be sure to pay back the loan amount within a reasonable period of time.

       If you have poor finances, meaning you can not pay the taxes you owe and there is nothing left after basic needs have met, you may find the IRS can offer a resolution to paying owed taxes.

4. Offer in Compromise

       This option will allow a taxpayer to settle the tax amount due for a sum less than is owed. Many taxpayers hope to get approved for this option but few will because the IRS ensures only those who really need the assistance get accepted for an Offer in Compromise. If the IRS is assured they will never be able to collect the amount owed, they will likely approved the offer from the taxpayer.

5. Currently Not Collectible Status

       In a situation where the IRS is sure that collection of a tax debt would be unfair due to payments resulting in the loss of basic necessities, they will declare a taxpayer’s debt to be currently not collectible. The IRS will not release the debt but will essentially offer a forgiveness for a period of time usually up to 18 months. They will check in for updates on financial status until they deem the amount collectible. The good thing is normally the statute of limitations on your debt (time the IRS has to collect) continues to tick. However, penalties and interest can still accrue.

6. Bankruptcy

       Bankruptcy should be a last resort to resolve debt issues but it is a serious matter and should not be used just because you can’t afford to pay taxes. Bankruptcy will negatively affect credit for ten years to come, and it may be in a taxpayer’s best interest to seek the assistance of the IRS for better options on settling a back tax debt. Additionally, bankruptcy is never a guarantee. In the end, a taxpayer may not even be approved for a tax debt dismissal.

       Whatever method works for both the taxpayer and the IRS should be considered and action needs to be taken to resolve the matter of an outstanding debt. Avoiding the situation will only make the debt larger and the legal consequences more severe.

       This guest post was provided by Ashley from If you are looking for more self-help details on IRS tax debt payment plans, or if you are looking for ways to resolve IRS tax levies like IRS Wage Garnishment, visit their site today.

       On Monday, I wrote about the three methods of making money. Tuesday, I talked about three reasons why Christians should not think about earning more money. And today, we’re continuing the discussion by looking at two reasons why Christians should think about earning more money.

       While I had three reasons why we shouldn’t think about making more money, I’ve only thought of two reasons why we should be thinking about how we can earn more. The lack of a third reason does not mean much though. I think these are two powerful reasons why Christians should be looking for ways to make more money.

1. You Want to Meet Your Needs and Your Family’s Needs

       As I wrote in my Bible study on work, God uses the results of diligent work to bless us and meet our needs. I recommend you read the article in that last link to learn more about this aspect of work.

       God is certainly able to meet our needs by any means He chooses, but we have a clear call in the Bible to work diligently. God uses our work as a means of blessing us and meeting our needs. The fact that this requires action on our part does not take away from the divine blessings that follow – for everything was created by God and all that we have comes from Him. Our working is simply a fulfillment of our responsibility.

       If you’re doing what you can to lower your expenses but still find yourself lacking what is needed to care for yourself or your family, then thinking about ways you can earn more money can certainly honor God. However, if you simply desire to spend more on your wants and desires, please go back and read my post about reasons why Christians shouldn’t think about earning more.

2. You Want to Be More Generous

       One of the ways we can witness to the power of God’s love working in us is through irrational generosity. God can give us such a heart for the poor that we give far more than anyone could reasonably expect. When extreme generosity is evident in our lives (not through our boasting, but through our choices), non-Christians have no easy way to explain it. This gives us an opportunity to testify to the love of God and the teachings Jesus gave us.

       If you want to be more generous, I commend you! There are two ways you can give more. You can either spend less on yourself, or you can earn more and give it away. Spending less works up to a point, but you can’t spend less than $0. And getting to that point would be extremely difficult!

       On the other hand, you can always look for ways to earn more money. And theoretically, there’s no limit on how much you can make. That also means there’s no limit on how much you can give away either. For someone who wants to be more generous, that’s great news!

       Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:28:

       Let him who stole steal no more; but rather let him labor, working with his hands the thing that is good, that he may have something to give to him who has need.

Ephesians 4:28 (WEB)

       This isn’t just a call to a change of heart and actions for those who used to steal. It’s a call for all Christians to use their abilities to work and earn money so we may give to those in need. While we can certainly have the wrong motives for earning more money, increasing our generosity is certainly not one of them. I can’t think of any better reason for wanting to increase your income!

Your Thoughts

       I really tried to come up with three reasons for this article. I thought it would be nice to have an equal number of reasons why we should or shouldn’t think about earning more money. As I said before, it doesn’t matter that I didn’t come up with a third reason because these two are quite powerful.

       But maybe you can think of a third reason why Christians should think about earning more. You can let me know what you think by sharing your thoughts in the comments below!