Trish and I have always had it as our goal to build Toomer’s Coffee Roasters into an engine for giving to worthwhile causes. We have been earnest tithers in our church and community as well as to missions for years. Generally at least 10%. This year about 20%.
But a few months ago I read the book, “The Circle Maker” by Mark Batterson. In it Mark talks about he and his wife’s goal of living off of 10% of their income and giving the other 90% away. Wow! I thought that’d be an incredible goal to strive for and began searching for others who had done this.
Rick Warren of the Saddleback Church in California does this and he refers to it as Reverse Tithing. Bill and Melinda Gate’s have this also as their goal. The list goes on and on.
In fact there is an entire website devoted to those who are willing to put their commitment to this style giving at The Giving Pledge (click to visit site). You may also recognize a few of the names on there like, T. Boone Pickens, Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook), Jon & Karen Huntsman, Carl Icahn, Warren Buffet and others.
In America today the average giving rates is less than 2%
In a country considered to the richest nation on earth that’s sad. Of course I understand many people are struggeling to make ends meet. But I would also ask you sit down and list out your expenses. You might be surprised what you spend money on. Here are a few of our personal changes:
For example, we looked at cable (TV). We were spending almost $1000 per year on this.
Then we considered this: we faithfully only watch maybe 4-5 channels, and being busy entrepreneurs, we only watch those in the evenings and then not every evening. That said, we dropped this, bought a ROKU ($90) to stream shows we like via our internet connection and also added a simple digital antenna (The Leaf – $40) that provides us with 26 HD channels FOR FREE.
We love it and if you amortize the cost of the setup over five years…we’re talking pennies day for a great media experience.
HEALTH – SWITCHING TO WHOLE FOOD PLANT BASED DIET
Consider your health and saving money. Trish was on cholesterol lowering medicines and having minimal success.
Then we heard about a whole foods/plant based diet in the China Study (click on image to see on Amazon). Also Forks Over Knives is a great video and the book outlines even more scientific evidence of the incredible lifestyle change (Click on image at right to see it on Amazon).
This way of eating has been scientifically proven to improve quality of life, improve health (lowered cholesterol, lowered blood pressure and has even reversed and cured many with Type II Diabetes and advanced heart disease) but it is also A VERY CHEAP WAY TO EAT.
After only a few months on this healthy program her total cholesterol dropped from the mid 200’s to 160 and her LDL and Triglycerides dropped to the optimal ranges as well.
Throw in the cost savings with savings on prescription drugs and the savings is over $1000 per year. Long term savings? Consider insurance, out of pocket hospitalization expenses and on and on….
PAY OFF YOUR HOUSE OR RENT
Pay off your mortgage. Switch to a 15 year plan. Do the math. Everyone could use a $1500 plus income increase.
DRIVE AN OLDER CAR
Drive a good older car. Our newest car is a 2005 Scion XB. Out others include a 2003 Chevy S-10 and a 2002 Camry. No car payments, they are good cars (check Scions and Camry’s in the Consumer Reports auto reports) and our insurance costs are a few hundred dollars a year TOTAL.
You see it isn’t just about making a lot of money. That’s where we get it wrong in this country. We say, “Once I start making $XX I will give more. Well the results are in and the facts are that in fact we don’t give more as we make more. We just spend more on ourselves. Can I say it again? That’s sad.
With that in mind we wanted you, our customers and potential clients, to know where our heart is. It may take us a while, but we continually raise the bar on our giving, ways to save, build our business and live more frugally and as we prosper we see it as simply another opportunity to give more.
God bless you and your family. We urge you to sit down today and look at your finances and see where you are, what you can alleviate and where you can give more.
In case you are interested her are a few of the organizations we currently support (excluding our local church):
Women’s Hope Medical Clinic (Auburn, AL)