mindful spending :: creative tithing part 2

prosperity t-shirt by essieK

Yesterday’s post from Kristen Walker on creative tithing started an awesome conversation. This subject pretty much sums up my background, my current passions, and my soapbox.

As many of you know, my degree is in religion. I have wrestled with the philosophy and theology of tithing in the past. What I really adore about Kristen’s concept of creative tithing – consciously spending money on handmade goods on a regular basis – is just how closely it can reflect the original purpose of tithing.

Tithing Gives Others Resources to Use

When you tithe part of your income – traditionally 10% – to the church, you provide the church with the money it needs to give back to the community, make things happen, provide services for the less fortunate. When you tithe part of your income to artists or makers, you do the same. Those artists survive – and thrive – to make another day. Your money has a direct impact in people’s lives.

Tithing is a Challenge

Consistently donating 10% of your pre-tax income (the way the modern church interprets it…) is quite a challenge! But as creative people, we like a good challenge. We like to feel the pressure to find new solutions and innovate solutions to the problems we’re faced with. Challenging yourself to see beyond your immediate needs and willing yourself to make a purchase of something others see as luxury is a constructive way to consider the money that you have.

Tithing is Really About Abundance

Beyond the immediate resources that tithing accommodates, tithing is really about creating abundance – wealth even – in your own life. It’s about realizing that 10% of your income is nothing, inconsequential. Forgettable.

Think you can’t live with 10% less? Take 10% off the top of your income and try. Get creative. What bills can you get rid of? What expenditures really aren’t necessary? You’ll begin to realize just how much you have. Now when you’re reinvesting that money – either in a church or in other things you value, like art & craft – you’ll begin to see it return. That giving spirit comes back to you, not just in feel good thoughts, but in actual returns. Give it a try with full conviction and just see if I’m wrong.

Of course, I’m not proposing that you spend 10% of your income on art & craft. Although, I would challenge you to purchase at least 10% of your goods from the handmade/independent maker community. But what I do want you to consider is just how expendable some of your income is. We get way too caught up on scarcity in our own lives.

Relax, put your money out there to do great things for great people, and watch it come back to you.

Check out more posts on mindful spending!

13 thoughts on “mindful spending :: creative tithing part 2

  1. I love this post – I love your point and you’re creative thoughts about tithing. It made me think and commit even more to handmade, local and conscious choices. In my business I donate 1% of my profit to a local nonprofit that I believe in as well as feel could use the money directly due to what I create and how it effects out world. Regardless of religion I think tithing is important and you reminded me that it is truly about abundance – something I had forgotten – thank you.

    1. yes – tithing is such a phenomenal concept irregardless of religion. i love to see shops that automatically donate proceeds to charity. i donated 5% of my ecourse sales to public radio – allowing me to triple my donation to them this year. so empowering!

      thanks for sharing!

  2. ‘share the wealth’… this is what I say to myself every time I put money in a tip jar… and it’s what I’m going to start saying every time I support a local business and craftsperson. I am very conscientious of buying local groceries and clothing and things that my kids need… but this line of thinking just takes it to the next level of sharing and contributing, it’s not about fulfilling my needs and making a local shopping choice, it’s about fulfilling the needs of others at the same time.

    My grandparents say grace before each meal… ‘help us to be mindful of the needs of others…’ Exactly.

    Thanks Tara and Kristen for reminding me…

  3. Great post! I too hadn’t really connected tithing to abundance till I read this article, and then I was like, “yeah, it’s totally connected to abundance!!!!” By consciously choosing to devote a portion of my income to buying artwork I am affirming that I have enough – actually more than enough. As someone who struggles with the starving artist mentality, this is huge. And there is also the double effect for me of affirming that artwork is valuable – something worth spending money on and purchasing, something that is a pleasure to surround myself with, which will help me affirm that my own creative work is valuable, too.


    1. exactly, kristen. a LOT of people don’t think they have enough money to tithe. but it’s all in the idea that you ALWAYS have enough. thanks again for an incredible post & conversation starter. big things are happening!

  4. I like to think of it like this…you know when you go to garage sales or even Etsy and you see rare vintage toys, clothing or something that now has tons of value because there are only so many and you think “where did this come from??”…well it is an investment into treasure, and hand made will have much more value now and even more so down the road…Buying hand made is like buying treasure!

  5. these two posts have been SO inspiring–seriously. though i sincerely value handmade goods and supporting handmade artists, i’ve never thought of it in this way before and i LOVE the concept. as always, great work and incredible tidbits to think about. thanks so much, ladies!

    1. thanks, krista! i sense a bit of a movement happening here. i love a good movement. i look forward to helping kristen nurture her idea!

  6. awesome post…another cool thing about tithing, is it’s like paying it forward AND You are generally blessed more than what you gave away…You reap more than you sow!

  7. I am one of those who gives 10% of my paycheck to my church. I then take another 10% and put it into savings. The rest of the money I have left over (my husband pays all the bills, thankfully!) goes towards whatever I desire! I love to pay a tithe and I really do believe that it is life changing – not just for me, but for the lives of the people who are benefited by my donation, because I know it all goes to a good cause. The
    pay it forward” act. Call it whatever you may: blessings from above, karma or serendipity…it does pay itself back! :)

  8. Really love this post (and your blog, for that matter, which I’ve only just discovered: my creative tastebuds are suitably watery!) I think this is such a brilliant idea – I find myself eyeing off stuff all the time on etsy but am both overwhelmed with options when it comes to buying and also find myself feeling a bit guilty about indulging in buying stuff I love when my family needs the practicalities. I love the idea of budgeting for it though and supporting other artists in the process!

    Thanks! :)

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