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Tithe on stimulus check?


Dear Dave,

Should my wife and I tithe on our stimulus checks? She thinks we should, but I’m not sure. In my mind, we already gave our money to Caesar—so to speak—and now he’s just giving it back. What do you think? 


Dear Luke,

Well, it’s your money you’re getting back. The government doesn’t really create anything, it only takes money from us. And in this case, it gave you back some of what it took. I don’t really see that as a tithing circumstance.

The other side of the coin is that you really can’t go wrong being generous. The tithe is your baseline for generosity. You shouldn’t tithe or not tithe because of a set of rules, but if you’re having a theological or philosophical discussion about the tithe and how it works, I think your reasoning is sound.

It’s certainly not a salvation issue, but generosity is a good rhythm to have in your life. And honestly, these stimulus checks are kind of like tax refunds. You gave it to the government, and now they’re giving it back.

So, in my mind it’s okay either way. I’ve just always had an attitude of when in doubt, it’s better to give.



Go ahead, knock it out


Dear Dave,

We make about $70,000 a year, and we’re debt-free except for our house. We’re following your plan, and just started saving for retirement, but we only have $15,000 left on our mortgage. We can have that paid off in six or seven months, so would it be okay to go ahead and pay off our home as soon as possible before continuing to save for retirement?


Dear Nate,

I’m generally pretty hardcore about sticking with the proper order while doing the Baby Steps. But in your case, with such a small amount left to pay on your home, I think I’d go ahead and knock that out.

Most of the people I talk to still have six figures left on their mortgages. There’s a big difference between that and the situation you two are in right now. Think about it, you guys could be completely debt-free by Christmas, and you’ve already started to make a move on retirement planning. I say go for it!


* Dave Ramsey is CEO of Ramsey Solutions. He has authored seven best-selling books, including The Total Money Makeover. The Dave Ramsey Show is heard by more than 15 million listeners each week on 600 radio stations and multiple digital platforms. Follow Dave on the web at daveramsey.com and on Twitter at @DaveRamsey.

















5 Ways to Stop Wasting Money Heating Your House


Tom Kraeutler 



     Staying on top of your heating and cooling system maintenance will make your systems run more efficiently and last longer. Here are five ways to save energy that can help cut your heating bills:

Annual tune-ups

     Just like that valuable piece of machinery in your driveway, a heating and cooling system needs annual maintenance to keep on running efficiently. So plan to have a contractor pay pre-season calls (fall for heating, spring for cooling) to address elements in Energy Star’s recommended Heating and Cooling Maintenance Checklist. This is one of the easiest ways to save energy, increasing comfort and making sure your heating system is safe.


Filter switch

     Filters should be checked every month, with extra-special attention during heavy-use seasons. A dirty filter slows down air flow and wastes energy by making your system work harder, and can also lead to expensive mechanical maintenance or even failure if dirt and dust are allowed to build up. At the very least, change the filters every three months, and select the most sophisticated replacement models available for optimum dust screening.

Program for savings

     By installing a programmable thermostat and setting it to match your away-from-home schedule, you can save around $180 in annual energy costs for both heating and cooling systems.

Seal the deal

     Did you know that up to 20 percent of potential comfort escapes through poorly sealed and insulated ductwork? Ducts running through the attic, crawlspace, garage and unheated basement should be first on your maintenance list; use duct sealant (mastic) or metal-backed tape (never duct tape, as it doesn’t have the required staying power) to seal all seams and connections. Follow with an insulation wrap, and repeat the process with ducts that you can access in the heated or cooled parts of the house.

Improve home insulation

     When correctly installed, every type of insulation contributes to comfort, reduces energy bills and supplements your HVAC maintenance. Insulation performance is measured by R-value, the ability to resist heat flow and adding more is one of the most effective ways ot save energy. The higher the value, the stronger the insulating power. R-value requirements vary for different areas of the home, and the climate you live in will determine overall needs. Refer to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Insulation Recommendations for more detailed tips.