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Your Money: When should you give more?

Dave Ramsey: The time to give more is when you've paid off all of your debt, except the house, plus you have a fully-funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses.
BY DAVE RAMSEY, For The Oklahoman Published: December 24, 2012
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DEAR DAVE:

We're debt-free except for our house, and that's on a 15-year, fixed-rate mortgage. We also have an emergency fund in place. We'd like to give back this year, and do some Secret Santa things and a little extra giving. At what point should we start giving over and above what we tithe?

Jeremy

DEAR JEREMY:

My advice would be to wait until you finish Baby Step 3, which it sounds like you've done. That way, you've paid off all of your debt, except the house, plus you have a fully-funded emergency fund of three to six months of expenses.

You mentioned tithing, so I'll cite the Scripture that says he who doesn't take care of his family is worse than an unbeliever. I'm paraphrasing, of course, but in my mind, from a financial point of view, taking care of your family means having your emergency fund in place and being out of debt, except for your house. At that stage, you're beginning to build wealth and you can really help others while knowing those closest to you aren't going without.

My wife and I made the decision a long time ago to live on a certain amount of money. We apply a formula to everything above that figure for tithing and taxes. The rest we allocate for giving, saving and spending. It works great for us, but be responsible and realistic with what you have. You don't want one of those areas to hinder the others.

DEAR DAVE:

Do you have any advice for deciding which charities to give money to during the holidays?

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