Michael Friedlander says:
Drawing from the Wrong Account

I am usually very careful about making sure I give 10% of my after tax income to tzedakah (charity). In fact, I am so careful that I set up a special bank account two years ago where I have 10% of my paycheck deposited each month. I distribute the funds each month from this "Tzedakah Account" to various charities.

Tzedakah does not only help the poor, it keeps me financially stableA couple of months ago, though, money began to get tight for us. I was worried I would not have enough of a cushion in my regular checking account to pay all the bills on time. I decided that month not to have the 10% put into my tzedakah account, but to rather keep it in main checking account. The next month things got even worse. I earn the same amount each month, but somehow we were losing money. Our spending behavior had not changed though. I brought the problem to my wife, and told her I had even withheld money from tzedakah to keep us in the black.

To my surprise I did not get sympathy from her. She was shocked that I had not given the tzedakah and told me to immediately move the money back into the tzedakah account. I knew deep down she was right. So having trust in G‑d, and with my wife's clear judgment, I moved the money back to the tzedakah account.

Amazingly, or not, things returned to normal the following month. We received several rebate checks that we had submitted more than a year prior and had long given up hope on receiving. We also received some dividends from stocks I had forgotten existed.

I learned my lesson. Tzedakah does not only help the poor, it keeps me financially stable.

Michelle Miller says:
Getting Rid of Debt and Finding Meaning in Life
Share a Practical Tip or Thought

Five years ago we dumped our sub-prime mortgage and down-sized dramatically. We went from a 3300 sq. ft. new home to a 1500 sq. ft. 30 year-old home. We got out of personal debt, sold our RV, and only paid cash for things we needed. When it was time for a car we saved up. I can't tell you how this has enabled us to sleep soundly at night. Now that the economy has tanked we are not frightened. We know everything is in G‑d's hands.

He brought us out of our own personal debt bondage and He will carry us forward. The most miraculous part of our debt reduction plan was that our old "new" home was far from an observant community. A week after moving to our small "old" home a Chabad House moved in two blocks away.

We have been Shabbat observant for four years now, our kids are in yeshiva, and we are profoundly grateful to G‑d for His blessings.