I interviewed Kaitlyn from faithmoneyandmarriage.com on Christian Finances: Biblical Financial Principles. Kaitlyn is a stay at home mom of 4 who is living debt free as a Christian.
Here, she shares her journey towards living debt free, decisions made towards living debt free, what the Bible says about financial freedom, what it says about getting out of debt, and much more (including 5 steps a family in debt can take this year to live in the financial principles from the Bible!)
(The following is the video transcript, which has not been thoroughly edited so there may be typos/grammatical errors. Please kindly disregard.)
Lily: Hi Kaitlyn, thank you so much for joining us and today you’re going to be sharing biblical financial principles.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Kaitlyn: Yeah, absolutely, thanks for having me on Lily and I’m 30 years old. I’ve been married for eight and a half years to my husband Jason. We have four kids; we have five and a half year old two-year-old twins and then a nine-month-old. So, things are a little busy at our house but we love it I live in Ohio I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life we live in a small town here and we became 100 debts free in March of this year we actually paid off our house.
And so, that was just a really big deal that then led to us deciding to start our blog called faithmoneyandmarriage.com which basically was just a chance for us to share our debt-free journey. And so, we have never had a really large income but the lord has just been great in teaching us how to manage money and how to grow our marriage and just do all of those things through what the bible says and so, now we’re just, we love being able to share about that with family and friends and we were like why don’t we just share it with some other people too.
Lily: Awesome, I know, I did read your blog and I liked so many things that you said which is why I brought you on here to see if you would share your wisdom with us.
How did you start your journey towards being debt free with your family?
Kaitlyn: Basically our journey started just a couple months after we got married. So, we got married in June of 2012 and a few months after that I actually lost my job and so that was a very crazy time. And so, we had a large portion of our income was just suddenly gone and we found out that I had 23,000 in student loans that was now coming up due since I had left college. And it was just a whirlwind.
We had a 500 a month deficit in our budget and we had less than two thousand dollars in savings that was being eaten away at and we didn’t know what to do.
So, we just were like okay we got to work we got to save and so, I ended up getting a couple jobs my husband got a couple jobs we started working really hard and then soon after that we discovered Dave Ramsey.
Dave Ramsey Podcast + Videos
Actually my husband did, I wasn’t a big fan at first and he started listening to his podcast and he goes hey you should listen to this and I was like no and he’s like no really you’ll like it.
Finally, he got me to listen and we started just trying to apply those principles to our life and go about it that way and so, that just really changed everything for us and that was how we started our journey towards saving and becoming debt free.
What were some decisions you had to make or continue to make towards living that debt-free life as a Christian?
Kaitlyn: Well, we did we did some crazy things. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Dave Ramsey. He has a thing that where he says to live on rice and beans. And so, people always joke they’re like he doesn’t really mean that well we kind of took it literally.
So, we moved into we used to live in this nice apartment and it was over a thousand dollars a month and we moved to this really crummy apartment that was less than around $500 a month that didn’t even have real air conditioning.
There was one wall unit that our apartment would get so hot in the summer we had to sleep in the living room like it was so bad.
But we were saving a ton of money and we were paying off debt like hand over fists we were paid off debt it was so crazy like within 18 months of us being married we actually paid off my $23,000 dollars in student loans while making only about fifty five thousand dollars a year.
Believing God for a debt free house
Which was crazy like we like sit back and we’re like how did we even do that but we did that and then another thing we did that’s crazy for people is our house that we live in now, we actually bought as a foreclosure and we paid cash for it and we fully renovated it ourselves over an eight month period me my husband and my father-in-law.
And so, we did 90% of the work ourselves and it was crazy we had a one-year-old at the time our son was already born. But it allowed us to just accelerate that debt journey so much more and increase our net worth significantly and just do things we didn’t think we would be able to do and so that was some of the big things that we did and things to get there. But it was honestly so worth it.
What about decisions you had to make between you and your husband to continue debt free? Decisions with your children?
Kaitlyn: Yes, they are very little but we with our kids I’ll start there we’ve already decided how we want to handle money with them when they’re older.
Basically, they will each have a college fund set up. Then, if they decide not to go to college that money will be able to be put towards something else like a business venture.
But they will have to be financially responsible. We’re not gonna look at a 16 year old and give him 50 grand.
Not a smart idea. But right now, we’re just trying to teach our son the value of money.
That money has value because he has quite a bit in his little piggy bank.
He’ll be like I want to go spend it all we’re like no, no, no. We can spend this much on this and we’ll give him five dollars. We’ll go to the store and he’ll be like well… I want this and we’re like well that’s 9.99 and you have five dollars.
So, what can you afford to buy?
It’s just teaching him those things.
Then with my husband, we basically just had to learn how to be content with what we had.
And so, we joke because right now we’re in the process of decorating our house because we’ve never had any decorations. We’ve made things with scraps of wood that we’ve had.
We’ve being really creative. And now, it’s a very different place being debt-free because we made so many sacrifices.
Biblical Financial Freedom: Be content in the Lord, Trust in the Lord to provide for your needs
But we truly learned what it meant to be content in the lord and trust in the lord and trust that he would provide for what we needed. And so, because there were times that when we were scared, there were times when we were really worried and we also learned to trust each other to encourage each other there were times I wanted to give up on our debt-free journey and he’d be like no honey we can do this.
We can do this like and it will be worth it and there were times where he wanted to give up and I’d be like no we’re almost there we’re so close and then when we got there it was just always such a surreal and amazing and a peaceful feeling like when we paid off our mortgage this year. It was actually a week and a half before they shut down the country.
And so, that was just amazing because we were going back and forth we were like well should we invest the money, should we pay off our house, what should we do because that’s always the battle because just being so young still we just didn’t know which one to do and we both just prayed about it and we really felt like the lord was like just pay off your house.
God told them to pay off their house.
And then we paid it off and then when they shut everything down we were both like, we both just got chilled and we were like lord thank you because in a time when everyone felt panic we just had this peace that no matter what happened like we would never lose our home.
And our expenses were now so low not having a mortgage that even if for some crazy reason if my husband lost his job because we live on just his income now, that we’d be fine and so that was just a huge blessing but just learning to trust in the Lord and have contentment and just both of us following the Lord too and just running after him that was so important.
Lily: I think that’s a big deal…to have your home secured. That’s something that my parents would tell us when we were little. They said you know nothing else matters, but if we have our home secured in this country we’re okay.
Kaitlyn: Yes, absolutely because it’s like if you have your home and it is a secure place, it is your safe haven like nobody can take it from you and yes, I totally relate to that with your parents because having kids you’re jut wanting to do whatever we can to make sure they are safe here.
Lily: And then to this day now that we’re older they tell us you know you have this home like it doesn’t matter if you lose your home you still have this home you can always come back to this home and this home is yours. Yeah, it’s so nice that you have that comfort you know whatever happens to your kids they still have something from you and they can always rely on you and your you know, safe haven.
Looking back what are some things that you wish you had done differently on your journey towards living debt free?
Kaitlyn: It’s funny I looked at this question and I was looking at it and honestly nothing and I know it’s so weird for people I know people are like oh, like what would you have done differently and we always joke about little things we would have done differently. Like we paid for a large portion of our wedding so we joke that we wish we would have eloped.
Part of that just because we really wanted to be married and we were young. I was 21, he was 24 and we were like let’s just get married who cares but that’s what we exactly you’re like let’s just go to the courthouse it’s fine and so we thought about jumping on a plane and being like okay we’re just going to fly somewhere tropical.
Biblical Financial Freedom: The Lord uses things for His glory and our good
We would joke about that but honestly we have just seen the lord use everything. Use all of those extremely hard things, all of those things that just felt so disheartening in those moments, the Lord used to bring us closer together, to heal our marriage, to bring us closer to him.
I’m thankful for all of it because I’ve learned to just trusting in what he says in Romans 8:28
“and we know that for those who love God all things work together for good for those who are called according to his purpose.”Romans 8:28
I always am reminded of that that God works all things together for our good and I’ve seen that and I trust that and so, I wouldn’t change any of it.
Let’s get to the biblical principles. What does the bible say about money management (financial management)?
Kaitlyn: I believe the bible has a lot to say about money. There’s actually over 2500 version verses in the bible about money in possessions and how to handle them. And so, when I first learned that I was like what no about money in the church anymore like unless you’re talking about tithing like we don’t talk about money.
For us that was just a huge breakthrough and so some of our favorite things that the bible says about money are one of them is about the great value of hard work. So, people often forget that work was actually established before Adam’s fall. So, in genesis 215 it says ‘the lord took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it’.
Biblical Financial Freedom: Work is a blessing from the Lord and we are created to work
And work is a good thing. Work is a blessing from the Lord and so we are created with the purpose of actually working and so, when we realized that we realized that we’re supposed to be working but that whatever we do we’re to work heartedly harder fully as for the lord and not for man.
And that’s what it says in Colossians and just realizing those things it makes you remember that you work to make money. The bible also says that if you do not work you do not eat and that is a very like that’s a very bold statement and it’s not always comfortable but it’s true. And so, I was even listening to Dave Ramsey this morning and he was talking about that if you think the bible is wrong about something then that’s a problem with you not with God.
With realizing that like that’s a tough principle to realize is that it’s a problem with me not with what the Lord says and it’s my misunderstanding because scripture is perfect and it has been forever.
I would say that would be one of the big things and then I love in Proverbs where it says
‘a little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest and poverty will come upon you like a robber and want like an armed man’.Proverbs 24:33-34
And it just, that verse gets me, it reminds me when I don’t want to do anything I just want to sit around. I want to be lazy that the lord’s like no I created you to do this, I created you to work, and I created you for a purpose.
And so, just realizing the joy I get in my life from working and doing things and just the peace that comes with that it’s just so incredible and so, that’s just a little bit of what the bible has to say.
Biblical Financial Principles: Manage what you have well and be generous
But it also says that you’re to manage what you have well that you’re to be generous with what you have, a love when it talks in, where is it, I think it’s in romans where it talks about those who have wealth are to give to those who do not within the kingdom of God.
It doesn’t say that having wealth is a bad thing, that’s something we ought to misunderstand but God does say if you do have wealth, if I give it to you I expect you to take good care of it.
I expect you to glorify me with it and that’s something we often forget is that money is not the root of all evil. It is a root of all kinds of evils but it is not the root and the root issue is our heart, it’s always our heart.
What does the bible say about financial freedom?
Kaitlyn: This was a bit of a tough one. There’s a not a ton about financial freedom throughout scripture that I was able to find, but the bible does talk about like freedom in the lord and when we are not connected to our possessions when we don’t treasure up things here that we can better glorify him.
Like in Matthew 6 where it says
‘do not store up treasures for yourselves on earth but store up treasures in heaven where moth and rust cannot destroy and thieves cannot break it and steal.’Matthew 6:19-21
Biblical Financial Freedom: When you are in debt, you are a slave to the lender and can’t live in Christ’s freedom for you
And when you have financial freedom when you have that contentment when you’re not feeling this need to keep buying things that you can’t afford and propping yourself up and doing those things you’re better able to serve the lord because you’ve realized that your true contentment comes from him.
And you’re not tied to your debt any longer too like when you’re tied to your debt you’re a slave to it.
Lily: I think there is a bible verse about that.
Kaitlyn: It’s the borrower’s slave to the lender. So, remembering that like we are a slave to those things which means we cannot glorify Christ that’s also why the bible says like you cannot have two masters, you cannot serve God and money because if you are a slave to money then how do you serve the lord?
Like I’ve been in debt, you obsess over it, you wake up at night like you cry over the fact that you are a slave to this and then when you get rid of it like you’re so free. And you’re free to serve the lord and you’re free to give up your money again because it’s there to give like you’re able to be so much more generous.
What are some biblical financial principles?
Kaitlyn: I would say the biggest ones that I could think of biblical financial principles is that we are to flee from debt.
So, in the same section in Proverbs where it talks about how the rich rules over the poor and the borrower’s slave to the lender, it also talks about how you are to run from debt like the gazelle runs from the hands of a hunter.
Basically that means you are to run for your life from that like you are to free it, you are to run away from it and so I would say that was a big one for us.
We’ve been reading lately throughout the New Testament is to be content with what you have. With that contentment, you no longer covet what others have.
And so, that is really cool just that domino effect that comes with contentment.
Flee from debt. Be content in the Lord. Trust the Lord to provide for your basic needs.
Another is to trust the Lord to provide for your basic needs. The Lord does not promise us that He will provide for all of our wants. But He does promise us throughout scripture that He will take care of us.
In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how he takes care of the sparrows and the lilies of the field. How they’re dressed better than Solomon. He will take care of you.
Just remembering too that God is the giver of good gifts.
And so, He’s going to take care of those basic needs. He’s going to make sure we have those basic things.
What would you say to someone who is ambitious?
Kaitlyn: I would say there’s nothing wrong with being ambitious and a go-getter. My husband is an entrepreneur. He has been since he was about 14. At that time, he had his first business that was a large lawn business, which he sold. He is a very ambitious man.
You have to remember who you are working for. And you have to put that ambition into working for the Lord and not for yourself.
I would say to that person who’s very ambitious who has big dreams:
that obviously the Lord has given you those dreams.
The Lord has placed those in you, He does that.
And the Lord does want to give us the desires of our heart.
They have to line up with His desires as well.
Biblical Financial Principle: Work as if it is for the Lord
To that person I would say this:
be in the word, follow after the Lord, and work for Him and not for anybody else.
Don’t even work for yourself don’t work for your own gain.
Work as if you’re working for the Lord. And work so that you can build a platform or a business that the Lord will be glorified.
Because our ultimate goal is to glorify the Lord in all that we do.
So, I would say just take that ambition and use it. Don’t stifle it. Use it because the Lord gave this to you.
Kaitlyn: It’s very easy to think about yourself with that ambition, especially in a world that tells us it’s all about you.
No, put it after the Lord, and I promise you like your life will be so much happier.
Is debt a sin?
Kaitlyn: No, debt is not a sin. I feel like that is a common misconception people have.
Debt is never addressed as a sin or a salvation issue throughout the bible.
But the bible does say that debt is unwise. It does say that it will hold us back from what we’re called to do for the Lord.
It does tell us to flee from debt. To work for the Lord. To not borrow from anyone else like it it’s very clear on that one of my favorite verses:
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.Romans 13:8
Although it’s not a sin it is not something that’s going to allow you to glorify God as much.
Because He also tells us to be generous with what we have.
And when you have debt you can’t be as generous as you could be without it. But it’s not a sin, you can still go to heaven if you have debt, I promise.
What does the bible say about getting out of debt?
Kaitlyn: Basically just to run from it. Run away from debt. If people want to really get into what the bible says about money…Proverbs is one of the best places to start.
Just really dig into his word because he will tell you and he’ll rock your world but you like just have to trust that what he says is true and sometimes it’s really hard to swallow. But I promise you like his principles are so much better than ours.
Lily: It’s really harder to swallow it when it goes against what we want, when our desire to do something and then we read it in his word I’m like oh no,
Kaitlyn: But I really want this are you sure about that God?
What does the bible say about borrowing money and not paying it back?
Kaitlyn: It was a hard pill to swallow. I was reading these verses and this wasn’t one that I had really dwelled on that much but it literally says in Psalms 37:21
‘the wicked borrows but does not pay back but the righteous is generous and gives’.
Realizing that the Lord literally says if you borrow something and you do not pay it back that is wickedness in you and we are called to root out all wickedness and the lord wants us to live without wickedness he wants us to be the righteous. And so, basically the bible is saying like if you owe someone something you pay it back.
You work your little booty off and you pay it back. Which is not always fun but that contentment you come that comes to you from the lord when you realize like I paid it back and I owe no one anything it is truly a feeling of peace.
What are 5 (simple) steps a Christian family in debt can take this year to live in the financial principles from the bible?
Kaitlyn: I love this question because this is the part where you can just really be practical.
- I would say the first step is that you need to add up exactly how much debt you have. This includes any debt that you may be hiding from your spouse. And I know that’s a tough one because I’ve been there. I actually talk about this on our blog because I had hidden debt from a business that I was trying to keep afloat. And it didn’t work out so I had to confess that to my husband but the Lord was gracious. His grace overflowed through my husband and our relationship became better after that. If you don’t know exactly how much debt you have, you won’t be able to pay it off. So, that would be the first step. And then if you need to seek counsel as well. Seek wise counsel if that is an issue within your marriage because we need community. We need other people. Get with your pastor. Get with a marriage counselor. There’s no shame in that ever.
- The next step would be to create a budget and to follow it. On our website faithmoneyandmarriage.com we have a free budgeting tool. It will help you figure out all of your expenses in an excel spreadsheet. It’s very easy to use and that will help you get started on that.
- Number three would be to cut out everything from your budget that’s not a necessity. This is a not a fun one. But the quicker you get out of debt the quicker you can get back to living that life you love. Also, you’ll find true contentment along the way. When you cut things that are not needs, you learn what it means to be content with what you have. That’s a blessing.
- Number four would be read the bible and learn what it says about money. The bible has a lot to say. But when we know those things ourselves we can apply them better to our lives. And so, one great place to start would be to read one Proverb a day for a month. Since there are 31 chapters in the book of Proverbs. If you read one a day, it will teach you so much about money and what God says about it.
- And then number five would be just to stay the course. It’s not always an easy journey. Our journey was about 7 years to get to the point of paying off our house. There were times that friends and family would be like, “You guys are crazy. You don’t go on vacations. You don’t do these things.” We’re like no but we have a bigger goal. We have a bigger goal. To enjoy our money. We wanted to get to that place where we truly did not have any debt.
And so, those 5 things would be, I would say the essential starting point.
Did God answer your prayers for money? How was your relationship between your financial struggles or financial breakthroughs and your relationship with God?
Kaitlyn: The Lord never dropped a bag of cash on our front doorstep! That never happened.
But what always happened is the Lord always provided for our needs.
He provided it through opportunities to work, through opportunities to make more money to provide for our family.
Biblical Financial Principles: God provides for your needs, He answers your prayers for money in different ways (not what you may expect)
One big one is I used to work part time when we had just our son.
When we found out we were pregnant with our twins, we knew that I would have to leave my job.
Three kids in daycare is not going to work.
So, when we found that out we just started praying. We were like, “Lord, provide a way to fill that gap of income. We don’t know how you’re going to fill it, but we pray that you will.”
And so, about a month later my husband got a raise at work. It was the exact amount of money that we were losing from my income.
I sat and cried.
But one of my best friends told me, “Kaitlyn, the Lord would not give you these babies if he was not going to give you a way to provide for them.”
We did not know what it was going to look like.
But what it looked like was more responsibility for my husband at work. A raise that came with it that provided for our family.
So, I would say the Lord is not going to just drop that money in your lap. He’s going to want you to work for it and show that you can be responsible with it. But he always he always promises to provide for our basic needs. I love what it says and everyone knows Philippians 4:13 but in 4:12 through 13 it says
‘I know what it is to be in need and I know what it is to have plenty. I’ve learned the secret of being content in any and every situation whether fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in one. I can do all things through him who gives me strength’.Philippians 4:12-13
And then in Philippians 4:19 it says
‘and my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus’.Philippians 4:19
Biblical Financial Principles: The Lord will teach you about money
And just remembering He promises to provide for our needs and he’s not going to provide for our wants. There’s so many times we wish we made more money.
But the Lord always provided anyway and we look back and we’re so thankful. He has taught us so much about money.
Now, we have a story that we can share with others. And tell them, ‘Listen you may not make a lot of money. You may be on a single income, but there’s still hope’. That would be my big thing.
Lily: I love what your friend said to you. This is what Oscar who is my fiancée, says to me all the time.
I tell him no, we have to plan everything. We have to make sure that we have our kids at the right time. And get a home at the right time.
We need to stay organized and we need to plan ahead, but he’s like stop let God handle it. Because if God you know gives us kids next year He knows why.
If God gives us a home by March next year, He knows why. Just stop and let Him work, let Him play out our lives.
Because if we’re trying to control it, then we’re not letting Him act.
Then, that’s when we’re forgetting His goodness over our lives.
So, your friend had wise words, I think.
Kaitlyn: That’s very wise because we can plan all we want but the Lord does whatever He wants.
So, that’s the funny part. We had three kids in 15 months which was not our original plan but the Lord has been so faithful.
We’re so thankful and it’s turned out beautifully. Just remembering that His plan is so much better than ours is such a blessing.
If someone is wondering ‘will God help me with my financial problems’ what would you say to them?
Kaitlyn: God has given us the tools to teach us and help us with our financial problems. He has laid out in His word how to be content, how to manage money, and how to take care of our finances in a biblical way. I would say just to read his word, trust it, and follow what it says.
I loved what I heard in the Dave Ramsey podcast that I was listening to this morning. He said, “Listen, if you do these things you will have some sort of wealth. I won’t tell you how much you have because I have no idea. That depends on your income; that depends on all of these things but you’ll end up with some sort of money. And you’ll end up out of debt if you follow the Lord’s principles, if you do what He says. It does take hard work and sometimes it is working multiple jobs.”
You may be very tired, but then realizing at the end of that that you’ve reached that goal. You’ve followed what the Lord says. And not only are you now out of debt, but you also have a better relationship with the Lord.
What are some faith-based financial resources you recommend?
Kaitlyn: On our website we’ve actually put together a lot of different resources. If you want to check that out:
We actually have a Smart Money Calculator to help you calculate different ways you can save money. And make more money with the money that you have through just a cell phone; energy bills, and just a bunch of different things.
There is also a Budgeting Tool on there and just different ways to help you save and make money.
I also, as you guys heard, I suggest Dave Ramsey. We’re really big fans of Dave Ramsey. We don’t agree with 100% of everything that he says. But I would say 90% like man’s right on it.
Dave Ramsey loves the Lord and follows what the bible says and he’s biblically sound. And so, I would definitely suggest his financial peace books and his podcast as well.
Then, my last one would just be to read your Bible. Trust in God’s word because ultimately going back to His word is the best place to go. That’s where we’ll learn the most about money.
And that’s where you’ll get a 100% view of what the Lord has to say about it.
Lily: Kaitlyn, thank you for sharing!
Reader, don’t forget to reach out to Kaitlyn:
Read other blog posts here:
- Christian Online Book Club: A Women’s Book Club
- Biblical Financial Principles: Biblical Secrets (Steps) to Financial Freedom
- Christian Testimony of a Transformed Life: New Age to Jesus, From Death to Life
- Useful Scriptures to Use When Praying in all Situations
- What are the Benefits of Marriage?