Successful family finances begin with the payment of an honest tithe and the giving of a generous fast offering. The Lord has promised to open the windows of heaven and pour out great blessings upon those who pay tithes and offerings faithfully (see Malachi 3:10). (All Is Safely Gathered In: Family Finances)
Paying tithes and offerings is a deeply personal and religious decision. But I would be remiss if I didn't include it as the foundation of financial preparedness. In the Old Testament in Malachi 3:10 it talks about a promise that comes to those who pay their tithes and offerings. Malachi records, "Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the Lord of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it."
I have personally experienced the opening of those windows of heaven. Throughout our lives, we have always been committed to paying our tithes and offerings. We've not been rich (though we truly ARE rich compared the most of the rest of the world), but we have always had everything we needed. Even in graduate school when money was very scarce and odd jobs provided little money, we always had enough to make it from month to month. I know that God was fulfilling that promise found in Malachi during those years. We honestly have more blessings than I can count and I attribute that in large part to paying our tithes and offerings.
I know that many of the readers of this blog are members of many different faiths. For The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, a tithe constitutes 10% of your increase. A tenth is not just an arbitrary amount but comes from the Holy Bible (Genesis 28:22, Leviticus 27:32, Hebrews 7:22). Fast offerings are made by going without two meals (usually once each month)and then giving the cost-equivalent to help feed and clothe the poor.