Hepatitis has hit the Taco Bell industry, was the news being reported from the channel four news. Eighty people have come down from the disease, after eating at a Taco Bell restaurant on Redwood road in Salt Lake City Utah. Little did my husband and I know how that information would impact our lives at that time.
We owned three Taco Bell restaurants, one of the restaurants was on Redwood road, and it was affected drastically even though it was not the restaurant they were speaking about. At the time this happened Taco Bell was the biggest thing out there. We would go to conventions and walk down the aisles of the vendors, as bankers would offer to lend us millions of dollars to buy a franchise and build more stores. The Prophets had warned us to stay out of debt, so this was never a temptation. But we had saved enough money and we were starting to think about building a fourth store when it hit. We had been frugal and because we had saved that money, we were able to pay our employees and our bills until we decided to sell our business to a former employer.
We learned some great lessons from this experience. One of them was that nothing is invincible, and that when a prophet speaks we should always listen. I am grateful for a husband who has always followed the Prophets advise.
“I am suggesting that the time has come to get our houses in order … ,” President Gordon B. Hinckley urged Church members during October 1998 general conference. “Self-reliance cannot obtain when there is serious debt hanging over a household. One has neither independence nor freedom from bondage when he is obligated to others.”
These are five principles that if you follow you will always be able to stay debt free.
1 Paying an honest tithing. Each month we always pay our tithing first. If we are to get out of debt, we really do need the Lord to “open … the windows of heaven, and pour [us] out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it” (Mal. 3:10).
Often our financial efforts are hampered by misfortune that devours our resources, such as unexpected car and household repairs, illness, and so forth. The Lord promises that He “will rebuke the devourer for [our] sakes, and he shall not destroy the fruits of [our] ground” (Mal. 3:11). When we pay our tithes, the Lord can bless us so that our unexpected challenges are minimized and so that we are better able to manage the resources we have.
2 Paying a generous fast offering. When I was in college, President Spencer W. Kimball (1895–1985) taught that the Lord would bless Church members if they were able to double their fast offerings. We thus made it a point, even while students, to pay more than the cost of our meals as a fast offering. As our means have increased, we have increased our offerings, and the Lord has abundantly blessed us.
3 Giving time, talent, and energy toward building the kingdom of God. We have learned that when we are busy in the Lord’s work, losing ourselves in serving others, we have less time to worry about the things we don’t have. Material possessions are seen in the proper perspective.
For example, service greatly minimizes the time we spend watching television, thus limiting the advertisements or shows we view that would make us feel bad about the material things we don’t have. Decreasing our wants makes it easier to avoid debt.
4 Following principles of self-reliance. Producing food in our garden and striving to purchase on-sale items for food storage have allowed us to save greatly on food expenses. This has not only helped us to be more self-reliant, but also allowed us to apply the money we saved toward debt elimination.
5 Cultivating gratitude. Reflecting on the multitude of blessings we enjoy and thanking Heavenly Father for them allows us to focus on that which we have rather than on that which we have not. Recognizing all the blessings we have reduces the desire to acquire material possessions.—Robert and Mary Merrill, East Wenatchee First Ward, Wenatchee Washington Stake