Hi, I haven't posted in this forum before, but LDS my whole life! I wanted to add to the conversation Drewsmom started about fast offerings and living frugally.
I, too, live frugally. We do without a LOT of things that other people consider essential, all our clothes are hand-me-downs, I make my own bread, birthday and Christmas gifts often come from the thrift store or are homemade.
A lot of the families that I see who are making poor financial decisions, I think that they really don't know how to do it right. They don't know how to make a budget, save so that they can stay out of debt, or they think that they can't do without certain things. So I say that solving this problem has to start with education. Remember hearing about the Perpetual Education Fund, and how the participants have to take a class on financial management through their local institute before they can apply? I think they need to have something like that in our wards and stakes, a required class for everyone that receives assistance and optional for everyone else. I think that a family should have to show their budget to the bishop before they receive help with paying their bills and stuff. Or maybe make a budget as a follow up, so that they don't need to continue to ask for the assistance.
So while I feel annoyed that my fast offering and tithing might be helping people live a more expensive lifestyle than my own, I mostly consider myself lucky. I know how to live within my means, I know how to budget and save, I know how to be responsible and avoid debt. I'm not really giving for those other people, I'm giving for myself, I'm giving to my Heavenly Father.