Hi. I have decided to be more careful and precise when it comes to maaser as a bracha. But I’m having trouble making ends meet, and I also have a large debt. The debt is long term but I am currently only paying the interest. My question is, can I use Ma’aser money to pay off the loan principal? Or is it better to donate to charity. Please advise.
A person that doesn’t have enough money to make ends meet and has debts to pay technically doesn’t have to give maaser. What you can do it to separate the maaser and then use it for yourself. Even if you do this, you should still make sure to give some tzedakah to poor people. Please see the following links to a related posts. Maaser/Wealth Do I have to Ma’aser if I have loans outstanding
Tzadakah Umishpat 1-8 in the name of Sefer Chassidim 464, B’orach Tzedakah 3 ftnt. 12 in the name of Shevet Halevi,