I give 10% of my income away each month, which ends up being $220. When I first drafted my budget last July, I wrestled with this a lot. That money would be really useful to help pay down debt! Or save! Or spend! But I came to the conclusion that this was going to be a non-negotiable issue for me. Here’s why:
1. For Character Insurance – I know this may sound a little twisted, but stick with me. Ever since the beginning of time, money has given people power. Not all negative, because I can even see this power in my own life. Having discipline on my money now gives me the power to do fun things later. However, I never want to feel too obsessed with my money management. One of my fears is becoming a stingy, greedy Scrooge who holds tightly to the things I have. By giving, I feel this automatically prevents me from becoming that.
2. Because It’s Not Mine – I am a Christian, so I view everything I have or receive ultimately as a blessing from God. Some of you may disagree with me on this, and that’s fine. But that’s my world-view. Having the mentality of “it’s all God’s anyway” helps me not only give willingly, but allows me to examine other areas of my money management with that same lens. It’s also interesting that Jesus taught on the topic of money more than any other topic during his ministry.
3. Because I Can – Sometimes I feel so unworthy to live in a prosperous country way beyond the means of the rest of the world. No matter the economic climate, there is no doubt we are still a very wealthy nation. Giving such a small portion of what I have is the least I can do.
WAYS TO GIVE:
1. Money – Giving your money is the most obvious and measurable. If you are looking for where to give, there are plenty of great charitable organizations out there. I recommend going to Charity Navigation to look up details on how efficient and responsible organizations are. The last thing you want to do is find out you are giving your money to an organization that pockets over half of its fund raising.
2. Gift-in-Kind – This could include anything from giving clothes to a thrift store, baking goods for a fund-raiser, or donating office supplies to a home. These are called “gift-in-kind” because they have a cost associated with them, but they’re not straight-up monetary gifts.
3. Time – Sometimes I find it easier to give money than to actually invest my life into volunteering or serving my community. But you don’t need to become Mother Teresa or move to Haiti to give your time. I actually volunteer with an organization by doing what I went to school for: marketing! It’s pretty simple for me to do on the side and allows the organization to save money on fund raising and such. With the friendships I’ve made, I sometimes wonder who is benefiting more: the charity or myself.
I don’t mean for this post to be a guilt-trip for readers or to position myself in a “holier-than-thou” light. Believe me, there are many months when the last thing I want to do is fork over hard-earned cash to a charity. In truth, the purpose of this post is so I can come back here and remind myself why I give.
What about you? How much do you give per month? What is your perspective on giving?