For most of my life, I haven’t been a charitable person. I’m trying to work on it but it’s a slow process. I’ve been reading Millionaire Women Next Door by Dr. Thomas J. Stanley, and as it turns out, those millionaire ladies are pretty charitable, many donating a double-digit percentage of their incomes. When you think how large many of their incomes are, that’s a pretty good chunk of change!
Over the past few months, I’ve managed to donate small amounts to charitable causes, but I’m nowhere near the 10% I used to give in tithing when I attended church. I have various excuses for this including:
- I can’t afford to give because I have debt
- I can’t think of any worthy causes to give my money to
- honestly, I’d rather spend it on myself
But the reality of it is:
- I make enough money that I can afford to share with others and pay down my own debt
- there are a number of worthy charities and people to help in my city
- I need to be less selfish & materialistic
So I’ve decided to add charitable giving to my budget, and set out a monthly amount to contribute. I’m starting with $25/mo. It seems small, but it’s still $300/yr and I feel like that’s enough to make a difference somewhere! I am setting a personal goal to increase the amount once I am student loan debt free next year. Eventually, I’d like to get up to giving away 10% of my income again.
I’ll be honest, part of me is thinking, That’s crazy! Why would you try to earn more money just so you can give it away? But my reasoning is essentially this:
it is in my best interest to give my money away.
(I think the recipient will think it’s in their best interest too!)
If I don’t donate that money, I will use it for consumption. In other words, I will use it to buy stuff. I’m not really sure what stuff, it might be clothes or it might be beer. I might try to disguise it by putting the money in a savings account or an investment, but that’s really just procrastinating stuff-buying. Eventually, at some point, the money will be used to buy something that, in the long run, is essentially worthless. By foregoing this buying-of-the-stuff, I’m actually looking out for my more enlightened minimalist self AND helping someone out. I feel like that’s all the incentive I need to start giving!
Do you donate regularly to charity? How much of your income do you give away? What motivates you to part with those hard earned dollars for a good cause?