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Don’t Be A Tightwad: Give Generously

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This is a guest post from Grant Baldwin, the author of Reality Check, a book about helping students transition into the real world. His new website, BrokePiggy.com, answers questions from teenagers about personal finance, savings, and all things money.

This series “12 Things Every Teenager Needs To Know About Money (And How To Teach Them)” is a community blog experience. This post is only one of the 12 points in the series so to view the other 11, please visit the list of links at the end of the article.

Don’t Be A Tightwad: Give Generously

We’ve all heard the expression that “it is better to give than to receive.” While that statement is true, don’t get me wrong; I still love getting presents for my birthday (which is September 23 in case you need to mark your calendar)!

I firmly believe in the principle of sowing and reaping. You reap what you sow. Money isn’t just valuable when you hoard it and hold onto it with a clinched first but rather when you give it away.

Teenagers already have a limited cash flow, so why in the world would they want to give any of it away? Here are some simple things to remind them of that may help…

  • You’re Blessed – I probably don’t know you personally, but I’m confident that you’re blessed. You probably woke up this morning with a roof over your head, food in the kitchen, and running water to shower and brush your teeth. Congratulations. You’re in the minority. Most people around the world didn’t have that luxury this morning. If you ever want to put things in perspective, go to www.globalrichlist.com. If you think your minimum-wage paycheck from McDonald’s is bad, this will open your eyes.
  • People Have Given To You – Once again, I may not know you personally, but I’m sure there have been people that have given to you. Maybe it was a family member, a friend, or even some random stranger who reached out to help you. No one in history ever makes the journey of life alone. People come into our lives at various moments and help us along the way. Therefore, you should do the same for others.
  • Giving Provides A Better Return On Your Money – Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past year, you may have noticed there are not many options right now that provide a good return on your investment. But regardless of how the market is doing or whether your investments are up or down, giving generously to those in need always provides a good return. Not to sound cheesy or corny, but you really can’t put a price on that feeling.

Here are the rest of the articles in the “12 Things Every Teenager Needs To Know About Money (And How To Teach Them)” series:

This is a guest post from Grant Baldwin, the author of Reality Check, a book about helping students transition into the real world. His new website, BrokePiggy.com, answers questions from teenagers about personal finance, savings, and all things money.


Published or updated February 27, 2011.
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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Casper

So very true. So many complain about having no money, no car and so on, they don’t see how rich they are in the global perspective. Just had a nice lunch and didn’t even enjoy it that much..just had to eat as I was hungry….how fortunate for me I have a fridge stuffed with food.

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2 Atlas@mymoneyshrugged

Great post! I agree with Casper…if you have five cents in your pocket you are one of the wealthiest people in the world.

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3 Miranda

I love this post. So many of us are so blessed, and it’s important to help others. Part of the reason we are blessed, I believe, is so that we can help bless the lives of others.

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4 Curious Cat Investing Blog

I totally agree, giving generously is important. Participating with organizations like Kiva is a great way to inoculate yourself against the pain caused by reading about unethical, unbelievably greedy executives creating havoc without a care for anyone but themselves.

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5 Beth

I agree that this is a great post! A much needed reality check. Thank you.

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6 Ken

Giving is invaluable…last time I checked volunteer work looks pretty good on college applications…Good post!

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7 her every cent counts

Giving makes having worth more.

I’m really enjoying this series. Check out my Q&A with BrokePiggy’s Grant Baldwin (not officially part of the series, but if you’re interested in his story and why he started BrokePiggy, check it out) http://www.hereverycentcounts.com/2009/04/broke-piggy-teaches-teens-about-money.html

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8 Grant @ BrokePiggy.com

Thanks for your involvement in this series!

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9 Kristy @ Master Your Card

Working in the financial industry, I’ve talked with students setting up what’s often their first account and one of the things we inevitably get into is charity work. If their parents are involved in charity work, then so are they. If their parents don’t get involved, I find the teenager is less likely. Case in point. At the credit union I work for we’re in the process of raising money for the Children’s Miracle Network. We’re selling raffle tickets, $1 a piece, with first place winning a new car, second wins two round-trip tickets, and third wins a big screen HDTV. Those are fairly nice prizes. We’re asking for $1 to help CMN and in exchange, you have the chance to win one of the three major prizes, or even the smaller prizes available. All of the prizes were donated, so the proceeds go entirely to CMN. I ask everyone, and sometimes I’ll get the parents that are with the teenagers who tell me no for the teenager. When I look at them askance, the response is that they’ve already donated for the year. The teenager just shrugs.

Way to be a good influence there parent. It was obvious they hadn’t donated. It was even more obvious that they are only concerned with themselves. Money is tight all the way around, but like Grant points out, if you woke up with a roof over your head, food in the fridge, and running water then you’re doing better than a lot of people. You can afford to be a little generous.

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10 Bebo

Thanks for this post .I’m always feel blessed to live in this country , even though I only have enough food & money to pay bills but I always try to share or donate every time I can . Don’t just think about yourself & ignore people’s pain. Generous & giving is the first thing we should do in Buddhism.

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11 DDFD at DivorcedDadFrugalDad

Thoughtful post. If you can’t give cash . . . you can give your time.

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