We’ve all heard the expression that “it is better to give than to receive.” 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. When we think of savvy finances, we rarely think that giving money away is the smartest thing to do. After all, shouldn’t you be using that money for something else – like building wealth?
The reality, though, is that well-rounded finances include an aspect of giving. And, believe it or not, giving your money away can be good for your pocketbook.
Giving Forces You to Get Your Finances in Order
One of the consequences of prioritizing your charitable efforts is that it forces you to get your own finances in order. If you want to be able to help your loved ones, pay your tithing, or give to a cause you believe in, you need to be financial stable. If you make giving a priority, chances are that you will need to look at your income and expenses, and acknowledge your cash flow situation.
Just as you need to plan in order to meet goals like funding a retirement, buying a house, paying down debt, and saving for your child’s college, you need to plan if you want to become involved in charitable giving. If giving really is important to you, you’ll create a spending plan that allows you to meet your charity goals.
Giving Makes You Happy
It’s hard to make the right spending choices when your judgment is affected by negative emotions. Few of us are truly happy with the way we use our money. That can change, however, if you decide to give. Studies indicate that spending money on others can make us happier than spending money on ourselves.
So, if you want to improve how you feel about your finances, you can try getting them in order and giving to others. When you take some of your money and spend it on others, you’ll feel more satisfied with the way you are using your financial resources. Your life will be happier, and you are likely to make decisions based on positive emotions.
Giving Has a Way of Coming Back to You
One of the great things about giving is that it has a way of coming back to you. For the religious, giving has the potential to open up blessings. Many major world religions include the concept of giving. If you are a believer, then chances are you have blessings coming your way when you give. You might not always receive great worldly riches, but many religious believers feel as though their needs are met when they take the effort to give generously.
You don’t have to be religious to feel the benefits of giving, however. Many of those who don’t ascribe to religious beliefs feel amply repaid when they give. The positive mindset that results in giving often leads to other benefits. When you are in a giving mindset, there is a good chance that you are in a place where you recognize opportunities and are prepared to grasp them. The organization required in having the resources to give often means that you are on your toes, looking for the right networking and career chances that can lead to improved finances.
Giving Generously is a Blessing
Here are some simple things to remind you before you give.
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 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 – 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.
Smart Steps in Supporting a Charity
For several years now, my husband and I have been putting money aside each month for charitable gifts. It’s been a great way to know that we can make a difference—no matter how small—for our favorite charities. However, once you have started giving to charity, you will find yourself solicited over and over by various organizations. How do you know who deserves your donation?
While there are illegitimate charities and scams posing as charities out there, most of the charitable organizations are real and do need your help. Here are some ways to make the most of your donation and feel good knowing that your money truly is going to help a good cause.
Make sure you choose which charity gets your money
I’ll admit that most of my charitable giving throughout the years was in reaction to a solicitation. Someone called, mailed, emailed, stopped me outside the library, knocked on my door, or even requested my help on TV, and I got out my checkbook. While there is not necessarily anything wrong with giving money because of a solicitation, you want to make sure you really know whom you are giving your money to. A way to avoid feeling flat-footed is to be proactive and find the charities you are most interested in before someone is asking you for money. That way you have the time to really investigate the charity and you can honestly tell the earnest solicitor that you don’t donate money over the phone/door-to-door/outside the library.
A great resource for finding out more about charities is www.charitynavigator.org. This website rates charities based on their financial health.
Only donate to organizations with 501 (c) (3) status
This tax-exempt status is granted by the IRS to nine types of charitable organizations: those committed to religious, charitable, educational, scientific or literary purposes, those committed to testing for public safety, those fostering amateur sports, those promoting the arts, and those committed to preventing cruelty to children or animals. Not only does the 501 (c) (3) status reassure you that the organization fits the IRS’s basic requirements for a charitable organization (although that is clearly not all you should use to evaluate a charity), it also grants you a tax deduction on your charitable donation.
Opt out of having your name circulated
Choose one or two charities to support and stick with them
Once you’ve done your homework, go ahead and limit your giving to no more than a handful of charities. Not only does that make it easier for you to say no to solicitations, but it also helps you build a relationship with a cause you care about, and it means that you can see more good done with the money you can afford to donate. And if you have a long-term relationship with a charity, that means that the organization can spend less on solicitation since it will know it can count on a donation from you. If everyone gave money this way, then charities could focus more attention on their causes and less on trying to get more funds.
Giving to charity is one of my favorite parts of being on a budget—I now have the money set aside to help make the world a better place. Get that same feeling by giving to a charity that you believe in.
Creative Ways to Give to Charity without Breaking the Bank
One of the best ways to keep your finances on the right track is to give to charity. Giving money away can be a great way to ensure that you have well-rounded finances. However, you don’t have to just send money to your favorite legitimate charity. There are a number of creative ways to give to charity. Here are some of the more interesting ways that you can help a good cause without breaking the bank:
I’ve recently started doing my ordering via AmazonSmile. Amazon will donate a small percentage of your eligible purchases to a charity you can get behind. However, it’s important to note that the amount given is rather small. You would have to spend $10,000 on Amazon in order for it to amount to a $50 gift.
I like using AmazonSmile because I can shop as normal, and the charity gets a little boost. However, I know that using AmazonSmile is no substitute for giving my time or money to a worthwhile cause. So I don’t let AmazonSmile replace my charitable giving efforts; I let it enhance them a little bit.
One way you can save money on your cell phone bill is to sign up with a no-contract plan. There are a number of companies out there that offer this plans, and one of them is GIVmobile, which is associated with PTEL Mobile. A portion of your monthly plan payment goes to charity, and you don’t have to do anything special.
Along with AmazonSmile, this is part of a movement toward “slacktivism,” which provides you with a way to feel warm and fuzzy about your ability to give, without actually requiring you to do anything extra. As with AmazonSmile, it’s important to realize that GIVmobile is more about enhancing your efforts (without costing you more), rather than replacing your current charitable giving efforts.
Aside from the fact that you can help a charity, GIVmobile also offers low-cost “unlimited everything” plans and some promos on great smart phones. So it’s worth looking into to save money at the same time.
Donate Credit Card Rewards
Rather than use your credit card rewards yourself, you might be able to donate them to charity. This is a great way to put your credit card rewards to work for a good cause. Your donated credit card rewards can provide cash, merchandise, travel, or other perks to a charity that might need them. Find out whether or not this is an option, and consider donating credit card rewards.
There are some companies that will match your charitable contributions. This is one of the best ways to make the most of a charitable contribution, since it doubles your own giving, up to a certain amount. Talk to your company’s HR department about the possibility of a company match. You might be surprised to find that you can increase the effectiveness of your donation by getting your company to match it.
Click to Donate
There are some sites, like Care2, that are set up so that sponsors donate when you click on their ads. If you don’t mind looking at ads, and clicking around a little bit, your Internet surfing can help various causes. Of course, like many of these other methods, the amount of good you do is somewhat limited. But, it is one way to help out a little bit in your spare time.
Volunteer and Get Local
If you really want to see your donation efforts at work, though, you need to volunteer locally. You don’t even have to lay out money. Donate your time or your goods. If a local charity needs help advertising, and you are good with social media, do what you can to help out. There are lots of ways that you can volunteer locally. I also like to give to my local food bank, where I can actually see the results of my giving. To make it easy on myself, I actually have an automatic payment made each month.
You don’t have to give massive amounts of money all at once to be effective. A monthly donation, or a little “slacktivism” on top of your current efforts can be creative ways to do a little more good.
While you don’t want to give away money that you can’t afford to part with, there is no reason to hoard your cash. You can improve the world through the application of your financial resources, and you can also improve your own life. Giving money away can help you boost your finances, improve your quality of life, and open your eyes to opportunities.
What do you think? Have you seen benefits from giving money away?