Giving money away – do you do it?

One thing I’ve been putting off is sorting out all my receipts so I can do my taxes and get a rebate on the charitable donations I made last year.

T asked me if that was the only reason that I give to charity.


(Photo credit: Matthew Burpee)

I was all “WHAT? That’s ridiculous!”

Yeah, I get the tax back on those, but it’s only a small amount (33%?) I donate because it’s a GOOD THING TO DO.

Or something.

If everyone gave a little bit every month, think how that would add up.

And yeah, giving also makes me feel good. You’ve probably experienced the same thing. (Studies show altruism is a good thing emotionally and, potentially, even health wise.)

He sometimes teases me and says we can’t afford to give away money. But of course we can. Frankly, I don’t give a ton – sometimes only $5 or 10 a month. Occasionally enough to hurt – maybe $40. I don’t have any causes close to my heart, so it’s generally a new organisation every time. (I’ve actually run through my whole list now, so if you have any worthy suggestions, leave a comment.) And of course, when people I know are doing fundraisey things like growing moustaches and running races, that’s another avenue for my monthly pledge too.

Anyway, time to stop procrastinating and print out those receipts. And maybe this year instead of saving that refund, I’ll donate that extra amount, too.

Do you give to charity? How do you decide where your money goes?


16 thoughts on “Giving money away – do you do it?

  • Reply silverneurotic June 12, 2012 at 15:22

    I don’t normally give money to charity on a regular basis…though, when I do-I usually am pretty generous. Instead though, I tend to donate items I no longer need. The last two years I’ve donated two dozen bags worth of books to libraries. I also regularly donate clothes to the Salvation Army.

  • Reply Allison @Insomniac Lab Rat June 12, 2012 at 16:24

    I generally donate something every month- not as much lately, with the possibility of losing Ryan’s income, but usually around $25-30. I also don’t really have any regular causes….I don’t know if it’s because nothing is close to my heart, or because everything is! I always give at least $5 if one of my friends is doing some fundraiser, but I also will give to other charities- local food bank or shelters, charities for clean water in Africa, charities in my hometown, whatever catches my eye that month!

  • Reply Amanda June 12, 2012 at 16:46

    I give. It’s very important to me as a privileged individual (and let’s face it, we are ALL privileged sheerly by living in the first world with internet access and free time to randomly comment on blogs) to be able to give back. Some of the things I do:

    1) Work at a charity, so by virtue of working in the NFP sector, have essentially taken a 25% pay cut compared to the wage I’d be earning if I was to work in corporate. Essentially, I’m sharing my skills at a lower than market rate.

    2) Salary sacrifice part of my salary in certain months (payroll giving).

    3) Donate my time to volunteer at my charity’s fundraising events on weekends and nights (unpaid, outside of my working hours).

    4) Give to other charities by sponsoring friends and families in the various challenges they undertake. In recent months, these have included:
    a) sponsored my cousin for the Million Paws Walk (animal welfare charity)
    b) sponsored a friend for their volunteering efforts in Zimbabwe
    c) sponsored a friend for a month when they were fundraising for heart disease (her mum had a heart attack)

    5) Purchase tickets to other fundraising events (e.g. a trivia night for a local charity)

    6) Donate my old clothing and other unwanted goods – I rarely just throw things away.

    We are all so exceedingly privileged (why would you be online otherwise?) that I do judge others who don’t give. Everyone has the capacity to give in one way or another if they make just a little sacrifice – so if you don’t, there’s something seriously wrong with the way they view the world.

  • Reply nicoleandmaggie June 13, 2012 at 00:03

    We have a post on this coming up next Monday– different theories of why people give to charity. I’ll have to link back!

  • Reply Kerry June 13, 2012 at 00:35

    I totally agree about both the importance of giving and that it really does make us feel happier and healthier! I give 10% of my income to charity for religious reasons (I’m Jewish) and I’m part of the Giving What We Can movement, which encourages cost-effective giving, or getting the most ‘bang for your buck’ out of charitable donations. But I agree the most important thing is to start giving and make it a regular part of your budget.

  • Reply Untemplater June 13, 2012 at 03:49

    I have a sponsor child that I donate to through Children’s International. I picked them because I liked their business model and I wanted to hear and experience how my donations are helping a specific child and also be able to interact and send her motivational letters over the years. It’s been great and I can tell she’s been learning a lot in school and she’s growing up so fast!

  • Reply Miss T (@prairieecothrif) June 13, 2012 at 06:02

    I give to charity every month. I have an automatic debit come out of my account with a structured donation amount. Apart from this I often drop off unused items at shelters.

  • Reply girlwiththeredhair.com June 13, 2012 at 07:21

    I work for a non-profit and give $30 a month (taken directly off my paycheques) to the organization I work for! Before I started working here I only donated money from time-to-time, usually when someone was raising money (like a race or something).

  • Reply Jessica June 13, 2012 at 15:38

    I try to give 10% of my income to my church since they do a lot of urban renewal projects, and I like the results (in other words, they actually make a difference in people’s lives by fixing houses and providing job training, instead doing what government-sponsored urban renewal projects do– tearing down people’s homes and relocating people like cattle to make room for expensive condos). It’s located in the inner city, so that they have a better assessment of the needs of the area, and many of the pastors moved away from the suburbs into the neighborhood. Other than that I give money to friends who are fundraising for service trips or charity runs.

    I think giving is an important part of personal finance, even if you don’t have much money. I think $5 or $10 a month is a great start.

  • Reply SP June 13, 2012 at 17:09

    I do give, but a relatively small amount compared to my income. I did just make it automatic by having it auto-deducted from my paycheck each month, but I know I want to give beyond that.

  • Reply Mark @ Receipt Scanning Software June 16, 2012 at 13:04

    Just wondering. Have you ever considered going digital with the receipts? It’s easy to do these days and can save you a ton of time and energy. There are lots of options to get them scanned in and to work with them once scanned in. Some programs will even automatically organize all the data for you.

    • Reply eemusings June 16, 2012 at 13:20

      I get a lot of them via email, so it’s a matter of sitting down and printing them out. The ones I get on paper I file away in a folder. It’s really a five-minute job that I have been putting off for no good reason. I donate once a month, so 12 receipts is hardly unmanageable.

  • Reply Sense June 16, 2012 at 22:33

    I give $25 a month to the NZ heart association, although it’s to the lottery… I also have another $25 worked into the budget to give each month, but really I give wherever I feel led to give. Recently, it was to Ronald Poppo’s recovery fund. I just started thinking of him one night and his situation really got to me. A few months ago it was my friends’ stepfather’s memorial fund. I also donate unwanted/unused items to the Salvation Army and Goodwill. I’d like to start giving my time somewhere but I’m not sure to which organization.

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