Having a tight budget often leads to eliminating charitable giving. There are a number of reasons for giving, the paramount one being to help someone or some group of people. I wanted to find creative ways to keep giving even during my tight budget years and can now say that if you break some rules, giving is still possible.
Only tax deductible giving counts
While it is true that we need to take advantage of every tax break we can get, it is not true that the only giving that counts is tax deductible giving--well, that is--if we can agree that the real point of giving is to help someone. If we agree to this, then there are no limits on possible kinds of charitable giving.
Never give handouts
This rule seems reasonable, doesn't it? After all, people who ask for handouts will probably just waste it in some irresponsible manner--or they might use it for food. Perhaps they will use it for food for their child who is hungry because mom or pop--or both--lost their job. Or they might use it for food for themselves, needed because they are alone in the world and out of a job.
Consider, if you are on a tight budget because you lost your job or are living through a family emergency, you may not have more than a dollar or two to give in the first place. What better way to give it than on the possibility (even the remote possibility) that someone might get food.
Giving handouts when asked allows you to give from what you've got whether--on your tight budget--you've got $20, $10 or $1. For example, in a recent tight budget year, I saw a woman and her 5-year-old son standing outside a grocery store with a sign saying she'd lost her job and her son was hungry. I had $3 left until my next pay day. I gave her $2 with the words, "I lost my own job a few years back; keep your chin up." I don't know how much food $2 bought, but I'm surely glad I gave it to her as a handout.
Giving change doesn't count
What if, on your tight budget, you only have a dollar or two and a handful of change? If we agree that the object of giving is to help someone, then giving change counts. If perhaps you think $0.25 is too insignificant to give, just think of it as part of the collection of $0.25 that others will help build, and pretty soon you can envision the price of a sandwich accumulated.
There are other ways to make giving change count. Check-out stands often display collection pots for Muscular Dystrophy or other illness foundations. Giving change there counts. There are also often opportunities to add a $1 to $5 donation to your grocery total that goes to the local Food Bank. Giving a dollar's worth of change there counts. Giving change does count if we agree giving is to do good for someone; if we agree to breaking the rules about tax deductible giving; and if we agree to giving handouts.
Disbelieve Abundance Theory
Now here is an interesting rule. It says reason and rational thought requires not believing in Abundance Theory. Well, this maybe so, but Abundance Theory has one interesting tenet that is worth thinking about. It says that one of the first steps in increasing your own cash flow is to increase someone else's cash flow. When we have tight budgets, this is surely what we yearn for: increased cash flow. Since we're breaking the rules about tax deductible giving and about giving handouts and about giving change, we might just as well break the rule about disbelieving Abundance Theory. We might this way give ourselves a little motivation to keep finding creative ways to give charitably on a tight budget. And if we wind up doing good for ourselves while doing good for someone else, well, that will be good too.
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- Volunteering & Philanthropy
- tax deductible