There is no strict manual on how to be generous. Charitable giving is a wonderful thing, no matter who it comes from, or how big (or small) the amount donated! Giving makes the world of difference for so many, so regardless of what you can give, do your best to give what you can. That being said, you should do your research into who you’re going to give to and how the money will be spent. For example, you may be wondering “does sponsoring a child really work?”, to which you can have a look at the link and see what impact it could have. With all this in mind, today I am going to give you some perspective on how to include charity in your budget.
I have heard from many friends that are involved in charity, that they give 10% of their income as often as they can. But they are human and sometimes other costs spring up that they cannot account for. I would be lying if I said that me and my friends have always been able to donate 10% of our incomes. This is why it’s majorly important for bigger sources, such as food chains, to give back to charities. If each chain restaurant, coffee shop, or music venue started giving back to the community, there would be less pressure for those people with personal bank accounts.
I personally, felt even more pressure with my charity donations when my income gradually rose. I knew that my donation was going to make an impact more than some others might, so I wanted to make sure that I picked a charity that got me really excited. Maybe, that is just an excuse. My friend told me recently that non-profits can now streamline their analysis process and create action plans in real-time with software from firms like UpMetrics. I was fascinated by this idea. By doing so, charitable organizations can keep track of all the funding they receive for their projects. Perhaps when I conduct research, I will need to pay attention to such organizations.
If you are serious about consistently supporting causes with your money, do your best to take the money you want to donate is your excess money after everything is paid for. Do not put yourself in debt or other problems to support a charity, you suffering as well helps no one.
I find, when I include “giving” as part of my overall budget I remember to donate consistently and consciously to causes that I feel are worthwhile. For 2020, my partner and I had $4,000 budgeted. This includes birthday gifts, Christmas stuff, favors for people, sponsoring friend’s charity events, and setting up some savings for our new niece!
The main point is that you should not try and take up a big chunk of your budget straight away. Add a little bit more as you go on to charity-related efforts. This way you can better gauge what spare money you can consistently donate. Because as many of us know, monthly outgoings can change from month to month based on all kinds of chaotic life events.
You could even start with just $1 a month and build it up a dollar a month until you find a stable point for your budget. Personally, I kept doing this and it has added up to $40 a month for me but I know that not everyone can afford to commit that much a month to charity and that is fine. The slow-building strategy lets you get more into the habit of giving. That is what it is all about.
For all my broke friends out there, you can always donate your time instead of your money. Your time can bring so much value and happiness and in some situations is better than donating money. You can go and feed homeless people in homeless shelters, feed dogs at dog shelters, or provide mental health support at relevant charities. It costs nothing to help the causes that really matter to you if you donate your time.
To conclude, rethinking how we view charity donating in our budgets can help us consistently do more for the causes we care about. Building up the dollar amount you donate month on month is an awesome way to find the financial sweet spot for how much you are willing to give up each month. But if you cannot afford to donate any money you can always donate your time. Do not forget that!