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Charitable Giving

February 13th, 2013 at 04:52 am

I was in an interesting conversation with another person - (contrary to when I have conversations with myself) about charitable giving.

Now, I have not yet posted my total debts and whatnot on this blog (will be getting to that shortly - I do have it all in a spreadsheet!), but I do have some debts.

And even with the debts, I budget charitable donations each and every month.

This other person basically started lecturing me about how I could use that money to get out of debt faster.

I responded (as politely as I could), that personal finances were exactly that - [bPERSONAL[/b]. And while yes, the money I budget for charity could assist me in getting out of debt faster, I personally feel a sense of obligation in charitable giving.

For the record, I am not giving a record breaking amount. My charitable donations this year are projected to be $650. Broken into 26 pay periods, we are looking at about $25 a pay period.

I personally feel that even with my debts that my family and I are extremely blessed. My children have never felt the pangs of starvation, the uncertainty of where they will sleep, or any of the other discomforting and sometimes horrifying things that occur in this world. We have more than we need and that $25 a pay check is not going to take food out of their mouths or get us kicked out of our home.

And while the amount of money I give every two weeks may not change the world, it assists in comforting 13 people every two weeks with a warm meal, a safe place to sleep, and medical attention here in the United States.

I have a financial plan, and I want out of debt. But I don't think I should stop helping my fellow man completely simply for the reason of reducing my debt 1 to 2 months earlier than projected. At some point, your own values have to come into play and isn't the point of budgeting to prioritize what is important to YOU and YOUR family?

What do you guys think about charitable giving while paying off debt? Is it something that you continue(d) to do - or something that you put off for the short term?

7 Responses to “Charitable Giving”

  1. Looking Forward Says:

    I think that giving is important too, so I wouldn't completely stop giving.
    Would you consider cutting your donations back a little (just $5-$10 each payday) to put toward your debt?

  2. Carolina Girl Says:

    I think that your wanting to help others less fortunate is wonderful. I truly believe you will be blessed for your generosity. Yes, this amount may take you a little longer to meet your goals but the benefit someone receives due to your unselfishness is priceless. I heard a story on the radio of a little boy on the seashore tossing back starfish one at a time (and there were hundreds). A man walked by and asked him why he was doing that. He said to the boy "you can't possibly help all these starfish so what difference will it make?" The boy politely answered the man as he rescued another starfish "it made a difference to that one". You are making a difference. Don't ever forget that. It's not always about the money - in my humble opinion.

  3. creditcardfree Says:

    I think the amount you are giving is reasonable while in debt. There are many people that give a large portion (10%+) to charities while in debt. I think those are unbalanced. Some also look at giving of time when in debt rather actual cash.

    Yes it is important to give! Keep up the great work.

  4. MonkeyMama Says:

    I think the lecture was uncalled for.

    I personally am not a huge fan of charitable giving, BUT, I think it's just because I have seen so much where when one is irresponsible with their finances, they are irresponsible with their giving. You would be surprised how many people I have seen bankrupt their way through charitable giving. I try to point this out once in a while. If someone is giving to charity, in a reasonable manner, and is happy with that choice than I have NO PROBLEM with that. IF they feel guilted into charity and can't afford it, I have a HUGE PROBLEM with that. So I try to say every once in a while "screw charity." It's something people feel guilted into a lot of the time, and I don't think some of the financial gurus do anyone any favors telling them to tithe 10%, etc. The truth is that the average higher income family gives about 3%. Often 0%.

    Anyway, I don't see how $25 per paycheck makes any difference. We personally have given very little to charity since my spouse has been unemployed (10 years). But the point is we can give far more time. & it doesn't have to be to a formal organization. Just yesterday my dh helped someone out who needed some daycare for 1/2 hour and was in a bind. We are helping people every single day. That is far more rewarding to us than writing a check. I also strongly believe that charity begins at home. So I would consider thinking through other things you can do versus just writing a check. But, I don't think the $25 really matters that much. It depends on the big picture.

  5. ceejay74 Says:

    I, too, am in debt, and I too have a fixed budget item to give to charity. It's very important to us, as important as some of our more selfish luxuries.

    When my family was really in the weeds financially, we didn't give anything except a few bucks here and there. But once we felt like we were on a stable track of debt repayment within a time frame we were comfortable with, we started giving. It's just about 1% of our household income, so nothing crazy, but it makes us feel a bit less helpless in the face of all the need in the world. And it makes a small difference in people's lives.

  6. CB in the City Says:

    Charitable giving has always been a part of my life, on a small scale. It may not be a "need" but it is a wiser and more satisfying use of funds than spending on indulgences. I'll tell you, I am in the charity "business" and it does amaze me how much widespread "un-generosity" I see among the very well-heeled. I think those of us with low incomes and who are struggling with debt but still give a little should give ourselves a pat on the back!

  7. MissAngel Says:

    I have upped my chartiable contributions for the year, even though I am not out of debt. I believe it is important to give back, even a little bit. It helps to make me feel less deprived if I'm able to give some away.

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