1. fehmeen

    I try to prioritize my charitable activities but I know it’s usually my own expenses that take the lead. I’m working on that. I do, however, plan it but not in much detail. Like when the holiday season approaches, I know I have to pick a date and donate some money to whoever I think will benefit from it. Oh, and when I have a bit of a surplus in my savings at the end of the month, I give some of it away. I’ll be honest, I’m not the most charitable person I know and it’s something I’m working on.

    I did come across an interesting article that said it’s just better to donate money to charities instead of actual goods because they can draw more mileage from the money than we can. For instance, they get huge price discounts when they buy food in bulk, whereas we pay the retail price.

    • That’s a good point about certain organizations needing money, possibly more than goods. I do think, though, that if I can coupon and score items for free (or really cheaply), I actually probably can do better than they can – or it might be a close tie. However, my 16-pack bundles of TP aren’t going to keep their lights on, so I always try to give money too.

  2. Good for you! My mom is like you: She scoops up some deals when she sees them for the local food bank or women’s shelter. (Toiletries and diapers for the shelter. Food for, well, the food bank.)

    I’m glad you just include everything in the grocery budget. Trying to keep track of a separate “giving” category seems like it’d get tricky. Plus I suppose it’s another way to keep yourself a little extra frugal.

    • You’re right about the grocery game budget getting too crazy, Abigail. I thought about teasing out the donation item or two from each receipt, but I like feeling like I’m offering a seat at my kitchen table in a way. Plus, I’m all about tracking my spending to the penny, but I’m not about to be calculating tax on each individual item or making a bunch of separate purchases in the grocery line for separate receipts.

  3. I love the fact you’re donating that much money each month. That’s fabulous. While we donate money to local charities each month, the amount is way less than yours. Having said that, we do donate to other charities throughout the year as we see fit. Giving is a very important aspect of life. It’s great to be able to help other people.

    • Thank you for the kind words…and it’s definitely not a contest. 🙂 I hope to give more eventually – I don’t know that I’ll ever feel that we give “enough”. I do feel very privileged to be in a position to help others. You’re so right when you say giving is an important aspect of life!

  4. I’d say that I donate when the need and ability arises almost exclusively. I rarely plan to give ahead of time. Kudos to you for setting aside a specific figure each month for charity. You are definitely helping a lot of people/organizations with that total. $2,400 per year is very commendable. Thanks for sharing.

  5. Thanks for continuing to cover this topic, Penny! I like the idea of incremental giving like the grocery donations, because it is manageable for many people and meets a real need.

    We decide a minimum percent of our income to donate throughout the year, and this comes out in monthly chunks to various organizations. We also try to give as needs arise throughout the year, but the bulk of it is decided ahead of time. I think it is important to respond to timely needs, but for us, we give more if we decide ahead of time.

  6. I admit this is something I’m really struggling with lately. I strongly believe in charitable giving, but I also strongly believe in paying my loans back as quickly as possible, and it’s unfortunately very easy to think of money donated as money lost.

    I’ve actually never tried planned giving — rather, I usually donate whenever something specific comes up, like a friend asking for contributions for a cause, or when Wikipedia or NPR are asking for money. My family is also pretty into doing charitable donations in lieu of birthdays/Mother’s Day/Father’s Day gifts. But there’s no real schedule or goal in terms of amounts. This is something I’m a bit uncomfortable with — I’d like to figure out a solution that feels better to me, like I’m actually making giving a priority.

    I should really do the food panty thing. I actually don’t even know if the new grocery store I just started going to has a food panty box, but I will definitely check that out this weekend.

  7. It’s been awhile since I’ve been able to comment. I love that you’re talking about this and opening it up in such a true-to-life way. So many people just say, “Don’t forget to give a little.”

    I am loving it. You’ve inspired me to work this into my grocery routine, now that Mike and I will be settling down again. I think it’s awesome.

  8. I like how you save small and give big. You may not be Bill or Melinda Gates but you are helping another family buy their groceries entirely (if you add up). If only 10% of the world did that, there will be no more poverty in the world.

    I am a lousy planner when it comes to budgeting. I have tried to bugdet before, but it is so difficult, as my expenses are so different each month. But I do not buy anything I do not need (most of the time) and I feel like I can do it without budgeting ( I know I can do better). I just track my income and expenses. But I do want to budget just for experiment to see how it works.

    When it comes to charity, It is almost the same. I get requests from friends and family occasionally about some genuine causees and I donate to them. I also sponsor a student in Nepal for his education,which has been the most rewarding experience.

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