It might surprise you that I believe that giving is critically important to frugal living and gaining wealth, and that I’m not alone in this belief because giving is promoted by many personal finance experts. Giving looks different to everyone, but is always a reminder of what we have that others don’t. When I get in a cycle of “oh em gee, I’m so broke,” sometimes I need a reality check to realize that no, if I were actually broke, I would be choosing between necessities and truly struggling. Not being able to go out for lunch or a beer does not equal broke. I have a house. I have a reliable car. I have more stuff than I care to admit. I have two totally spoiled dogs. I find ways to give because I can and that makes me want to. By giving, I can use my resources to help someone else become successful, and remind myself that, while I do work really hard for what I have, a lot of the reasons I’m able to be successful and have more than enough are through the lottery of birth and my societal privilege as a middle-class white woman in the United States. Let’s be real: not everyone can blog about things like yoga and kombucha, or finding the best deal on a CSA (that’s a post you can look forward to), or getting rid of all the stuff I wanted and then decided I didn’t want anymore. My blog is how to be hipster as shit without breaking the bank. I am fully aware of how ridiculous that is, and I give because I am grateful that I am able to realize this and I want to give back.
What giving looks like in my world
- I currently give to Serve 6.8 because of the work that the Murphy Center does to advocate for the homeless and those in poverty in Fort Collins. Sister Mary Alice Murphy is basically a Fort Collins celebrity because of her commitment to helping those in need in Larimer County. The amount of resources that they offer to help people get out of or avoid homelessness is incredible.
- I used to work in the Division of Advancement at Colorado State University and now work in Academic Affairs. For the last four years, I have seen every day how donations to all areas of the university help our students succeed in their degree programs and as graduates. As a student at the University of Wyoming, I benefited from donor-funded scholarships. Giving to public land-grant universities will always be one of my top causes.
- I believe in the power of social entrepreneurship. I would rather support a for-profit company that gives to people in need or provides a living wage to the people producing the products, than spend a little less (or sometimes more…barf) and have all that money go straight into the pockets of the company bigwigs, while the people doing the bulk of the work are struggling to get by. TOMS (provides shoes and eye care to those in need throughout the world) and Pura Vida Bracelets (provides full-time jobs for the artisans producing their bracelets in Costa Rica) are a couple of examples of for-profit companies that are doing great things. I do always look for a coupon or discount, though. If my TOMS only cost $30 and a kid in Africa still gets a pair of shoes to protect his or her feet from flesh-eating parasites or enables him or her to attend school, then awesome.
- I also believe in the power of microloans. Organizations like the Grameen Bank and Kiva provide loans to those who would normally not have access to credit, working to end the cycle of poverty by enabling the recipient to start or build up a business.
- Sometimes people just deserve to have their day made and I try to pay it forward as best I can, without regard to who is on the receiving end.
- We are currently fostering a dog through A Soft Place to Land because we believe in helping rescue animals. Banjo andPrexy are both rescues and we can’t imagine them not being loved. Banjo was on the kill list at a shelter in Kansas after being found as a stray and he is probably one of the greatest dogs that has ever lived (this is just science). The difference between two dogs and three is minimal, especially when they are all under 15 lbs. If we can take in a foster to help a rescue save another dog, and ourcuddles and dog treats are going to make Petal happy until she finds her forever home, then we’ll gladly have another puppy around.
Do you give? What causes are important to you?