One of the first things to go when people start making their first budget is donating to charity. When money is tight, it’s tempting to save all of it to go toward your own living expenses and financial goals.
As I was setting up my first budget, I thought long and hard about wether or not I should be setting aside some money for charity each month or not.
My first budget was pretty tight and I didn’t have much money to spare or even for things like entertainment and other discretionary spending. In the end, I did decide to allocate a little bit of my budget to be used for charitable giving.
Here are three ways I make a difference despite the small size of charitable giving category in my monthly budget.
Give Money Locally
Whenever possible, I try to give my charity money to a local cause. Lots of national foundations and charities have high overhead costs and because I want my small donation to actually be used for doing good, rather than paying for advertising or salaries, I tend to give money to local causes instead.
Over the past few years, there have been several members of my community have been in need of financial assistance to pay for overwhelming medical bills and travel costs to seek their medical treatment. These are the people I like to give my money to because I know them and I know they are truly struggling to make ends meet.
Another thing I am passionate about supporting is entrepreneurship, especially by women starting their own businesses to support themselves and their families to get out of poverty. There are several peer lending websites that allow you to make small business loans to support these women in their quest to escape poverty. Kiva is one that I have used a few times in the past to support these people’s dreams.
I like knowing that I helped a woman start her own business to achieve financial freedom. Plus as long as you get paid back, you only have to shell out the$25 once. After that you can just keeping using the same $25 over and over to support different women’s dreams.
Donate Your Belongings
If you truly cannot afford to give money, perhaps instead you can donate some of your belongings.
Each year I give several large bags and boxes of stuff to local second-hand shops. My donations are supporting the owner of the shop, as she sells the items cheaply for profit, and also the people that shop at the stores as they are able to buy things they need very cheaply.
Chances are that you have at least somethings you no longer want or need that you could donate to those in need. Donating your stuff doesn’t require you to set aside money for it in your monthly budget either. It’s a great way to get rid of clutter and help someone at the same time!
What is your favorite way give to charity?