When I took a close look at my 2015 spending a few weeks ago, I discovered that I had spent a grand total of $300 on gifts and donations in the entire year. That made me sad.
I claim to want to make the world a better place, and to care deeply about my relationships. I’ve even written about the moral choice to save a large portion of my income instead of giving it away. But I realized I was just talking about it, not actually doing anything.
So, for 2016, I decided to change it. I set up a recurring $50 monthly donation to a charity that works with people with developmental disabilities, ensuring that I’d donate at least $600 this year.
I also gave myself an additional $25/month to give away. This is for things like friends’ Kickstarters or causes that I just run across on the internet and want to support. This month, I was able to use it for a friend of a friend’s medical GoFundMe.
$25 isn’t a lot. And maybe it feels a little less special to receive money from someone and know that they had budgeted that amount before even hearing about your tragedy (if so, sorry friend).
But I know myself. I know that last-year me would have seen that fundraiser and gone back and forth over and over about whether or not I should donate and told myself that I would once I got paid and then ended up forgetting about it until the next time I talked to my friend at which point I would feel awful because I hadn’t just stepped up and done my tiny bit to help.
I can get so wrapped up in my own efforts to save that I undercut doing my part to be a decent human being. So this year, I’m budgeting it in. It’s only $900, but it’s something.
Do you budget for charity? Or just give when you feel like it?