Doubting Your Charitable Giving

charitable giving enough doubtsLast month, our school participated in a coin competition. While I’m not entirely keen on asking students for money, especially right after all the annual back-to-school fundraisers that also ask kids to sell things to the community for money, I rolled with it. The money was going towards a good cause, and many of my kids were enthusiastic about it. So I promoted it. We counted–and recounted and recounted again–the change and graphed our progress each day. They were pretty pleased. Until it was announced that a student from another class brought in $100. Then, the coins stopped appearing.

At first, I didn’t understand it. Wouldn’t that inspire you to give more? I made more persuasive announcements. I donated money. I had kids make announcements. Still, the box sat mostly empty. About that same time, I read about Mr. Money Mustache and Physician on Fire giving away $100,000. Then, Leigh set up a donor-advised fund. And suddenly, that empty box made too much sense. Continue reading “Doubting Your Charitable Giving”

Doubting Your Charitable Giving

Montana Money Advenures: Best Money Spent

montanaMs. Montana from Montana Money Adventures is on the blog today sharing her take on the best money spent series. Last week, a good money test was spending in ways that gets you more bang for your buck. This week, Ms. Montana has a new way to determine your best money spent: the 2x test. Continue reading “Montana Money Advenures: Best Money Spent”

Montana Money Advenures: Best Money Spent

If I Were Rich, Where Would I Be?

rich“Oh, dear. Bread and beer. If I were rich, I wouldn’t be here.” My grandma used to singsong this jingle when I was little. I would eagerly ask her where she would be. She was always quick to lock her fingers in mine and return a reminder that we could go wherever I wanted.

Now that I’m older, I’ve started to think on this again. Where would I be? What would I do? How would I answer her question? My greatest wish would be to spend one more day with her. But if I can’t do that, the least I could do is come up with an answer to her question. Continue reading “If I Were Rich, Where Would I Be?”

If I Were Rich, Where Would I Be?

Ivory Ella: The Elephant in My T-Shirt Drawer

ivory-ellaI suppose I can blame Marie Kondo for this one. Or maybe it was Gwyneth Paltrow and her GOOP tutorial that sent me over the edge. I hate t-shirts. Even since I’ve started decluttering, I’ve been haunted by the sheer volume of t-shirts taking up prime real estate in my closet closets. Gulp. Sure, there was one ill-fated, fold-them-up-like-perfect-envelopes attempt to KonMari them into submission. But when I finally brought myself to unfold the cotton origami masterpieces, I found more wrinkles than I would have had I left them on the floor. You know what doesn’t spark joy? Ironing.

So there’s a simple solution here, right? Stop buying t-shirts. But almost every t-shirt I own is the direct result of participating in a work-related fundraiser or giving to a charitable organization. And I’m all for bucking the norm and setting myself apart, but I haven’t quite figured out how to do it and not look like a complete jerkface when the rest of my colleagues are rocking shirts for the local children’s hospital. What’s a woman on a mission to declutter to do? Continue reading “Ivory Ella: The Elephant in My T-Shirt Drawer”

Ivory Ella: The Elephant in My T-Shirt Drawer

Iced Tea & The Strip

Iced TeaI did something in Vegas that made quite a few passersby uncomfortable. In a city known for tolerating proclivities of all kinds, I take pride in the fact that I literally stopped foot traffic on the Strip. Most people froze; some continued walking but executed a wide berth. A few mouths went slack jaw. One person pointed while another shook his head.

All because I gave money to a homeless person. Never mind Chewbacca and Yoda dressed up in costumes too matted to pass muster at an actual theme park. Ignore the women posing for photos in g-strings and pasties while families scoot their children down the sidewalk. Pay no mind to the men snapping stiff cards dotted with promises of a good time that is one 800 number away. Acknowledge someone’s humanity, though, and you’ve clearly crossed the line. Continue reading “Iced Tea & The Strip”

Iced Tea & The Strip

5 Things to Do Today Besides Buying a Mattress

WeekendI’m not entirely sure how it happened, but mattress sales on Memorial Day are ubiquitous across the United States. Then, there are the home good sales. And the linen sales. And the lawn furniture. And the list goes on. While I have nothing against scoring a bargain on something you actually need, no one should feel that shopping–or spending–is a requisite part of a three-day weekend. If you need a little inspiration, check out these no-spend ideas: Continue reading “5 Things to Do Today Besides Buying a Mattress”

5 Things to Do Today Besides Buying a Mattress

Reframing the Question About Celebrations

ReframingOver the past week, there’s been a lot of celebrating going on in my world: a milestone birthday followed by Mother’s Day celebrations with my mom and again with my mother-in-law. There have been laughter and sweets, photos and games. And yes, there have even been gifts.

One thing I’ve noticed post-celebration–even more than the tightness of my pants*–is the way we, as a society, tend to talk about celebrations. What’s become especially interesting to me is the way we seem to want to measure their success. “What did you get?” If I didn’t field that question twenty different ways in the day following my thirtieth birthday, I’d be shocked. I tried to talk about the surprise party my husband threw. I tried to mention how friends from high school, college, and work all went in on the surprise. But all anyone really seemed to care about is what I unwrapped. Continue reading “Reframing the Question About Celebrations”

Reframing the Question About Celebrations

Our Current Giving Practices and Goals

Current (2)Earlier in the week, I penned a call to giving. Of course, volunteering time and talent makes a difference. I’d like to think that Mr. P and I both know that well from firsthand experience. But charitable giving matters just as much–maybe, in some ways, even more. As a result, Mr. P and I work to prioritize charitable giving as we pursue financial independence. To keep the act of giving at the forefront of our minds, we include it in our monthly budget, but we also make sure to include weekly giving when we grocery shop.  Continue reading “Our Current Giving Practices and Goals”

Our Current Giving Practices and Goals

You Don’t Have to Give, But You Absolutely Should

A Call to (1)The oxygen mask on an airplane analogy is a cornerstone in life lessons. It essentially boils down to the notion that we need to help ourselves before we can effectively help anyone else. I get it. What I don’t understand, though, is the fact that so many people feel that they not only have to have their masks positioned just so, but they must also upgrade to an elite model and make sure that they can use their own masks in perpetuity before even deigning to glance at struggling passengers. Some of whom are seated in the very same row.

My fear is that far too often we allow the notion of personal finance to become insular. Yes, personal finance is about arranging your own finances in such a way that your money is ultimately able to work for you. Not the other way around. But to what end?  Continue reading “You Don’t Have to Give, But You Absolutely Should”

You Don’t Have to Give, But You Absolutely Should

Three Overlooked Donation Options for Food Pantries

Food PantryWhen it comes to making a donation to a food pantry or a food bank, I used to think it was a no brainer. My mind mapped out a Venn diagram of sorts that considered what my dietary staples included, what I knew to be non-perishable items, and then I tried to scoop up whatever overlapped. Rice, peanut butter, canned vegetables, canned fruit, noodles, pasta sauces, soups, sugar, flour, salt, in addition to other baby and personal care items*.

Still, I realize that a big part of what food banks and food pantries do besides keep people fed is to also provide dignity. With that in mind, I’ve tried to expand my donations. If you’re looking to push your giving beyond the basics, here are a few of my favorite items to donate.  Continue reading “Three Overlooked Donation Options for Food Pantries”

Three Overlooked Donation Options for Food Pantries