The desire to give to charity is a noble ambition. However, for those who are in debt, it might seem more like a fantasy than something that could become a reality. If you would like to give to charity, but you’re debt, you will need to be careful about how you dispense your funds in order to ensure a positive outcome on all fronts.
Obviously, you first need to take care of your own financial responsibilities. Make sure that you have enough money to pay all of your expenses on a monthly basis, including making more than the minimum payment on any outstand debts that you may have. Just as charity is important, it is also important to look after yourself and your family properly. Giving away money that you actually need to pay your own expenses is a plan that won’t last long.
Go back over your last three months’ worth of financial records and see if you could have included a charitable contribution in your budget at that time without going into the red. If you see that there is room in the budget for such a donation, you just may be able to add charitable giving to your list of monthly expenses.
How can you practice giving money away? By not really giving it away – at least not at first.
Once you decide how much money you are going to donate each month, take that money and set it aside in another one of your accounts for a ‘holding’ period. For example, you could take the money out of your main checking account each month for three months and stash it in your savings account.
If you get to the end of the three months and you are still comfortable giving that money away, go ahead and make the donation. If not, you will have discovered that you can’t actually afford to be making regular donations just yet.
Only Give to the Best
All charities are not created equal, so make sure you have picked out quality charities before you send off a check. There are plenty of resources available online where you can look into the records and background of each registered charity.
Obviously you can pick and choose causes that are important to you, but no matter what the cause, make sure the charity you select is one that is going to spend your money in the right places. There are plenty of great charities doing excellent work all around the world, so it shouldn’t take too long to find worthy destinations for your donation.
As long as you have done careful planning on your budget prior to sending the money, you can sit back and feel good about the help you have provided to people in need.
Do you give to charity on a regular basis? How do you budget for your charitable donations? Do you consider giving time to a charity if you’re unable to give financially?
Photo courtesy of: Vicki DeLoach
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