charitable donations http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/16577/all en-US Can I Write It Off as Charity? http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482607478.jpg" alt="Woman learning if she can write it off as charity" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>A family member of mine has won some pretty sweet prizes through charity raffles. They have won tablets, and even a huge flat screen TV. When I asked them their secret, they said that they buy a lot of tickets, since raffle tickets are tax-deductible.</p> <p>But wait. Is buying raffle tickets through a charity event really something you can write off on your taxes, especially when you get to take home a prize worth more than $500?</p> <p>In short, no. More on that in a minute.</p> <p>Just because you give money to what you consider to be a good cause, doesn't mean the IRS considers it tax deductible.</p> <p>Here is a quick guide to what you can and cannot write off as charitable deductions.</p> <h2>1. Charity Balls and Fundraiser Buys</h2> <p>Many charities and churches sell fundraiser items, such as gift certificates, cookbooks, or other merchandise. You might think buying such products is considered a charitable contribution. But it's not in the eyes of the tax man. The IRS says that you cannot claim a tax deduction if you <a href="https://www.irs.gov/uac/eight-tips-for-deducting-charitable-contributions" target="_blank">exchanged money for goods</a>. &quot;If you receive a benefit because of your contribution such as merchandise, tickets to a ballgame, or other goods and services, then you can deduct only the amount that exceeds the fair market value of the benefit received,&quot; according to the webpage.</p> <p>This means that if you paid $120 for a $100 massage gift certificate in the name of charity, then you can only write off $20 as a donation. For charity balls, many times the organization will tell you if you can write off a portion of your ticket. However, you must deduct the fair-market cost of your meal, venue, and entertainment from the ticket cost &mdash; even though the charity may have paid little or nothing for those expenses. In many cases, once you subtract those costs from your ticket price, there is nothing left for you to write off.</p> <p>So, if you really don't want that cookbook or a night at a charity event, but you want to donate and get a tax exemption, then donate money instead. If you donate cash or a check, make sure you get a receipt. You can also donate online to many organizations with a credit card, which will give you the proper documentation for tax purposes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-give-back-to-charity?ref=internal" target="_blank">Best Credit Cards That Give Back to Charity</a>)</p> <h2>2. Raffle Tickets<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Do not make the same mistake my relative made. The IRS guide to charitable contributions specifically states that you <a href="https://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p526.pdf" target="_blank">cannot write off</a> any raffle tickets, lottery tickets, or bingo games purchased for charity. This is true whether you win something or not.</p> <p>In fact, these raffle tickets are considered a bet, and you can write it off as a <em>gambling loss</em> deduction. However, you can only write off a gambling loss if you also report gambling winnings that same year. Gambling losses are only deductible up to the amount of gambling winnings, and must be reported on an IRS Form 1040.</p> <h2>3. Race or Walk Donations<strong> </strong></h2> <p>Participants in a charity walk or race cannot write-off the entry fee. This is because you are paying to participate in the run or event. If you were to do a non-charity walk or racing event, you would still pay an entry fee.</p> <p>If you donate money to an event like a cancer walk, not counting the entry fee, you can write it off because this is considered a straight donation. However, it is important to have proper documentation of your donation. Online donations are the easiest way to track your contributions and ensure your money goes directly to the organization.</p> <h2>4. Promised Donations or Pledges</h2> <p>Many charities hold pledge drives or allow individuals to sign up to give a certain amount of money each month. You cannot write off promised donations or pledges that you have not yet fulfilled. For example, if I signed up with Charity A to give $50 a month for a year in November 2016, I cannot claim that I donated $600 to the charity. Instead, I will only be able to write off $100 worth, for November and December. Only the actual money that's left your hands is deductible.</p> <h2>5. Political Donations<strong> </strong></h2> <p>No matter who you voted for in the 2016 history-making election, you cannot write off any contributions you made to that party. This applies to all elections, not just the presidential vote. If you gave money to political organizations, you cannot write it off. Period. This rule applies to groups that lobby for law changes, as well.</p> <h2>6. Donated Time or Blood<strong> </strong></h2> <p>No, you cannot write off donated time or blood, but thank you for doing so. Your generosity here won't lower your tax bill, but it will make a difference.</p> <h2>7. Donated Frequent Flyer Miles</h2> <p>Donating miles is a great way to make sure they get used for a good cause. However, you cannot write off your donation of miles. The IRS views your miles as a coupon or bonus discount. In the same tune, if you paid for a business trip or a trip for medical reasons with frequent flyer miles, you would not be able to write off the trip as a business or medical expense. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-sell-or-donate-your-airline-miles?ref=internal" target="_blank">6 Ways to Sell or Donate Your Airline Miles</a>)</p> <h2>8. Donated Clothing or Household Items</h2> <p>Donating unused items to Goodwill and other charities is a great way to clean out your closet or garage, and get a small tax kickback to boot. However, you are only allowed to deduct the fair market value of the item. For example, if you donated a designer purse that you paid $1,000 for, you cannot write off $1,000. Instead, you would need to claim the resale or eBay value of the item, which might only be $400.</p> <p>There are a few apps that make tracking donations easier. <a href="https://turbotax.intuit.com/personal-taxes/itsdeductible/" target="_blank">Turbotax's ItsDeductible </a>app allows you to track donations and will help you figure out the value of the item that you can write off. <a href="https://www.taxact.com/support/766/2016/donation-assistant" target="_blank">Donation Assistant Through TaxAct</a> allows you to take photos of items you donate and receipts to stay on track all year long.</p> <h2>Make Sure Your Charities Are Truly Charities</h2> <p>It is important to make sure that you donate to charities that are eligible for tax write-offs. The charity must fall under section 501(c) (3) of the tax code. Don't assume that all nonprofits fit under the charity guidelines. When in doubt, ask the charity for their tax ID number for deduction purposes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away?ref=seealso" target="_blank">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</a>)</p> <p>Generally, donations to organizations that are considered public charities are tax-deductible. The IRS classifies most churches, hospitals, qualified medical research organizations affiliated with hospitals, schools, colleges, and universities as public charities. The IRS also allows you to <a href="https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/search-for-charities" target="_blank">search organizations</a> that qualify to receive a tax-deductible contribution on its site.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-eneriz">Ashley Eneriz</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-10"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">Cleaning Out for a Cause: Make a Noncash Tax-Deductible Donation</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/charitable-giving-get-a-receipt">Charitable giving - get a receipt</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-should-make-these-11-easy-donations-before-time-runs-out">You Should Make These 11 Easy Donations Before Time Runs Out</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-last-minute-ways-to-cut-your-2016-tax-bill">7 Last-Minute Ways to Cut Your 2016 Tax Bill</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-tax-tricks-to-try-if-youre-stuck-with-student-loans">8 Tax Tricks to Try if You&#039;re Stuck With Student Loans</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes 501(c) (3) charitable donations charity donating giving tax deductions write offs Fri, 10 Feb 2017 10:30:37 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1889190 at http://www.wisebread.com Improve Your Giving With 5 Smart Charity Tricks http://www.wisebread.com/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-470950762.jpg" alt="make the most out of giving to charity" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Year's end is fast approaching, and now's a good time to pull out your wallet and make a charitable donation. Deductions, baby! Of course, donating to charity isn't just about the tax advantages; your contribution can make a difference in someone's life. Nonprofits will accept donations of any size, so there's no excuse to hold back your generosity. Still, there are ways to make the most out of being charitable. Take a look.</p> <h2>1. Select an Organization You're Passionate About<strong> </strong></h2> <p>You can give to any cause, whether it's one that helps women, children, churches, hospitals, or veterans. Some people choose a random organization to support, which is perfectly okay. But to make the most out of being charitable, choose a cause that means something to you.</p> <p>Maybe you have a relative or friend who is visually impaired. If so, you could make a donation to the American Foundation for the Blind or a similar organization. Or if you've been affected by childhood cancer, a donation to St. Jude might be up your alley.</p> <p>Whatever organization you choose, make sure it's reputable to avoid scam artists. It's unfortunate, but some people will take advantage of your generosity. In 2015, the Federal Trade Commission busted and <a href="https://www.ftc.gov/news-events/press-releases/2015/05/ftc-all-50-states-dc-charge-four-cancer-charities-bilking-over">charged four fake cancer charities</a> for scamming more than $187 million from generous donors. Do your research and learn about organizations before you give a dime. Sites like <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a> and <a href="http://www.givewell.org/">Givewell</a> will help you evaluate.</p> <h2>2. Ask About the Charity's Needs</h2> <p>Although your favorite charities may accept any donation you give, you can make the most out of being charitable by contacting individual charities to see if they have any specific needs.</p> <p>Just about every charity can benefit from a cash donation. If you don't have the resources to write a check, you can donate old items cluttering your house. But depending on the item, the charity could already have a stockpile in their inventory and a shortage of other items. If you know what an organization needs, you increase the likelihood of your donation being put to good use.</p> <h2>3. Put Donations on Autopilot</h2> <p>Even if you have every intention of making regular charitable donations, it's easy to get busy and forget. Fortunately, there's a simple way to be charitable &mdash; put your donations on autopilot.</p> <p>Many organizations allow givers to set up automatic or recurring monthly donations. Give your favorite charity a call to see if this is an option, and then ask for details on setting up your account. Some credit cards also have online portals that allow cardholders to donate to a chosen charity using their credit cards, plus the option of donating their rewards points and cash back rewards to charity. You can also apply for a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-give-back-to-charity?ref=internal">credit card that partners with an organization that gives back</a> for your purchases.</p> <h2>4. Save Receipts for Tax Purposes</h2> <p>One benefit of being charitable is the opportunity to write off donations on your tax return and reduce your tax obligation. This can result in a lower tax bill or a bigger refund.</p> <p>There are a number of ways to save with charitable donations, so talk to your tax preparer to see how you can get the most bang for your generosity. For example, you can donate appreciated stock that you've held for at least a year to avoid long-term capital gains tax. You'll also get a tax deduction, which turns your good deed into a win-win situation.</p> <p>If you don't own stock and want to donate cash, keep in mind that any amount $250 or more requires proof of the donation, either with a bank statement or a receipt from the organization. If you're giving a non-cash donation (clothing, gifts, household items, etc.), contributions greater than $500 requires filling out IRS Form 8283 and attaching the form to your tax return. If your donation is greater than $5,000, you'll need a qualified appraisal to benefit from the donation.</p> <h2>5. Make Sure the Organization Qualifies for a Deduction</h2> <p>Just because an organization accepts donations doesn't mean it's an <a href="https://www.irs.gov/charities-non-profits/charitable-organizations/charitable-contribution-deductions">IRS qualified charity</a>. If you itemize your tax return and deduct charitable contributions, you can write off deductions up to 20% to 50% of your adjusted gross income. Larger donations can lower your taxable income significantly, but you'll only reduce your tax liability if your money goes to the right organizations.</p> <p>The IRS explains the rules for determining whether a cause is a qualifying organization for a tax deduction. Qualified organizations include those that support religious groups, war veterans, non-profits, volunteer firemen, civil defense organizations, foundations. etc. If you're unsure whether a particular organization qualifies, contact the IRS.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/mikey-rox">Mikey Rox</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-8"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use">5 Clever Tax Shelters Anyone Can Use</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Taxes charitable donations charities deductions Giving Back good causes organizations Tue, 06 Dec 2016 12:30:10 +0000 Mikey Rox 1848173 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Clever Tax Shelters Anyone Can Use http://www.wisebread.com/5-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/man_gold_piggy_bank_000059335918.jpg" alt="Man finding easy ways to reduce tax burden" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>For the middle-class, building wealth for your family can be like constructing a house &mdash; the biggest challenge is setting the foundation. And it starts with keeping your taxes as low as possible. This can sometimes result in relocating to an area where the cost of living and taxes are more affordable, trading high-cost districts in areas like New York City and San Francisco for a more sustainable lifestyle in an area where the job market is strong, like in Houston or Dallas.</p> <p>But there are other smart, easy ways to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-states-with-the-lowest-taxes-for-retirees">reduce your tax burden</a>, too. Read on to familiarize yourself with a few.</p> <h2>1. Avoid Personal and Business Income Tax</h2> <p>You won't have to worry about paying personal state income tax if you live in one of these nine U.S. states: Alaska, Florida, Nevada, New Hampshire, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wyoming. And you will avoid corporate income tax if you do business in the states of Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, or Wyoming.</p> <h2>2. Take Advantage of Retirement Plans</h2> <p>Most people start saving for retirement once they land their first &quot;real&quot; job by contributing to employer-sponsored plans. Some employers will match as much as 100% of your 401(k) contributions up to 3% of your salary. That's a guaranteed 100% return of your investment! So, let's say you've contributed $3,500 &mdash; your employer will put in another $3,500. There isn't another investment that can guarantee this type of return. Plus, if historical average stock market returns are any indication, your money will likely grow an average 8%&ndash;12% per year tax-free or tax-deferred. Meanwhile, investing in your 401(k) will reduce your annual income and possibly your tax bracket, further reducing your tax burden.</p> <h2>3. Contribute to a 529 College Savings Plan</h2> <p>Qualified Tuition Programs (QTPs), often referred to as 529 Plans, are tax shelters that allow you to save for higher education expenses. In many ways, they resemble retirement plans, offering tax-deferred growth on contributions. Plans vary and have different lifetime contribution limits &mdash; generally around $200,000 &mdash; but there is no federal tax on earnings, and often no state tax if your plan's beneficiary chooses an in-state college.</p> <h2>4. Avoid Estate and Inheritance Tax</h2> <p>The estate and inheritance tax doesn't affect many people, because you're not required to file an estate tax return unless your estate is valued at $5,430,000 or more as of 2015 &mdash; and only six states levy their own inheritance tax: Iowa, Kentucky, Maryland, Nebraska, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. And the transfer of property through an estate or inheritance is taxed only in Nebraska and Pennsylvania. Consider yourself lucky &mdash; unless you've got a very sizeable estate, your progeny will probably be spared this tax blow.</p> <h2>5. Buy a Home</h2> <p>When you purchase a home, you can deduct interest paid on your mortgage, a percentage of your real estate taxes and depreciation, and receive credits for certain home improvements. Not a bad deal. But if you're in the business of flipping real estate, it gets even better, because when you sell a property, any profit of under $250,000 (for single tax filers) is tax-free. That amount doubles to $500,000 if you're married and filing jointly. The only requirement the IRS has is that you occupy the home as your principal residence for at least two years before you sell.</p> <p><em>What other easy tax shelters do you employ?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/qiana-chavaia">Qiana Chavaia</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-clever-tax-shelters-anyone-can-use">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-5"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/improve-your-giving-with-5-smart-charity-tricks">Improve Your Giving With 5 Smart Charity Tricks</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-your-spouse-be-a-dependent-on-your-taxes">Can Your Spouse be a Dependent on Your Taxes?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-7-most-common-tax-questions-for-beginners-answered">The 7 Most Common Tax Questions for Beginners, Answered</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-student-loans-impact-your-taxes">4 Ways Student Loans Impact Your Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-common-tax-mistakes-we-need-to-stop-making">5 Common Tax Mistakes We Need to Stop Making</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes charitable donations deductions mortgage retirement tax credits Wed, 05 Aug 2015 13:00:14 +0000 Qiana Chavaia 1508985 at http://www.wisebread.com 5 Ways That Charitable Giving Can Improve Your Finances http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-that-charitable-giving-can-improve-your-finances <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/5-ways-that-charitable-giving-can-improve-your-finances" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/7901852114_4d5eaf7a0b_z_0.jpg" alt="donation" title="donation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Most of us have finite resources. So giving to your favorite charity means that you have less to spend and save. But that generosity can also improve your finances.</p> <p>Certainly, if you make a large donation without examining or restructuring your priorities, habits, and bank accounts, then giving depletes rather than increases your resources. But there are ways that parting with money can boost your financial status. (See also:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity">Surprisingly&nbsp;Easy Ways You Can Support Charity</a>)</p> <p>Making the decision to give a significant portion of your income involves confronting your financial attitudes. This face-off can lead you to benefit from these positive actions.</p> <h3>1. Match Financial Habits With Personal Priorities</h3> <p>Giving generously (say, 5-10% of your income), requires thought for most people. You need to consider not only <em>how to give</em> but also <em>how to live</em>. Such reflection can lead to conversations about financial priorities.</p> <p>You may have never had these discussions with your spouse or family, or things may have changed since your last big talk. As a newlywed couple, for example, your goals may have been to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/escape-student-loan-debt-slowly">pay off student loan debt</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-much-money-will-you-need-to-retire">start saving for retirement</a>, and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/when-you-should-and-shouldnt-rent">buy a house</a>. Years later, perhaps now with children, these goals may have been reached. But you have not revisited priorities.</p> <p>Whether you have a family or not, focus on launching and growing your career during work hours and engaging in outside pursuits in your downtime may have prevented you from contemplating what is significant to you in terms of long-term goals.</p> <p>Making a conscious effort to start or increase giving often leads to establishing and ranking financial goals. After you have had a conversation about what's important to you and your family, you can align your spending habits, budgets, and pursuits with these priorities. You may also discover that by naming what you truly value, you are happier with less stuff and more meaningful (but less costly) experiences.</p> <h3>2. Find Ways to Trim Costs</h3> <p>If you earnestly want to give generously but don't have the extra cash and don&rsquo;t see a bigger paycheck on the horizon, then you&rsquo;ll need to lower expenses.</p> <p>At first, you may not be able to think of a category that could withstand reduced spending. Eventually, though, you may find easy targets like these:</p> <ul> <li>Entertainment (Try one of these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/47-cheap-fun-things-to-do-this-weekend">cheap things to do this weekend</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/19-frugal-ways-to-entertain-teenagers">frugal ways to entertain teens</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cheap-ways-to-spend-a-night-out">cheap ways to spend a night out</a>.)</li> <li>Dining Out (Cook at home with inexpensive and easy recipes like these <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-great-cheap-and-easy-crock-pot-recipes">Crock Pot dishes</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-healthy-and-cheap-5-minute-dinners">healthy dinners</a>.)</li> <li>Travel (Find ways to travel cheaply through a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-book-an-amazing-cheap-vacation-package?wbref=readmore-1">vacation package</a> or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/home-exchanges-free-accommodations-with-perks">home exchange</a>.)</li> <li>Clothing (Learn how to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/12-ways-to-save-cash-on-new-clothes">save on new clothes</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/to-buy-or-not-to-buy-criteria-for-thrift-store-clothes-shopping">get quality used clothes for less</a>, or <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/wardrobe-makeover-for-moms">update your look on a budget</a>.)</li> </ul> <p>If you are like me, you can easily name areas that your spouse or children could cut to control the family budget. They may be agreeable. Or they may resist as certain items, say a gym membership or a once-a-week evening out, seem essential to their well being. They may point to one of your hobbies as an extravagance.</p> <p>Hopefully, though, you can agree on expenses that can be trimmed or eliminated. Take action, ending a monthly contract or altering habits that lead to unnecessary spending. If you give a portion of the savings, your wealth can grow even though you are beginning to make or increasing monetary donations. You may also reap higher levels of family harmony as a result of these changes.</p> <h3>3. Enjoy Benefits That Save Money</h3> <p>There can be benefits associated with providing financial support to a charity, even though your motivation should not be direct gains in wealth (otherwise, you would be making a trade or investment).</p> <p>If you are part of a church, temple, mosque, or non-profit community supported by gifts from members, then you may have a built-in network of friends. These relationships can facilitate regular sharing of meals, ideas, and expertise that saves you money.</p> <h3>4. Lower Your Tax Bill</h3> <p><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions">Charitable donations can reduce your tax liability</a>. Generous giving has financial value if you already itemize deductions or if the donations increase your deductions to a level that surpasses the standard amount. Deductions reduce your AGI (adjusted gross income) and could move you to a <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-brackets-explained">lower tax bracket</a>.</p> <h3>5. Face Reality, and Make Changes</h3> <p>You can fool yourself into thinking that you are financially OK as long as you are meeting your monthly obligations, even if that means periodically cashing out your home equity, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-and-why-to-help-your-parents-pay-off-their-mortgage">borrowing from your parents</a> (so much that they can't afford to pay off their mortgage), raiding your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/7-surprising-facts-about-roth-iras">Roth account</a>, or extending yourself on credit card debt.</p> <p>But if you want to give more, you have to examine your financial condition: income and earning potential, spending habits, value of investment accounts, and debt. You may have plenty of disposable income or significant wealth, and find such self-scrutiny enjoyable.</p> <p>However, if you are struggling, this process may be painful. You may finally acknowledge that you can not afford <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/are-private-schools-worth-the-money-they-demand">private-school education for your children</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/why-the-affordable-home-really-isnt">your house and its upkeep is beyond your reach</a>, you can&rsquo;t take expensive and exotic vacations, you need to land a new job, or you need to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/9-ways-to-earn-extra-cash-when-money-is-tight">find ways to generate more income</a>.</p> <p>A financial wake-up call can help you to face the truth, make difficult decisions, and take practical steps to improve your finances.</p> <p>Being generous doesn't automatically or magically confer greater wealth. But evaluating your situation and motivating yourself to take actions that benefit yourself, your family, and your community can help you to make and save more.</p> <p><em>Have you found that giving generously has had a direct or indirect benefit on your finances? </em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/julie-rains">Julie Rains</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-ways-that-charitable-giving-can-improve-your-finances">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity">Can I Write It Off as Charity?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-clever-ways-to-sample-the-good-life">8 Clever Ways to Sample the Good Life</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/lower-your-credit-card-interest-rate-and-reduce-your-phone-bill-immediately-and-easily">Lower Your Credit Card Interest Rate and Reduce Your Phone Bill, Immediately and Easily</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-one-good-financial-reason-why-you-shouldnt-live-in-the-present">Here&#039;s One Good Financial Reason Why You Shouldn&#039;t Live in the Present</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-real-value-of-forever-stamps">The Real Value of Forever Stamps</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Life Hacks Budgeting charitable donations generosity giving Wed, 24 Oct 2012 08:27:53 +0000 Julie Rains 954953 at http://www.wisebread.com