giving http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/264/all en-US Here's How Generosity Actually Improves Your Life http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-482063553.jpg" alt="Learning how generosity improves your life" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Generosity will not only improve your moral standing, but also your long-term finances. Giving doesn't have to cost money, either; donating your time and skills produces the same effect as giving money or material items. Here's how it could work for you. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/make-the-world-better-with-these-17-free-ways-to-give-back?ref=seealso" target="_blank">Make the World Better With These 17 Free Ways to Give Back</a>)</p> <h2>You'll make better money decisions</h2> <p>Money can be a big source of stress. Maybe you and your partner disagree about the budget. Perhaps you're struggling to reduce debt, dealing with a loss of income, or recovering from a financial crisis. Or perhaps you're trying to determine how to be smart with your savings, become a better investor, and create a better financial future. In any of these situations, you need the ability to calmly and rationally assess your options and make decisions for your future.</p> <p>Stress has a huge, negative impact on your ability to make good decisions. In fact, stress prompts us to act quickly and instinctively, and reroutes the energy needed by the brain for wise decision-making, according to Stanford health psychologist Kelly McGonigal, PhD. &quot;Stress also encourages you to focus on immediate, short-term goals and outcomes,&quot; says McGonigal, &quot;but self-control requires keeping the big picture in mind.&quot;</p> <p>An excellent way to combat stress is to give to others. Whether it's your time, your money, or your unwanted items, giving to those less fortunate will give you a sense of purpose, it will make you feel better about yourself and the world you live in, and can reduce your anxiety. That combination equips you to better handle stress when it does occur, keeping it in perspective. And you'll be able to more calmly and rationally make financial decisions for yourself and your future.</p> <h2>You'll benefit from a stronger support network</h2> <p>Hard times happen, but consistent generosity &mdash; whether through volunteering, acts of kindness, or monetary giving &mdash; can lead to an extended network and stronger relationships. Meeting people at volunteering events can create lasting friendships. Helping out a neighbor when they need it most will solidify a true bond. And when you need those people to be there for you in return, they most likely will be.</p> <p>I've experienced the financial perks of having a strong support network many times in my life. For example, during my mother's fight against breast cancer, my friends and family brought food, baby-sat (both my sister and I had young children), ran errands, made phone calls, organized important information, and, when needed, assisted in bedside care for my mom. If I didn't have a loving support system willing to do those things, I would've had to, either do it all myself &mdash; which would've increased my stress to an unbearable degree, or I would've had to pay someone to help out &mdash; which would've sucked my bank account dry.</p> <p>A community of friends bringing you meals when you're unable to shop and cook saves you the cost of takeout. When your network pitches in to watch your kids, help you with a big project, or loan you a needed resource, you save the money you'd have otherwise spent to get those things done.</p> <h2>Your work opportunities will improve</h2> <p>LinkedIn is built on the idea that social capital leads to better work and increased work opportunities. We call it networking, mostly. And giving, it turns out, is one of the best ways to network. Even low-key acts of generosity improve work relationships, according to a study from the University of California published in the journal <em>Emotion</em>. Giving mutual support, practicing gratitude, and showing hospitality all contribute to stronger work connections and increased social capital. And with a strong professional network, more job opportunities (and all the financial perks that go along with them) will be aplenty. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-10-best-networking-tips-for-people-under-40?ref=seealso" target="_blank">The 10 Best Networking Tips for People Under 40</a>)</p> <p>It's all about who you know, right?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/annie-mueller">Annie Mueller</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">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-7"> <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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/its-time-to-drop-these-6-rules-of-money-etiquette">It&#039;s Time to Drop These 6 Rules of Money Etiquette</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/11-ways-cycling-can-save-you-money">11 Ways Cycling Can Save You Money</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/how-to-keep-peer-pressure-from-destroying-your-finances">How to Keep Peer Pressure From Destroying Your Finances</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/6-things-you-can-look-forward-to-when-you-have-money">6 Things You Can Look Forward to When You Have Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Lifestyle charity generosity generous giving Giving Back helping hands pay it forward saving money Mon, 07 Aug 2017 08:31:05 +0000 Annie Mueller 1996572 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-511213377.jpg" alt="Woman learning how money can support her values" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Giving to charity is an important line item in my family budget &mdash; but it's only one line. There are far more charitable organizations that I want to support than I can possibly give money to.</p> <p>But what if there were a way to support your values without having to free up more money to give to charity? In fact, there is a way. You can do the same things you always do with your money &mdash; bank it, invest it, spend it on utilities, and shop &mdash; all while providing important financial benefits to the causes you care about.</p> <h2>Socially responsible robo-investing</h2> <p>I'll never forget the stricken look on my financial adviser's face when I told him I was uncomfortable with big oil, tobacco, or firearms as investments in my retirement portfolio. He took a deep breath and told me that I would probably have to be a little flexible about that if I wanted to maintain my passive investment strategy. The only other option would be to individually choose the investments I wanted so that my money was aligned with my values. Not only would that be expensive and time consuming (someone would have to do the stock picking), but it would not necessarily grow my money.</p> <p>Passive investors like me now have the option of investing in funds that only go to companies we approve of. The new robo adviser <a href="https://www.openinvest.co/" target="_blank">OpenInvest</a> offers investors the ability to personalize the specific issues they care most about. You simply create an &quot;issue profile&quot; that narrows down the types of companies you would either like to invest in or steer clear of. The robo adviser's algorithm then creates a basket of about 60 stocks that match your values and <em>should </em>match the returns of the broader market.</p> <p>Your money grows just like it would with any investment, but you are supporting companies that reflect your values. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-stocks-to-buy-if-you-love-the-earth?ref=seealso" target="_blank">5 Stocks to Buy If You Love the Earth</a>)</p> <h2>Cellphone activism</h2> <p>It's hard to imagine life without your cellphone &mdash; which makes it an excellent tool to help support your values. Simply changing your cellphone provider can make paying your bill part of your activism.</p> <p>Whether your politics align left or right, you can switch to an activist cellphone carrier that will use a portion of their profits to fund important causes. <a href="http://www.credomobile.com/" target="_blank">Credo Mobile</a> is a mobile and long distance provider that has donated $83 million to various progressive nonprofit groups since its inception in 1985. On the right, <a href="https://www.patriotmobile.com/" target="_blank">Patriot Mobile</a> offers conservatives the opportunity to choose the organization that a portion of their monthly phone bill will be donated to.</p> <p>In both cases, the mobile carrier allows you to keep your phone and phone number when you make the switch. You are already paying for your cellphone usage; why not have the money fund causes you care about?</p> <h2>Shop your values</h2> <p>Amazon has become the most convenient way to handle shopping in the modern age, but did you know it can also be the most convenient way for you to donate to charities you love?</p> <p><a href="https://smile.amazon.com/ref=nav_logo" target="_blank">AmazonSmile</a> is exactly like the Amazon store you already know, with the exact same prices and fees, and the exact same login you already use. But when you sign on with AmazonSmile, you are allowed to choose any one of over a million 501(c)(3) charitable organizations to benefit from your shopping. Each time you make a purchase, AmazonSmile gives 0.5 percent of the purchase price to your charity.</p> <p>While not all purchases are eligible for AmazonSmile, the vast majority are. In addition, there are occasionally limited-time special promotions that increase the donation percentage.</p> <p>Once you have signed up with AmazonSmile, just make sure you start any Amazon shopping from that page to keep your donations going to your favorite charity whenever you shop.</p> <h2>#BankBlack revitalizes communities</h2> <p>You might remember seeing the rapper Killer Mike on MTV in 2016 asking 1 million people to open a savings account with a black-owned banking institution. That helped start the #BankBlack movement, which is credited with bringing $50 million in new deposits to black-owned banks over a six-month span in 2016, according to the Huffington Post.</p> <p>But banking with a black-owned financial institution is more than just a hashtag. These institutions were once the only places where African Americans could expect fair treatment when discrimination was rampant in the banking industry. Nowadays, black-owned banks offer access to necessary banking services in distressed neighborhoods, while also providing economic revitalization.</p> <p>Since black-owned banks specifically market to the African American communities that are disproportionately unbanked or underbanked &mdash; meaning they rely on check cashing services and pawnshops for their banking needs &mdash; opening an account with a black-owned bank is an excellent way to put your money to work for social justice.</p> <p>The Blackout Coalition offers a <a href="http://blackoutcoalition.org/black-u-s-banks/" target="_blank">map of black-owned banks and credit unions</a> across the United States, so you can find one near you. Alternatively, if you are not in an area with a local black-owned bank, <a href="https://www.oneunited.com/" target="_blank">OneUnited</a> is an online bank that is also the nation's largest black-owned bank.</p> <h2>Put your money where your values are</h2> <p>Not everyone has money in the budget to support the social programs they are most passionate about. But making a few tweaks to how you bank, invest, call, and shop will allow you to make the world a better place without spending any more money. You'll feel good about how your money represents your values, and your favorite causes will benefit from your choices. It's a win-win.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/emily-guy-birken">Emily Guy Birken</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values">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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/4-foolproof-ways-to-protect-your-money-from-inflation">4 Foolproof Ways to Protect Your Money From Inflation</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/this-post-really-suk-kuks-examining-islamic-finance">This Post Really Suk-kuks: Examining Islamic Finance</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/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive">Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive</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/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">Private foundations for ordinary folks</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Banking Investment activism amazon smile banking black owned businesses cellphones charity donations giving politics social causes values Tue, 25 Apr 2017 08:30:08 +0000 Emily Guy Birken 1931274 at http://www.wisebread.com 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-1"> <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/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">Here&#039;s How Generosity Actually Improves Your Life</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 Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals? http://www.wisebread.com/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/couple_kid_piggybank_517743380.jpg" alt="Parents asking kid to contribute to financial family goals" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Many years ago, I remember watching an episode of Wife Swap, a reality television program where &quot;two wives, from two very different families, swap lives for two weeks.&quot; The episode starred Tulsa, Oklahoma mom, Amy King, who made her three children buy their own treats and contribute toward all family vacations.</p> <p>Initially I thought the idea of making your children pay for their own vacation was a little radical and unloving. Obviously you don't want to force your eight-year-old to give up all of their allowance to your home renovation project or make your teenager stay home if they don't contribute to the family vacation fund.</p> <p>But it got me thinking. Could there be some good in asking children to contribute financially to family goals?</p> <h2>Why Set Family Financial Goals?</h2> <p>Setting and striving toward a goal as a family can be a powerful thing. It can bring every member of your family together and can help you work together and keep each other accountable. Spark Parenting says, &quot;Once kids see firsthand how to <a href="http://www.sparkparenting.com/Tip_Sheet_Family_Goals.pdf" target="_blank">set and achieve family goals</a>, they'll better understand what it takes to set and accomplish personal goals.&quot;</p> <p>Some important goals to set for your family can include:</p> <ul> <li>Spending more time together;</li> <li>Reading 10 books together;</li> <li>Getting healthy together;</li> <li>Giving back to the community.</li> </ul> <p>All of those goals are great to pursue as a family, but I encourage you to take on a financial family goal, too, especially when it feels like your budget is too tight for fun or travel. If you have been wanting to take a family vacation for years, yet never have enough money left over after bills, then setting a family financial goal can help.</p> <h2>Make It About the Family</h2> <p>When it comes to setting financial goals, set ones that involve and please the whole family. Yes, your family might be in debt or need new tires on the family van, but these scenarios should not be the responsibility of your children.</p> <p>Instead, make the financial goal something your kids want and can dream about with you. Here are some ideas for things to save up for:</p> <ul> <li>A family vacation in another country;</li> <li>A special dinner out;</li> <li>A day at a theme park;</li> <li>A family game/toy/activity (i.e. basketball hoop or bikes);</li> <li>Movies and ice cream.</li> </ul> <p>Your family financial goal can be big, such as a $5,000 vacation in Italy, or it can be small, like $30 for movies and ice cream. You can even have a mix of small and large goals. You should allow some room for your kids to daydream and plan. Don't just throw out &quot;Hey, kids, we need to visit grandma in Florida next year, start saving,&quot; and expect your kids to donate willingly.</p> <h2>How Much Should a Child Contribute?</h2> <p>Once the family has decided on a financial goal they want to accomplish, figure out a deadline and how much needs to be contributed each week and month. For example, a day trip to Disneyland for my family would cost around $450. If we wanted to go in 10 months, then we would need to save $45 toward our goal each month. We would then break down how much everyone would contribute weekly or monthly, depending on how often you pay allowances.</p> <p>If you assign chores and allowances based on age, then it is easy to assign how much each child should give toward the goal. Ideally, children's allowances should be split 50% &mdash; 60% spend/free choice, 20% &mdash; 30% save, and 10% give. This is true even if you do not do family allowances. If your child earns $10 a month for chores, you want to instill in him that he can keep $5 to $6 of it to do what he likes (depending on saving goals), $2 to $3 should go automatically into the savings account and not touched, and $1 should go toward charitable giving.</p> <p>For family financial goal contributions, 10% should be required of all children. I recommend the 10% coming out of the &quot;spend&quot; category, so that the child's allowance is broken down like so:</p> <ul> <li>50%&ndash;60% free choice</li> <li>20% savings</li> <li>10% family financial goal contribution</li> <li>10% charitable giving</li> </ul> <p>Obviously, your child is not going to be able to afford Disneyland anytime soon with a $1 contribution per month. That is where your contribution comes in. You fill in the gap, so it is important to make this a priority in your budget.</p> <p>So if my two children make $20 a month each from chores, I would expect them each to pay $2 toward the Disneyland fund. Which means my husband and I would then be responsible for $20.50 each per month.</p> <h2>What If Kids Don't Want to Give?</h2> <p>I definitely don't recommend making family goal time a negative thing with consequences and punishments. Instead, I recommend making a chart and setting the rule that parents only contribute on the weeks or months the kids contribute. So if my kids both spent their whole allowance on something else, then they wouldn't be in trouble, but I would show them that mom and dad will not be contributing this week and that our trip to Disneyland is now postponed a month.</p> <p>Making a large chart to track progress is a huge motivator for everyone. I encourage you to set and treat fun, family financial goals as a family matter. Everyone is doing their part. Of course, some kids might be against the idea, and for those issues, I believe you just need to sit down with them one-on-one and get to core of the problem. For example, maybe Johnny isn't contributing willingly to the fund because he doesn't want to go to Disneyland or because he is mad at his brother.</p> <p>Making your children contribute to family financial goals is for their benefit, not yours. This isn't the ultimate plan to get your child to start pulling their weight. Instead, it is a practical exercise that helps children understand the value of working together as a family, and how to save to make their own financial dreams come true.</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/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">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-1"> <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/8-frugal-living-skills-i-wish-my-parents-would-have-taught-me">8 Frugal Living Skills I Wish My Parents Would Have Taught Me</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/6-sibling-discounts-that-can-save-you-big">6 Sibling Discounts That Can Save You Big</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/are-you-ruining-your-retirement-by-spoiling-your-kids">Are You Ruining Your Retirement by Spoiling Your Kids?</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/having-a-baby-nine-financial-considerations-for-new-parents">Having a baby? Nine financial considerations for new parents</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/6-fun-games-that-teach-your-kids-about-money">6 Fun Games That Teach Your Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family allowance children contributing family goals giving kids lessons saving money Thu, 22 Dec 2016 10:30:27 +0000 Ashley Eneriz 1853794 at http://www.wisebread.com 6 Ways to Keep Holiday Spending From Blowing Debt Repayment http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman_money_christmas_gift_000027797353.jpg" alt="Woman learning to balance holiday spending and debt repayment" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>The holidays can be stressful, and not just from family or too much junk food. Money is a huge factor, too. In fact, last year, people added an average of $986 to their debt over the holidays.</p> <p>Rather than increasing your debt this holiday season, you can instead balance your spending with your repayment plan. It takes a little work, some creativity, and some juggling, but it's completely within the realm of possibility.</p> <h2>1. Prioritize Minimum Payments</h2> <p>Before you plan any holiday spending, make sure you can at least make the minimum payments on any debt repayment you currently have going.</p> <p>Sure, you want to pay more than the minimum required amount on your debt, even during the holiday season. But you have to balance your priorities. If you value spending on gifts or other holiday items more than paying down debt right now, it's probably okay to take a single month and spend differently than usual. Just make sure that you are ready to get back to your normal payment plan in the next billing cycle.</p> <h2>2. Don't Add More Debt</h2> <p>After you've set aside money for at least the minimum required payments on your debt, make a firm commitment to do whatever you need to do to keep from adding to it over the holidays. That might mean making gifts yourself or buying less than you have in the past.</p> <h2>3. Write it Down</h2> <p>Decide how much you're going to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-best-credit-card-shopping-bonuses">spend for the holidays</a> and how much you want to put towards debt repayment. Then write it down. If you are deciding with a partner, make sure <em>each</em> of you writes it down. Something about the act of putting a goal on paper makes it more real, so it feels like truth and not just possibility. Keep these numbers somewhere where you can look at them before you make any purchases or payments.</p> <h2>4. Plan Ahead</h2> <p>Plan out how much you want to spend on each gift. Price out items online first to ballpark amounts. This will help you figure out what is realistic, and you may find that you can't get everything you'd planned on. Having a plan will also help you feel like your goals are achievable, and not just wishful thinking.</p> <h2>5. Creative Gift Giving</h2> <p>If you choose to prioritize debt repayment, or you simply don't have enough money to cover your minimum payments and holiday gifts, get creative. Offer to spend some one-on-one time with someone close to you. Invite them over. Make hot beverages at home, and have a nice, deep conversation.</p> <p>You can also offer to help people. Give someone a housecleaning, do some yard work, offer an evening of babysitting, and more. They will be appreciative, and you will get to give a gift that won't cost very much at all. In fact, sometimes these sorts of gifts are more thoughtful than anything you can buy.</p> <h2>6. Make Gifts Meaningful, Not Massive</h2> <p>Even if you do choose to purchase gifts, go for something meaningful over something expensive. Despite what the commercials want us to believe, a new mobile phone isn't usually a special gift. Instead, choose a smaller gift that will bring to mind a special memory that you share with someone, or that shows how well you know them.</p> <p><em>How do you plan to balance holiday spending with debt repayment? And how will you choose gifting creatively this holiday season?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/sarah-winfrey">Sarah Winfrey</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-keep-holiday-spending-from-blowing-debt-repayment">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-1"> <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/13-financial-gifts-to-give-yourself-this-holiday-season">13 Financial Gifts to Give Yourself This Holiday Season</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/10-dark-side-motivations-to-get-you-out-of-debt">10 Dark-Side Motivations to Get You Out of Debt</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-simple-holiday-budget-anyone-can-follow">The Simple Holiday Budget Anyone Can Follow</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/13-holiday-season-costs-everyone-always-forgets-about">13 Holiday-Season Costs Everyone Always Forgets About</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/4-psychological-traps-preventing-you-from-saving-and-how-to-fix-them">4 Psychological Traps Preventing You From Saving — And How to Fix Them</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Budgeting Debt Management balance bills gifts giving Holidays spending Thu, 10 Dec 2015 16:00:28 +0000 Sarah Winfrey 1618553 at http://www.wisebread.com You Should Make These 11 Easy Donations Before Time Runs Out http://www.wisebread.com/you-should-make-these-11-easy-donations-before-time-runs-out <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/you-should-make-these-11-easy-donations-before-time-runs-out" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/woman-donation-volunteers-Dollarphotoclub_45319912.jpg" alt="woman donation volunteers" title="woman donation volunteers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's natural this time of year to feel a little more charitable. Many nonprofit organizations <a href="http://www.slate.com/articles/life/holidays/2013/12/year_end_charitable_giving_most_people_are_terrible_at_it_don_t_be_one_of.html">report that they see a surge of donations in the last month</a> of the year, and there are some advantages to making donations before the calendar turns another page.</p> <p>In addition to keeping with the holiday spirit, giving to charity before year's end ensures that you can get a tax deduction to count for 2014. In in some instances, corporations are in an extra giving mood and will match many cash donations. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/15-ways-to-give-to-charity-that-fit-a-holiday-budget?ref=seealso">15 Ways to Give to Charity That Fit a Holiday Budget</a>)</p> <p>If you're feeling charitable or just have some stuff you want to unload, consider these simple donations you can make before 2015 comes around. (Just make sure you keep good records for the tax man!)</p> <h2>1. Clothes and Household Items</h2> <p>There's a good chance you'll get some new clothes and other stuff for the holiday season. Now may be a time to donate some of your older (but still usable) items to a thrift shop or charity such as Goodwill. You'll free up some closet space and get a 2014 tax deduction in the process. This time of year, coats and other warm-weather items are especially needed.</p> <h2>2. Food</h2> <p>Local food pantries are always in need of donations, especially during the winter months. Drop off a few bags of canned goods, or get in touch with a charity such as Meals on Wheels to donate food to a shut-in. You're probably cooking a ton for the holiday feast anyway, so set some aside for a needy family.</p> <h2>3. Shares of Stock</h2> <p>If you've seen portions of your investment portfolio rise in 2014, why not share the wealth? Donating shares of stock is a great way to help out a charity because unlike a cash donation, the contribution may rise in value. You get a tax deduction by donating, and also avoid any capital gains fees you might have otherwise incurred by selling.</p> <h2>4. A Car</h2> <p>If you're thinking of buying a new car in 2015, consider donating your car to charity this year to get the tax benefits. Many charities will accept donations of cars, which they then sell at auctions and pocket the proceeds. Other charities turn the cars over directly to needy families. A car donation is tax deductible, and many charities will even go through the effort to pick up the car from your house free. Donating your car makes sense if you feel like you wouldn't get much for a trade-in anyway.</p> <h2>5. New Toys</h2> <p>It's almost impossible to avoid seeing the U.S Marines manning Toys For Tots stations all over the country. A donation of a new toy will help ensure a great Christmas for an underprivileged child. This year, Toys For Tots is looking to collect 7 million toys. Go to <a href="http://toysfortots.com">Toysfortots.com</a> to find a drop-off location near you.</p> <h2>6. Old Building Materials</h2> <p>When my family built a new addition to our house, we donated some old windows and a sliding glass door to <a href="http://www.loadingdock.org/">a local charity</a> that recycles such things. It was a stress-free way to unload the items, and we got a sizable tax deduction. Contact the <a href="http://bmra.org/">Building Materials ReUse Association</a> to see if there's a charity near you.</p> <h2>7. Your Time</h2> <p>Rather than spending a day at a mall indulging in retail excess, consider taking time to help out at a soup kitchen, food pantry, or other charity. Better yet, consider making a commitment to volunteer not only during this holiday season but throughout the year.</p> <h2>8. Your Artistic Talent</h2> <p>This time of year, it's common for organizations to have parties featuring silent auctions as fundraisers. If you're an artist or photographer, why not donate a painting or photograph? It's a great way to direct money to a charity and perhaps also get some exposure for your skills. Similarly, a musician could volunteer to perform holiday music at a charitable event, or even offer free lessons.</p> <h2>9. Cash</h2> <p>This may seem lazy, but most charities are more than happy to receive monetary donations. In fact, sometimes money is the best gift to a charity because they know better than anyone what specific items they need. Donating cash could be as easy as dropping some coins into a Salvation Army pot, or writing a sizable check to another non-profit group.</p> <h2>10. Blood</h2> <p>This time of year, blood donations are often low because people are so busy. But it's a great way to give back in a way that won't cost you a dime. I make a point of donating blood every December 24 at my local Red Cross donation center. It gets me in the Christmas spirit, and there are usually free cookies. Go to <a href="http://www.redcross.org/">RedCross.org</a> to locate a blood drive or donation center near you.</p> <h2>11. Money to Your Future Self</h2> <p>This may not be a &quot;donation&quot; in the classic sense. But it's still a great idea to try to max out your retirement accounts by the end of the year. If you have an IRA, you can contribute up to $5,500 for 2014. Any contribution up until April 15, 2015 counts toward 2014, but why wait?</p> <p><em>What will you be giving this year? Please share in comments!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tim-lemke">Tim Lemke</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/you-should-make-these-11-easy-donations-before-time-runs-out">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-4"> <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/charitable-giving-get-a-receipt">Charitable giving - get a receipt</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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity">Can I Write It Off as Charity?</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/20-amazing-outrageous-and-just-plain-weird-tax-deductions">20 amazing, outrageous and just plain weird tax deductions</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/10-local-charities-that-could-use-your-stuff">10 Local Charities That Could Use Your Stuff</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Taxes charity donations giving tax deductions taxes Wed, 24 Dec 2014 14:00:10 +0000 Tim Lemke 1271198 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: 216 Affordable Gifts for Everyone on Your List http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-216-affordable-gifts-for-everyone-on-your-list <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-216-affordable-gifts-for-everyone-on-your-list" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5550847944_fcf705da59_z.jpg" alt="216 Affordable Gifts For Everyone On Your List" title="216 Affordable Gifts For Everyone On Your List" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on 216 gifts for everyone on your list, frugal lunch ideas, and reasons to list or buy a home in December.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Affordable-Gift-Ideas-Christmas-2012-26263290">216 Affordable Gifts For Everyone On Your List</a> &mdash; Having trouble deciding on gifts to give this holiday season? Consider giving eBooks or a bookmark set. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://www.stretcher.com/stories/10/10dec13a.cfm#.UMoeK4WlNl8">Frugal Lunch Ideas</a> &mdash; If you need a frugal lunch idea, try making a quiche or other solid casserole. [The Dollar Stretcher]</p> <p><a href="http://www.mint.com/blog/housing/4-reasons-to-list-or-buy-a-home-in-december-1212/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+MyMint+%28Mint+Personal+Finance+Blog%29">4 Reasons to List or Buy a Home in December</a> &mdash; December is a great month to list or buy a home because of the tax advantages. [MintLife Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dumblittleman.com/2012/12/3-facts-about-life-every-grown-up.html">3 Facts Ahout Life Every Grown-Up Should Know And Live By</a> &mdash; All grown-ups should know that you cannot reason with the unreasonable. [Dumb Little Man]</p> <p><a href="http://www.lazymanandmoney.com/start-a-new-business-for-the-new-year-5-tips-inside/">Start a New Business for the New Year (5 Tips Inside)</a> &mdash; When starting a new business, remember to separate work and home life. [Lazy Man and Money]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://retireby40.org/2012/12/organic-foods-worth-premium/">Are Organic Foods Worth The Premium?</a> &mdash; When it comes to organic peanut butter, it's not worth the extra money. [Retire By 40]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/12/income-to-wealth-to-income.html">Income to Wealth to Income</a> &mdash; The flow of money during a person's life can be described as income to wealth to income. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2012/12/10/preventing-freezer-burnout/">Preventing Freezer Burnout</a> &mdash; To prevent freezer burnout, keep food out of the freezer in the first place by not making so much food. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/special-needs-gift-guide-2012">Special Needs Gift Guide 2012</a> &mdash; If you need a gift for a special needs child, consider giving him or her a therapy swing. [Parenting Squad]</p> <p><a href="http://freelanceswitch.com/industry-tips/attend-conferences-for-free/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FreelanceSwitch+%28Freelance+Switch%29">10 Strategies to Attend Conferences for Free</a> &mdash; Attend conferences for free by speaking at the conference or volunteering to help out at the conference. [Freelance Switch</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-216-affordable-gifts-for-everyone-on-your-list">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-7"> <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/9-smart-reasons-to-last-minute-holiday-shop">9 Smart Reasons to Last-Minute Holiday Shop</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/5-cool-diy-christmas-gifts-for-the-under-6-crowd">5 Cool DIY Christmas Gifts for the “Under 6” Crowd</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/3-smart-ways-to-save-on-fathers-day">3 Smart Ways to Save on Father&#039;s Day</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/holiday-shipping-deadlines-coming-up">Holiday shipping deadlines coming up</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/couplehood-avoiding-the-valentine-cliches">Couplehood: Avoiding the Valentine Clichés</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping affordable best money tips gifts giving holiday shopping Fri, 14 Dec 2012 11:00:29 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 959851 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Nice Things to Do for People That Won't Cost Much http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-nice-things-to-do-for-people-that-wont-cost-much <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-nice-things-to-do-for-people-that-wont-cost-much" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/5832815994_3897accb82_z.jpg" alt="Nice Things To Do For People That Won&#039;t Cost Much" title="Nice Things To Do For People That Won&#039;t Cost Much" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on nice things to do for people that don't cost much, gifts that keep giving, and handling holiday parties professionally.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Nice-Things-Do-People-21449581">10 Nice Things To Do For People That Won't Cost Much</a> &mdash; If you want to do something nice for someone that won't cost a lot of money, help them with their job search or send them a postcard. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://livingonthecheap.com/2012/11/give-the-gift-that-keeps-on-giving/">7 gifts that keep on giving all year long</a> &mdash; Want to give a gift that will keep giving all year long this holiday season? Give someone a discount club membership. [Living On The Cheap]</p> <p><a href="http://www.20sfinances.com/2012/11/14/how-to-handle-holiday-parties-professionally/">How To Handle Holiday Parties Professionally</a> &mdash; Do not get drunk and don't avoid going to any holiday parties you have coming up over the next couple months. [20's Finances]</p> <p><a href="http://barbarafriedbergpersonalfinance.com/protect-measure-financial-risk/">3 Ways to Protect Yourself From Financial Risk</a> &mdash; To protect yourself from career risk, create additional streams of income. [Barbara Friedberg Personal Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/november-shopping-roundup-best-items-to-buy-now">November Shopping Roundup: Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the Best Items to Buy Now</a> &mdash; This month is a great month to buy electronics and Halloween hangover items. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.narrowbridge.net/how-you-spend-points-and-miles-is-just-as-important-as-earning-them/#more-7911">How You Spend Points and Miles Is Just As Important As Earning Them</a> &mdash; When spending points and miles, never redeem them for medium or high tier awards. [Narrow Bridge Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/the-stress-free-plan-how-to-clean-house-for-a-party-37639">The Stress Free Plan: How To Clean House for a Party</a> &mdash; Right before your guests arrive for a party, do a final clutter sweep. [Apartment Therapy]</p> <p><a href="http://andthenwesaved.com/awesome-diy-holiday-gift-ideas/">Scrooge No More! Awesome DIY Holiday Gift Ideas</a> &mdash; Making a photo book is a great DIY gift to give for the holidays. [And Then We Saved]</p> <p><a href="http://canadianfinanceblog.com/think-twice-before-co-signing-a-loan/">Why You Should Think Twice Before Co-Signing a Loan</a> &mdash; If you cosign a loan, your credit score will be at stake. [Canadian Finance Blog]</p> <p><a href="http://www.budgetsaresexy.com/2012/11/best-highest-paying-jobs-in-america/">The 6 Best (And Highest Paying!) Jobs in America</a> &mdash; IT data scientists have one of the best and highest paying jobs in America. [Budgets Are Sexy]</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-nice-things-to-do-for-people-that-wont-cost-much">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-2"> <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/should-your-kids-contribute-to-family-money-goals">Should Your Kids Contribute to Family Money Goals?</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/is-living-on-one-income-a-status-symbol">Is living on one income a status symbol?</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/5-hotel-room-booking-tools-every-frugal-traveler-should-know">5 Hotel Room Booking Tools Every Frugal Traveler Should Know</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/flashback-friday-75-cheap-ways-to-enjoy-the-final-days-of-summer">Flashback Friday: 75 Cheap Ways to Enjoy the Final Days of Summer</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living best money tips giving Thu, 15 Nov 2012 10:36:48 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 955829 at http://www.wisebread.com Best Money Tips: Practical Gifts That Give Back http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-practical-gifts-that-give-back <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/best-money-tips-practical-gifts-that-give-back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2377466554_3a39b6f30f_z-1.jpg" alt="Practical Gifts That Give Back" title="Practical Gifts That Give Back" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Welcome to Wise Bread's <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/topic/best-money-tips">Best Money Tips</a> Roundup! Today we found some awesome articles on practical gifts that give back, Veterans Day freebies, and keeping from overspending this holiday season.</p> <h2>Top 5 Articles</h2> <p><a href="http://www.savvysugar.com/Charitable-Gift-Ideas-25803414">8 Practical Gifts That Give Back</a> &mdash; Buying gifts from The Literary Site Store funds new books for children in need. [SavvySugar]</p> <p><a href="http://blog.couponsherpa.com/48-veterans-day-freebies/">48 Veterans Day Freebies for 2012</a> &mdash; Chili's is giving free meals to active duty and retired military members on Veterans Day. [Coupon Sherpa]</p> <p><a href="http://genxfinance.com/how-to-keep-from-overspending-this-holiday-season/">How to Keep from Overspending This Holiday Season</a> &mdash; If you want to avoid overspending this holiday season, skip going out for Black Friday. [Generation X Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://www.biblemoneymatters.com/cheap-lodging-options/">Hotels Too Expensive? Try These 6 Cheap Lodging Options</a> &mdash; Are hotels too expensive for you when traveling? Then consider camping or house sitting. [Bible Money Matters]</p> <p><a href="http://www.dollarversity.com/the-costs-of-home-ownership-what-they-dont-tell-you/?utm_source=feedburner&amp;utm_medium=feed&amp;utm_campaign=Feed%3A+dollarversity+%28DollarVersity+%3A+A+distinctive+voice+standing+out+from+the+crowd%29">The Costs of Home Ownership: What They Don't Tell You</a> &mdash; Before you buy a home, prepare yourself for insurance costs as well as home owners association/condo association fees. [DollarVersity]</p> <h2>Other Essential Reading</h2> <p><a href="http://www.girlsjustwannahavefunds.com/pay-bills-short-on-cash/">4 Resources to Pay Bills when Short on Cash</a> &mdash; If you are short on cash and need to pay bills, consider pawning electronics or jewelry. [Girls Just Wanna Have Funds]</p> <p><a href="http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2012/11/06/lessons-from-a-master/">Lessons from a master</a> &mdash; Remember that loving your work requires sacrifice. [Get Rich Slowly]</p> <p><a href="http://www.moolanomy.com/6333/how-do-you-define-financial-success-mmarquit01/">How Do You Define Financial Success?</a> &mdash; Financial success isn't just about money. It's about lifestyle too! [Moolanomy]</p> <p><a href="http://www.freemoneyfinance.com/2012/11/real-life-examples-of-how-i-score-at-outlet-malls.html">Real-Life Examples of How I Score at Outlet Malls</a> &mdash; You can save big at outlet malls by checking out the clearance racks. [Free Money Finance]</p> <p><a href="http://parentingsquad.com/a-great-fall-meal-with-fresh-tomatoes">A Great Fall Meal With Fresh Tomatoes</a> &mdash; If you have some fresh tomatoes, try making roaster red pepper and tomato soup. [Parenting Squad]</p> <h2>News &amp; Events</h2> <p><a href="http://www.pagatim.fm/nymep19">Live LIke You Have More, On Less</a> &mdash; Don't miss Philip Brewer's recent interview on Navigating Your Money! He was interviewed by Mike Tierney and discussed frugal living and financial freedom.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ashley-jacobs">Ashley Jacobs</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-money-tips-practical-gifts-that-give-back">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/ultimate-gift-guide-thoughtful-ideas-for-every-list-and-every-budget">Ultimate Gift Guide: Thoughtful Ideas for Every List and Every Budget</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/chinese-money-habits-how-my-culture-influences-my-attitudes-toward-money">Chinese Money Habits - How My Culture Influences My Attitudes Toward Money</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/25-great-gifts-for-5-or-less">25 Great Gifts for $5 or Less</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/9-gifts-that-wont-become-clutter">9 Gifts That Won&#039;t Become Clutter</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/holiday-gift-giving-for-the-truly-broke">14 Gift Ideas for the Truly Broke</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Shopping best money tips gifts giving practical Fri, 09 Nov 2012 10:36:48 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 955694 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-4"> <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/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">Here&#039;s How Generosity Actually Improves Your Life</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/5-times-its-ok-to-be-selfish-with-your-money">5 Times It&#039;s OK to Be &quot;Selfish&quot; With Your Money</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/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity">Can I Write It Off as Charity?</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/10-money-goals-all-30-somethings-should-have">10 Money Goals All 30-Somethings Should Have</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/generosity-or-stupidity">Generosity or Stupidity?</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 Ask the Readers: How Do You Give? (Chance to win $20!) http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-give-chance-to-win-20 <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-give-chance-to-win-20" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/giving.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="169" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p><em><strong>*** Congrats to our winners! ***</strong></em></p> <ul> <li><a class="active" href="../../../../../../ask-the-readers-how-do-you-give-chance-to-win-20#comment-433811">Comment #7: I give in a variety of</a> - Submitted by gt0163c on January 26, 2010 - 13:43.&nbsp; I give in a variety of ways.&nbsp; <p>I haven't been personally affected by the economic downturn so I decided to up my financial giving to a few missionaries recently. These are people who are personal friends and who I can speak to openly about finances and, in many cases, they are hurting because donations are down across the board.</p> <p>I've also done some &quot;cookie packages&quot; for the college ministers. I get together with a few friends and we bake up a bunch of homemade cookies, package them in individual ziploc bags and send them off to the college pastors and interns to give to their students. The responses that I've gotten back have been wonderful. The students love the cookies and the pastors get to say that there are these people who love and are praying for you who don't even know you. The time and monetary committment is small and who doesn't like cookies?</p> <p>I also give with my time. I do a lot of volunteer stuff with my church, sometimes in places where others are more hesitant to serve (with the high school youth especially. I love them. Most other people love that there's someone else who loves them in this way).</p> </li> <li> <p><span class="status-body"><a onclick="pageTracker._trackPageview('/exit/to/gsusfreek');" href="http://twitter.com/gsusfreek" class="tweet-url screen-name">gsusfreek</a> <span class="msgtxt en" id="msgtxt8250835539"><a onclick="pageTracker._trackPageview('/exit/to/wisebread')" href="http://twitter.com/wisebread" class="tweet-url username">@wisebread</a> I helped at my church by putting in insulation, playing on the worship team. I also volunteer in the community. &quot;<a href="http://twitter.com/search?q=%23WBAsk" class="tweet-url hashtag" title="#WBAsk"><b>#WBAsk</b></a>&quot;</span> <span class="meta entry-meta"><a href="http://twitter.com/gsusfreek/statuses/8250835539"> 6 days ago </a><span class="source">from <a href="http://twitter.com/">web</a></span></span></span></p> </li> </ul> <p><strong>Will you give more this year? Or are you just in &quot;survival mode?&quot;</strong></p> <p>Many people are making resolutions to give back to their communities and charitable organizations that have impacted their lives. Others are responding to the calls for aid in Haiti and are finding just a little more in their budget to help the cause. All of this is happening in spite of a down economy, job loss, and tightening budgets. How are we doing it? And are there tips to help others so that they have more to give?</p> <p>We'd love to hear your tips for giving. It can be ways that you stretch the budget so that you have room for donations, how you stockpile freebies to give to the less fortunate, or how you are giving more of your time and talents during your own time of economic trouble. Maybe you're not even thinking of giving right now &mdash; and that's OK, too! We'd love to hear your 2-cents! (We encourage you to link to your own blog posts if you've covered a similar topic on your own site.)</p> <p>Let us know your stories here in our comment thread or on Twitter, and you'll be entered to win one of two $20 Amazon giveaways. (Yes, that's right! We've doubled our prize money!) Dozens of readers have already won. You could be next!</p> <h2>Win a $20 Amazon Gift Certificate</h2> <p>We're doing two giveaways &mdash; one for random comments, and another one for a random <a href="http://www.twitter.com/">tweets</a>.</p> <h2>How to Enter:</h2> <ol> <li>Post your answer in the comments below, or</li> <li><a href="http://www.twitter.com/">Tweet</a> your answer. Include both &quot;<a href="http://twitter.com/wisebread" title=" @wisebread #moneytippers">@wisebread</a>&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; in your tweet so we'll see it and count it.</li> </ol> <p>If you're inspired to write a whole blog post, please link to it in the comments or tweet it.</p> <p>At the end of the drawing, we'll update this post to include (and link to) all of your helpful responses.</p> <h2>Giveaway Rules:</h2> <ul> <li>Contest ends Friday, January 29th at 11:59 am CST. Winners will be announced after January 29th on the original post and via Twitter. Winners will also be contacted via email and Twitter Direct Message.</li> <li>You can enter both drawings &mdash; once by leaving a comment and once by tweeting.</li> <li>Only tweets that contain both &quot;@wisebread&quot; and &quot;#WBAsk&quot; will be entered. (Otherwise, we won't see it.)</li> </ul> <p><strong>Good luck! </strong></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ask-the-readers-how-do-you-give-chance-to-win-20">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-7"> <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/ask-the-readers-200-giveaway-what-does-corporate-social-responsibility-mean-to-you">Ask the Readers $200 Giveaway: What Does Corporate Social Responsibility Mean to You?</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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/ask-the-readers-how-did-you-spend-your-first-paycheck">Ask the Readers: How Did You Spend Your First Paycheck?</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-your-money-can-support-your-values">4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values</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/ask-the-readers-should-kids-get-paid-for-doing-chores">Ask The Readers: Should Kids Get Paid For Doing Chores?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Giveaways Ask the Readers donations giving Tue, 26 Jan 2010 17:33:32 +0000 Linsey Knerl 4888 at http://www.wisebread.com Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year http://www.wisebread.com/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/hp_01.jpg" alt="Louise Gubb/The Carter Center " title="Louise Gubb/The Carter Center " class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>These are difficult economic times, but I'm getting tired of being told to spend my money on <em>stuff</em>, as if my personal saving habits are somehow ruining the economy. I'm no economist, and maybe I'm full of crap, but it seems to me that when I save money by putting it in a bank account or investing it in stocks via my retirement plan, I am directly addressing the core problem of the economy right now--liquidity--in a much more direct way than if I were to go to the dollar store and stock up on easter decorations that I don't want anyway. I&nbsp;have a different proposition. Instead of throwing money at retailers, let's throw it at people who really need it--the poor and disenfranchised who are most at risk in an economic downturn. Here are my top ten charity picks. I'd love to know what your favorites are, and will post a followup in a week or so with an updated list of recommended charities.&nbsp; [Update: and now there are ten!]</p> <p><strong>1. <a href="http://www.cartercenter.org/homepage.html">The Carter Center</a></strong></p> <p>This is an amazing organization founded by Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter with a unique mission. Many of us are ardent supporters of disease foundations that seek to find a cure for a devastating disease such as cancer. The Carter Foundation seeks to bring <em>known cures</em> for terrible diseases to third world nations that cannot afford them. The Carter foundation is currently campaigning to eradicate guinea worm, a painful and dangerous parasitic infection, from the world. Guinea worm is easily prevented by filtering drinking water. However, many countries in Africa have been too poor to distribute simple coffee filters so that people can remove the worm larvae from their drinking water. The Carter foundation has made an amazing difference in saving millions of people from guinea worm at a cost of pennies per person. This is a very powerful use of your dollars, and if you have just a few dollars to donate, this is the charity that will stretch those dollars the most. The Carter Center has a five star rating on <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a>, with a high percentage of donation going to actual program expenses.</p> <p><strong>2. <a href="http://www.cfcausa.org/">Christian Foundation for Children and Aging</a><br /> </strong></p> <p>This is a child sponsorship charity with which I've had an amazingly good experience. For $30 a month, I sponsor a child to receive assistance through the foundation. Assistance includes education and basic needs. I am able to correspond with the child, and we have exchanged many letters and photos. CCFA gives you the option to choose a young child, an older child, or an elderly person to receive assistance, or you can choose the person most in need. I took the last option, and I promptly received a packet describing a child named Luis in Guatamala. I really wish I could publish the series of three pictures I&nbsp;received from the foundation, but that would not be considerate of his privacy. Luis was about 12, and in the first picture he looked very small for his age, was wearing ill-fitting clothes, and looked thoroughly miserable. A year later, I had a picture of a very handsome young man with a bright smile. Luis sends me wonderful letters which he always illustrates with colored pencil drawings. I&nbsp;am very proud of him, and I&nbsp;hope to one day take advantage of the CCFA travel program, which provides very reasonable accommodations for a visit with your sponsored child. Because of the differential in cost of living between the US and Guatamala, I am able to make a huge difference in one child's life while making a small sacrifice in my own. In fact, it's kind of embarassing, the gratitude that he has expressed, considering that $30 is an amount I can easily spend on nothing. CCFA also gets five stars on Charity Navigator.</p> <p><strong>3. <a href="http://www.redcross.org/">American Red Cross</a><br /> </strong></p> <p>The Red Cross gets only two stars from charity navigator, indicating they need improvement in efficiency. Still, there's no other organization with the scope and vision of the Red Cross, and they are the only place you can donate blood instead of money. If you are able, consider giving at least a pint of blood to the red cross. The Red Cross does a great deal of disaster relief work. When my family was on vacation in Michigan's upper peninsula, in 2007, a major forest fire started within a few miles of our campground. We were not affected, but as it turned out, the Red Cross set up a tent with relief supplies near the firefighter's headquarters. Maybe they aren't the most efficienty charity working in this space, but I didn't see any other charities showing up at Four Corners crossings in da UP to offer relief to people who may be injured or displaced. I believe in this organization and will continue to support it. Some day, if my life calms down enough, I&nbsp;hope to become a trained Red Cross disaster volunteer in my community. (I&nbsp;looked at the training courses recently and sadly am not able to attend.)</p> <p><strong>4.<a href="http://www.icrc.org/eng"> International Committee of the Red Cross</a></strong></p> <p>This organization is doing critical relief work around the world. Right now, as we speak, there is a horrifying situation in Sri Lanka with tens of thousands of people trapped in a very small area, caught in cross fire between the Sri Lankan government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. the ICRC is the only aid organization with any access at all to this region, so if youw ant to help, this is the place to send your dollars. This is a terrible situation. News media have not been allowed in, but there are reports that people are using sheets of plastic for shelter and that bombs are falling among the crowds. These are people who are going to need immediate and comprehensive assistance as soon as they can be extracted from the situation.</p> <p><strong>5. <a href="http://www.habitat.org/">Habitat for Humanity</a><br /> </strong></p> <p>What can you say about Habitat? Great charity, doing great work. They don't just give away houses, they&nbsp; make people work their butts off for them. This is a charity that strengthens communities, puts people in homes, and doesn't wreck the economy while doing it. They deserve your support.</p> <p><strong>6. </strong><a href="http://www.ohsu.edu/health/clinics-and-services/doernbecher/"><strong>Doernbecher Children's Hospital Foundation</strong></a></p> <p>I&nbsp;was going to recommend St. Jude Children's Hospital, but when I did some research, they seemed to have an unacceptably high overhead as opposed to the amount of donations that actually go to research and helping people. Instead, consider Doernbecher, which has a similar mission, and a five star rating on charity navigator.</p> <p><strong>7. <a href="http://www.anera.org/">American Near East Refugee Aid</a></strong></p> <p>This is an organization helping another trapped group of people--civilians in Gaza. I have a solicitation from them right here in my incoming mail box, and after looking them up online, I feel very comfortable sending a contribution.</p> <p><strong>8. Your local church, department of human services, or animal shelter</strong></p> <p>There are some needs that are best addressed locally. Consider contributions to your church or your local animal shelter. (Do not contribute to the HSUS until you have researched the organization. You may not agree with their goals or tactics, and they are <strong>not</strong> normally affiliated with the &quot;humane society&quot; in your town.) Also check with your state government or county human services department about organizations that help foster children. Foster children are some of the most needy, most disenfranchised people in our society. Often there are not enough beds in foster homes for them, so they live in unstable, crowded conditions. Children who have not been abused when they enter care often end up being abused by the time they leave care, and due to frequent moves between homes, they have a hard time holding onto possessions. Many small charities collect money to purchase simple things like suitcases and Christmas presents for foster children. Children aging out of the foster system need a lot of help getting started in life, as well, and in this economy, it's not as easy for them to find jobs, much less go to college. You might also consider becoming a foster parent. It's not for everyone, but there is such a great need, and most people find it very rewarding.</p> <p><strong>9. <a href="http://www.sanfordhealth.org/Research/">Sanford Health, South Dakota</a></strong></p> <p>This isn't actually a recommendation for a place to donate your money, since they don't seem to be actively soliciting donations. Instead, I want to share with you this story of Denny Sanford's $400 million gift to Sioux Falls Health System. Unlike many philanthropists, Sanford did not dictate the research mission of the hospital when he made the gift. Instead, he solicited proposals from scientists for a project that would completely cure a disease within his remaining life span. He's kind of old, so it's going to be a horse race! The process was judged by scientists, and the winner was type I diabetes. Research at Sanford Health will focus on curing Type I diabetes through beta cell regeneration, as quickly as possible. I mention it here in case anyone has a significant gift or bequest and may be interested in joining Sanford in this mission, or perhaps using Sanford's process to start their own research institution or foundation! This is philanthropy done right. [Update: You CAN contribute to Sanford Health. Go to <a href="http://www.sanfordproject.com/">www.sanfordproject.com</a> and click on &quot;Make a Gift Online.&quot;]</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><a href="http://doctorswithoutborders.org/"><strong>10. Doctors without Borders</strong></a></p> <p>Thanks to the commentors, I&nbsp;can now complete my list of ten, which I started and got stuck at number nine. (Math and blogging don't mix for me.) This is another charity that introduces itself. Nobel-prize winning, courageous, important. I am a supporter and I&nbsp;hope you will be, too.</p> <p>Now, go! Make a leap of faith. Give your money away, and it will return to you tenfold, or so the saying goes. With an ROI like that, we can have 1000% growth in our economy in no time. What are your favorite charities?&nbsp;What are the best? The worst?</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/catherine-shaffer">Catherine Shaffer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">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-9"> <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/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values">4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">Here&#039;s How Generosity Actually Improves Your Life</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/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive">Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive</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/rich-people-spend-350k-to-park-their-cars-heres-how-wed-spend-it-instead">Rich People Spend $350K+ to Park Their Cars — Here&#039;s How We&#039;d Spend it Instead</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Budgeting charity donations giving taxes Wed, 25 Mar 2009 16:44:13 +0000 Catherine Shaffer 2976 at http://www.wisebread.com Manage your charitable giving http://www.wisebread.com/manage-your-charitable-giving <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/manage-your-charitable-giving" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/george-washington-statue_0.jpg" alt="George Washington Statue at Federal Hall" title="George Washington Statue at Federal Hall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="263" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you one of the people who responds to begging letters from national charitable organizations by occasionally sending money? I used to do that. In my case, it was mostly environmental organizations that I&#39;d send money to. I&#39;d send $20 or $35, depending on what I could afford. The problem is, that&#39;s a terrible way to support a charity.</p> <p>Have you ever noticed what happens if you send money in response to a mail or telephone solicitation? You start getting more solicitations--and not just from the charity that you donated to, but from a dozen other related charities.</p> <p>Give to the National Wildlife Federation and in just a few weeks you&#39;ll have begging letters from the Nature Conservancy, Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and five more environmental groups that come out of the woodwork asking for money.</p> <p>Give to Doctors without Borders and in no time you&#39;ll have Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and any number of other human rights organizations sending begging letters.</p> <p>It&#39;s not that there&#39;s a problem with any of these organizations. The point is that it&#39;s a terribly inefficient way for you to use your charitable giving dollar. Responding to whatever begging letter catches your eye when you happen to have a few dollars to spare encourages all these organizations to spend a bunch of extra money designing more eye-catching letters and to send them more often, which just wastes their time and money, your time and money, and the paper and fuel needed to print and deliver the letters.</p> <p>Far better to have a plan about where your charitable dollars should go.</p> <h2>Think</h2> <p>First, think about what you want to support. You&#39;ve got limited resources, so you obviously can&#39;t support everything. If you&#39;ve got just a little money, maybe it should all go one place. If you&#39;ve got a bit more, maybe you can support several. But don&#39;t imagine that you do more good sending $10 to ten different organizations than you do sending $100 to one.</p> <p>What should you think about? Here are a few ideas:</p> <ul> <li>Where is the need the greatest?</li> <li>How can I do the most good?</li> <li>Where can I make a difference?</li> <li>What are the biggest problems?</li> <li>What are the most urgent problems?</li> </ul> <p>When I get that far, I like to split the problem in half by deciding up front that I&#39;ll support some local charity and some national or international charity. It&#39;s not that the problems are greatest in my own home town--clearly there are more people suffering in Africa than in Champaign--and it&#39;s not that &quot;charity begins at home,&quot; but that with the local charities I can be more sure that I&#39;m actually helping. It may not be the most charitable thing I could do, but I find knowing that I&#39;m helping matters. It may not matter as much as actually helping does, but it matters.</p> <p>Mainly, though, think about where your passion lies. Health? Poverty? Education? Hunger? Conservation? What do you care enough about to commit to making a difference?</p> <h2>Investigate</h2> <p>Next is to investigate what your charitable options are. You can start with the begging letters that you get. Over the course of the year, open the begging letters, take out the calendars and return address labels and postcards and bumper stickers, and then file the actual letter that says what they do, together with the information on how to send in a donation. Late in the year, go through that file and pull out the names of the organizations that intrigue you.</p> <p>Many people donate through religious organizations--a combination of a local church and a denominational service organization with national or international reach is worth considering.</p> <p>Do a little research. Google the organizations and see what they say they do--and see what people say about them. It&#39;s not really practical to investigate their finances too deeply, but it&#39;s pretty easy to spot the out-and-out scam charities--the ones with a name similar to a legitimate charity, but that spend most of their money on fundraising and give only a token amount to their programs.</p> <p>There are also sites specifically for investigating charities. <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a>, for example, gives charities star ratings, and reports on their efficiency in turning donations into spending on their programs.</p> <p>Do some research entirely on your own. Look to see if there&#39;s some obscure organization whose mission matches your interests very closely. There are great organizations that don&#39;t do mass mail fundraising.</p> <h2>Decide</h2> <p>The first step in deciding is to budget for charitable giving. The need, of course, is infinite. You probably want to give something, or you wouldn&#39;t have read this far. Somewhere between zero and the combined net worth of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet is what you want to give. The average American household gives about 3.1% of their income to charity.</p> <p>The second step is allocating it to the organizations you&#39;ve investigated. Don&#39;t spread the money around too much--far better to give a useful amount to one or two organizations than a trivial amount to several.</p> <p>Many organizations let you assign your gift to some specific part of their mission--disaster relief for one specific region, for example. Although that&#39;s tempting, you should probably resist, unless you&#39;re donating such a large amount that you could be funding whole programs. Most charities take the wishes of their donors very seriously, and they will try to fulfill your wish, but unless you&#39;ve picked the wrong charity, they know where the need is better than you do. In general, you&#39;ll do the most good by picking a charity that works in the area you care about, and then letting the charity decide how best to put the money to work. </p> <h2>Give</h2> <p>Some people like to donate a bit each month, or even through a payroll deduction, because it makes it painless. If you can commit to putting the money aside over the course of the year and then sending it out all at once, it make the process cheaper for the charity, and more efficient for you (in terms of check-writing and record-keeping).</p> <p>I wrote earlier about using <a href="/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">donor-advised funds</a> to get the advantages of a private foundation without the paperwork. That&#39;s an especially good option for people whose budget for giving isn&#39;t stable from year to year.</p> <p>There are ways to give that don&#39;t involve money, of course.</p> <p><strong>Volunteering</strong> is always good. There are very few charities that won&#39;t welcome with open arms anyone willing to commit to helping advance their mission. A few hours a year will make a difference. A few hours a week will make a vast difference.</p> <p><strong>In-kind contributions</strong> are only occasionally useful. If you own a paint store and let the local Boys and Girls Club know that you&#39;ll provide supplies to paint their building, that&#39;s useful. If, on the other hand, if you hear that there&#39;s no safe drinking water in East Nowheresville due to flooding, don&#39;t expect that lugging a 12-pack of water bottles to your Red Cross office is going to help.</p> <p>Targeting your gifts to organizations that you select because you&#39;ve done some research and support their mission is far more effective than haphazardly sending checks off to groups that happen to ask when you happen to have money. There&#39;s a little extra effort involved on your part, but your cash will do a lot more good. It&#39;s worth taking the time to make a plan. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/manage-your-charitable-giving">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/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values">4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values</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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">Private foundations for ordinary folks</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-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">Here&#039;s How Generosity Actually Improves Your Life</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/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity">Can I Write It Off as Charity?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance charity giving Sun, 04 Nov 2007 12:30:13 +0000 Philip Brewer 1349 at http://www.wisebread.com Private foundations for ordinary folks http://www.wisebread.com/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/george-washington-statue.jpg" alt="George Washington Statue at Federal Hall" title="George Washington Statue at Federal Hall" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="263" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>There are a lot of advantages to having a private foundation to use as the vehicle for your charitable giving. Sadly, the tax laws make setting up a private foundation impractical unless you&#39;re wealthy. Fortunately, there&#39;s an alternative that&#39;s very nearly as good: a community foundation.</p> <h2>Advantages of a private foundation</h2> <p>The main advantages of a private foundation are:</p> <ol> <li>You can separate the step of donating the money from the step of granting the money to some particular organization that you want to support. In particular, you can donate the money when you have it (and, perhaps, when there&#39;s a tax advantage to making the donation), without having to decide exactly what organization will eventually get the money.</li> <li>You can create an endowment, making a gift where the capital sum of the gift is invested and the income is made available to the local service organizations or philanthropic projects that you want to support. Your single gift goes on supporting your charitable objectives into the future.</li> </ol> <p>You can get both of those advantages from a <strong>community foundation</strong>, without having to go through any of the paperwork or expense of creating a foundation. Community foundations were created for exactly this purpose. There&#39;s a community foundation for most cities and many towns, and the service area of community foundations usually includes the smaller towns and villages nearby.</p> <h2>Using a community foundation</h2> <p>The most flexible option is to create a &quot;donor advised fund.&quot; You donate money to the community foundation, which creates a fund for your philanthropic interests. From time to time you send a letter to the fund telling them to make a grant to some local organization. It&#39;s called &quot;donor advised&quot; for a reason: technically the foundation owns the money (that&#39;s why you get a charitable deduction when you donate the money). But in practice, the whole point of the community foundation is to carry out the wishes of the donors. As long as your request is legal--that is, it supports an actual charity--the foundation will pretty much do what you ask.</p> <p>Beyond just doing what you ask, the community foundation also provides a certain amount of extra value in the form of research, suggestions, contacts with local charitable organizations, and knowledge of local needs. Although this will vary a lot from foundation to foundation, it can be a big help in making your gift as effective as possible, and in saving you time and effort. </p> <p>Simpler than the donor advised funds are &quot;field of interest&quot; funds, where you simply specify a particular area that you want to support (medical research, youth programs, historical preservation, human services, etc.) and the foundation will use your money to make grants in support of activities in that area. </p> <p>You can also specify a specific organization to receive the income from your donation. Here again, the community foundation provides some additional value. If the organization that you specified disappears (which may very well happen eventually--since they&#39;re only spending the income and are preserving the capital, there&#39;s every possibility that your fund will exist in perpetuity), the community foundation will pick one or more replacement organizations, doing their best to make sure that the money continues to support your charitable intent. </p> <p>Local organizations would, of course, be pleased to receive the whole gift. However, most local organizations would find some excuse to go ahead and spend the money right away, rather than spending just the income. My father and I talked to the senior center in the town where his parents had lived, indicating that we wanted to make a gift to support projects in memory of his parents. They were enthusiastic, describing a similar gift that had been made a few years earlier, where the income went to fund an annual bus trip to a major league ball game. They admitted, though, that after making the trip for a few years, one year they had a budget deficit just about the size of the principal that funded the baseball trip. The spent the principle, and the annual trips ended. If the money is in the hands of a foundation, that sort of result can be avoided.</p> <p>A community foundation is particularly attractive if you have a lump of money that you want to donate that is not representative of your future giving. For example, a friend of mine earns a modest sum every year from some software that she wrote years ago. She doesn&#39;t need the money to live on, so she donates it to charity each year. One year, though, the software did very well, and she ended up with several thousand dollars. That put her in something of a quandary. If she gave the whole sum to one organization in one year, she would suddenly become a major donor and could expect to be wooed to make future large donations--which were not in the cards, because the software could not be expected to produce such outsized returns in future years. On top of that, she had tended to rotate her donations among a few similar organizations, and now she was face with either changing a rotating practice that had worked well (perhaps by splitting the money), or else giving an outsized donation to just one of the organizations that she supported and not the others.</p> <p>I suggested that a community foundation donor advised fund could solve all those problems. She could donate that year&#39;s large sum, and future sums of whatever size. The fund could make donations to each of the groups she supported, in exactly the same rotation she&#39;d been following.</p> <h2>Finding your community foundation</h2> <p>It&#39;s pretty easy to find your community foundation: Just google &quot;community foundation&quot; plus the name of your town or the nearest city. There is also a tool for finding your local foundation at <a href="http://www.communityfoundations.net/">communityfoundations.net</a> and at the <a href="http://www.cof.org/">Council on Foundations</a>. (They seem to both point to the same tool, which seems to be down just now as I write this, but that I assume will be working again shortly.) Besides providing the locator tool, their websites are also excellent resources for anyone interested in charitable giving. </p> <h2>A nationwide alternative</h2> <p>There is one circumstance where a community foundation isn&#39;t the best choice: if most of the groups you want to support are not local. (Community foundations, by their very nature, prefer to support local groups.) In that case, one option to consider would be the Fidelity Charitable Gift Fund, or one of several similar funds available from other mutual fund companies. These funds work more or less exactly like the donor advised funds in a community foundation, although there&#39;s some concern that they&#39;re not properly policing the directions that come from the donors.</p> <p>There are a lot of worthy causes--local, regional, national, international--and a lot of organizations that will take your money and do good work. A community foundation is a tool that you can use to manage your charitable giving, especially in cases where you&#39;re in a position to make a larger-than-usual gift in one particular year, and especially where you want to support local charitable activities.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/philip-brewer">Philip Brewer</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">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-6"> <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/4-ways-your-money-can-support-your-values">4 Ways Your Money Can Support Your Values</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/ten-great-charities-that-deserve-your-dollars-this-year">Ten Great Charities that Deserve Your Dollars This Year</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/giving-is-better-than-blogging-or-is-it">Giving is Better Than Blogging... or IS it?</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/manage-your-charitable-giving">Manage your charitable giving</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/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">Giving to Charity is Great. But How Do You Pick One?</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Life Hacks charity foundations funds giving philanthropy Tue, 28 Aug 2007 12:04:48 +0000 Philip Brewer 1054 at http://www.wisebread.com Thanks, Mom http://www.wisebread.com/thanks-mom <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/heartpaper.jpg" alt=" " width="232" height="165" /></p> <p>My mom is awesome. There, I&#39;ve said it. My mom is really one of the best moms that anyone could ever hope for. She&#39;s always there to talk, she&#39;s fun to have around, and my whole family is really good about helping each other out. I&#39;m stuck in the office today, on Mother&#39;s Day, but I was thinking about all of the things that Mom has done for me over the years as I plugged away at the computer today.</p> <p>About two hours ago, I was working on some boring xml files, when a baby bird flew into my window. He didn&#39;t hit it very hard, and tried to change direction just beforer running into it, so it wasn&#39;t one of those awful collisions in which you just know that the bird is dead. It was still noisy enough to scare the bejesus out of me and make me spill hot coffee down my front and across my desk.</p> <p>As I sponged off with some Microsoft-issue paper towels, I watched the baby bird sit on the ground and shake his head a few times, trying to get his bearings. He was really quite small and cute, and he looked utterly alone. It was probably one of his first flight attempts, and he clearly hadn&#39;t gotten the &quot;Don&#39;t fly towards those big shiny surfaces&quot; memo. </p> <p>Only a few seconds later, his mother found him. She hopped over, gave him quick once-over, and nudged him a bit.</p> <p>I know birds don&#39;t have particularly expressive faces, but you could almost read the relief in this little guy&#39;s body language. She took a couple of hops away from him and looked back. He hopped unsteadily after her.</p> <p>A few seconds later, he opened his maw and started begging.</p> <p>His mother began gathering seeds and bugs from the ground to drop into his demanding gullet. She seemed to have an air of patient parenting about her, although I know that her behavior is more instinct and less about tolerating lazy offspring. This &quot;baby&quot; is probably getting to the point where he can peck his own food off of the ground. He&#39;s learning to fly, afterall. All his feathers are grown in, and with the exception of the window incident, he looks as though he&#39;s about ready to start taking care of himself.</p> <p>I started to wonder if maybe this baby bird, who I&#39;m calling Larry, is possibly a great big teenager who&#39;s refusing to learn to live on his own. Maybe Larry technically CAN fly and get his own food, but he&#39;d rather mom do all the work for him. Clearly, I have issues with anthropomorphism (I think I used the term correctly this time), because I was really beggining to ponder taking Larry&#39;s mom aside and saying, &quot;You know what? I think Larry can handle this on his own. Also, did you noticed that Larry is getting a little pudgy? Just a thought.&quot;</p> <p>And then I remembered a time that I like to call The Worst 6 Months of My Life.</p> <p>For some reason, my sophomore year in college sucked. It&#39;s a long story involving a crazy roommate, an overly-sensitive Dorm Committee, a vindictive Campus Housing Office, and something that was referred to as &quot;dorm dynamics&quot;. The long and short of it is that, in the spring of 1997, I sort of lost it. The drama of a bad living situation that refused to get better really wore me down.</p> <p>I became depressed. I couldn&#39;t stop sleeping - I would literally wake up, eat breakfast, and go back to sleep for another 23 hours. I got very strange infections under my cuticles so that my fingertips were swollen and red and painful. Then I lost my appetite altogether. To top it all off, my grandfather was very ill and I was thousands of miles away. I remember calling my mom and not really being able to say anything at all.</p> <p>Mom could tell that I was cracking. She flew me back to the West Coast to visit my grandfather. Then, she and I went on a road trip around the rainforests of Washington State. We circled the Olympic Peninsula, staying in small rustic lodges, going for long hikes wearing bright yellow rain slickers, and eating fresh seafood by roaring fireplaces. It was the best time I&#39;d had in ages, a very therapeutic experience, and still a highlight of my life. My mom picked me up out of my slump, reminded me that there were people who cared deeply about me, and took care of me when I most desperately needed her help (it should be noted that my mom, who is a nurse by trade, was also the only person to correctly diagnose my case of appendicitis - the doctors had it pegged as all kinds of other things). </p> <p>Even though I was technically old enough to take care of myself, it was good to have my mom there, being a mom. I was 19 years old, but I felt like a 9-year old. I was helpless at that point, emotionally drained and physically ailing. I don&#39;t know how things would have gone if my mom hadn&#39;t sensed the desperation and pain in my voice. I might have dropped out of college. </p> <p>Basically, I had run into a big glass window. And I might have sat there on the ground with no idea how to go on if my mom hadn&#39;t hopped over and nudged me, taken me under her wing, and reminded me just how much she loved me.</p> <p>I returned to college after a couple of weeks, feeling refreshed and ready to make the best out of a lousy situation.</p> <p>Today, when I was watching Larry the Baby Bird hop around as his mother patiently fed him, I was a little concerned that he wasn&#39;t maturing fast enough. But now I realize that Larry&#39;s mom was just helping him up after he fell. </p> <p>Chances are that she had seen him crash into the window, and fretted a bit over her teenager. Then she swooped down, gave him a little nudge, and fed him until he remembered how to feed himself.</p> <p>About an later, Larry started pecking at the ground on his own. Maybe his mother&#39;s patience ran out, or maybe he just remembered how to take care of himself. But thank goodness his mom was there. I&#39;m sure that Larry is, in his own way, really thankful that he has such an attentive and caring mom.</p> <p>Just as I am thankful.</p> <p><em>(Photo by </em><a href="http://www.flickr.com/people/fabrisalvetti/"><em>Fabrizio Salvetti</em></a><em>)</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/andrea-karim">Andrea Karim</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thanks-mom">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-7"> <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/jar-of-nothing-the-perfect-present-for-the-picky-prick-in-your-life">Jar of Nothing: the perfect present for the picky prick in your life</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/heres-how-generosity-actually-improves-your-life">Here&#039;s How Generosity Actually Improves Your 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/blogs-are-not-second-class">Blogs are Not Second Class</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/the-5-best-apps-for-busy-working-parents">The 5 Best Apps for Busy Working Parents</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/4-parenting-mistakes-to-avoid-when-teaching-kids-about-money">4 Parenting Mistakes to Avoid When Teaching Kids About Money</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Extra Commentary giving Mother's day motherhood parenting selfless Mon, 14 May 2007 02:05:18 +0000 Andrea Karim 641 at http://www.wisebread.com