charitable giving http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/8041/all en-US 10 Ways to Give Back on #GivingTuesday Without Breaking the Bank http://www.wisebread.com/10-ways-to-give-back-on-givingtuesday-without-breaking-the-bank <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/10-ways-to-give-back-on-givingtuesday-without-breaking-the-bank" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock-597674192.jpg" alt="give back on giving tuesday without breaking the bank" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Get out your wallet and warm up your charitable spirit because #GivingTuesday is right around the corner. This worldwide day of philanthropy takes place on November 29th, (the Tuesday after Thanksgiving) and marks the start of the charitable giving season. In 2015, over 700,000 people in 70 countries participated in <a href="https://www.givingtuesday.org">#GivingTuesday</a>, giving $116 million in online donations. However, in a time when money is tight due to holiday expenses, finding the funds to make donations can be challenging. The good news? You can still participate and get in the charitable spirit.</p> <p>Here are 10 ways you can give on #GivingTuesday without breaking your budget.</p> <h2>1. Use Philanthropic Apps</h2> <p>Put your smartphone to good use and download apps that can help you give back without spending a dime! If you are active, download <a href="http://www.charitymiles.org">Charity Miles</a>, <a href="http://resqwalk.com/">ResQWalk</a>, or <a href="http://www.wooftrax.com/">WoofTrax</a> to have the miles you walk or run earn money for charity. Or if you love taking photos, use the <a href="http://donateaphoto.com/en_US">Donate a Photo</a> app to share your photos and have $1 per photo be donated to charity.</p> <h2>2. Donate Your Rewards</h2> <p>If you earn rewards through loyalty programs or credit cards, why not use your points for good? Donate your <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-to-sell-or-donate-your-airline-miles">frequent flyer miles</a> that are about to expire to charity, or if you have a rewards credit card, you may be able to use your points to donate to charity. Some <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/best-credit-cards-that-give-back-to-charity?ref=internal">credit cards even give to charity</a> when you sign up, or use your card.</p> <h2>3. Shop Socially Conscious Companies</h2> <p>Do some research before you start your holiday spending and give your business to companies that give back. For example, when buying a new pair of shoes for your kids, buy from <a href="http://www.toms.com">TOMS</a> to ensure that for every shoe you buy, one is given to someone in need. Or, if you have holiday travel plans and need a pet sitter, booking one through <a href="http://www.sittingforacause.com">Sitting for a Cause</a> (which, full disclosure, I own and operate) ensures a portion of the money you spend on your pet's care helps homeless animals.</p> <h2>4. Ask Your Employer About Charitable Benefits</h2> <p>Find out if your employer offers donation matching, and if they do, have them match any charitable contributions you make. Or see if your employer offers paid volunteer hours so you can give your time to a worthy cause. If your employer doesn't offer these programs, bring them up at your next review and see if you can get either option added to your benefits package.</p> <h2>5. Give Through Decluttering</h2> <p>Take a few hours to do declutter your home and get rid of items you no longer use. Have old blankets or towels? Donate them to your local animal shelter. Have tons of books collecting dust? Donate them to the library. Are extra clothes taking up space in your closet? Donate them to Goodwill.</p> <h2>6. Purchase Through AmazonSmile</h2> <p>Almost everyone uses Amazon to shop these days, but the next time you decide to make a purchase through Amazon, use&nbsp;<a href="https://smile.amazon.com/">AmazonSmile</a> instead. You can select a charity you'd like to benefit from your purchases and each time you make an eligible purchase, .5% of your payment will be sent to your designated charity.</p> <h2>7. Give Your Expertise</h2> <p>Are you a superstar at social media, a pro at photography, or a whiz at writing? Use your expertise to help one of your local nonprofits. It's not uncommon for a charity's resources to be limited, so helping with their social media, contributing to their blog, or offering to take photos at their events (or for animal shelters, taking photos of their adoptable pets) can have a positive impact on their success.</p> <h2>8. Become a Foster Parent</h2> <p>If you have the emotional stamina, open up your home to a child or animal in need. Foster homes are always needed for children or pets who are waiting to find permanent homes. Especially when it comes to animals, having a foster home alleviates the stress of being in a shelter and opens up space for another pet to wait for their home, so you've helped save two lives instead of just one!</p> <h2>9. Give Parts of Yourself</h2> <p>Do you have long hair? Are needles not at all scary to you? Then give to help others! Charities like&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wigsforkids.org/donate-hair">Wigs for Kids</a>,&nbsp;<a href="http://www.locksoflove.org/">Locks of Love</a>, and&nbsp;<a href="http://pantene.com/en-us/brandexperience/prepare-your-hair">Pantene Beautiful Lengths</a> are always looking for hair donations to make wigs for those in need. Alternately, you can head to your local hospital or participate in a&nbsp;<a href="http://www.redcrossblood.org/">Red Cross blood drive</a> to donate blood or platelets.</p> <h2>10. Volunteer</h2> <p>When money is tight, the simplest way to give back is by donating your time to a worthy cause. Volunteers are often the backbone that keep nonprofits running, so by taking the time to volunteer, you are enabling the cause you work with to keep making a difference.</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/10-ways-to-give-back-on-givingtuesday-without-breaking-the-bank">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/20-places-where-you-can-always-shop-for-a-worthy-cause">20 Places Where You Can Always Shop for a Worthy Cause</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/how-to-spot-a-charity-scam-from-a-mile-away">How to Spot a Charity Scam From a Mile Away</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/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive">Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive</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/8-charities-you-can-trust-with-your-holiday-donations">8 Charities You Can Trust With Your Holiday Donations</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Shopping charitable giving charity donations fostering Giving Back giving Tuesday Fri, 25 Nov 2016 11:00:08 +0000 Ashley Jacobs 1839209 at http://www.wisebread.com The "I Knew It!" Benefit of Expense Tracking http://www.wisebread.com/the-i-knew-it-benefit-of-expense-tracking <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-i-knew-it-benefit-of-expense-tracking" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/bridge.jpg" alt="Bridge" title="Bridge" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It's worth tracking your spending because it's the only way to learn where your money is going. But it's worth doing for another reason as well. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/track-your-spending-or-not">Track Your Spending. Or Not.</a>)</p> <p>Unless you're tracking your spending, you don't really know where your money is going. Not even if you know to the penny how much goes for your mortgage or rent payment, your car or student loan payment, your tuition payment, and all the other big bills in your life. That's because, as anyone who has ever tracked their spending can tell you, there's a lot of money in the small payments.</p> <p>If you're not tracking your spending, you have no idea how much money is just leaking away in dribs and drabs, going for coffee shop coffees, fast food lunches, drinks with the boys, no-special-occasion gifts for that special someone, new gadgets, overages on data plans, pet food, lawn care products, vending machine snacks...</p> <p>Getting a handle on that spending is the big reason to track it. But there's another reason &mdash; <em>it's deeply affirming to confirm your sense that those big payments really are as big as they seem.</em></p> <p>When I first started tracking my spending, I was only a little surprised to see that my biggest <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/refactor-your-budget-categories">spending category</a> was taxes. (And that was just federal income taxes, state income taxes, and FICA. I never drilled down to the level of breaking out sales tax, which would have added several percent to the tax category.)</p> <p>My response, the first time I saw the pie chart with the biggest wedge being the one marked <em>Taxes</em> was, &quot;I knew it!&quot;</p> <p>If you're one of the many readers working hard to pay off debt, seeing a big wedge of spending going toward debt repayment can be rewarding as well &mdash; all your effort and discipline reflected in a brightly-colored wedge. (This is true even though <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/debt-repayment-is-not-an-expense">debt payment isn't really an expense</a>.)</p> <p>Those big wedges show what you're paying toward your most critical needs and most cherished wants. (Taxes being a special case &mdash; but surely staying out of prison is high on the list of needs and wants.)</p> <p>Your spending should reflect your values. The big win of tracking your spending is that you can see whether it does or not. When you find a mismatch, you can adjust your spending to reflect what you really want.</p> <p>That's a big win. But it may be an even bigger win when you find that there <em>isn't</em> a mismatch. It's great when you look at the top ten categories of spending and can say, &quot;Yeah, I knew that. That's not only what I expected, it's just the way I think it ought to be.&quot;</p> <p>There's real comfort in that.</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/the-i-knew-it-benefit-of-expense-tracking">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/6-quick-tips-for-organizing-your-finances">6 Quick Tips for Organizing Your Finances</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/be-in-charge-of-your-finances">Be In Charge of Your Finances</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/create-your-own-raise">Create Your Own Raise</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/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 charitable giving tracking debt tracking spending Tue, 11 Dec 2012 10:36:49 +0000 Philip Brewer 955797 at http://www.wisebread.com Tax Deductions to Start Thinking About Now http://www.wisebread.com/tax-deductions-to-start-thinking-about-now <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tax-deductions-to-start-thinking-about-now" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/4838657180_8b4cc1c935_z.jpg" alt="doing paperwork" title="doing paperwork" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="150" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Unlike most people, I love taxes. In fact, I enjoy taxes so much that one of my first posts as a Wise Bread writer was <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/i-love-tax-season-and-why-its-like-christmas">I Love Tax Season, and Why It's Like Christmas</a>. So before we get too close to Christmas &mdash; and hence the end of the year &mdash; it's important to begin thinking about taxes.</p> <p>Specifically, what tax deductions should you think about now, so you aren't left scrambling on December 30th?</p> <p>Here's my three-step process to determining which tax deductions to start thinking about now. Do note, though, that tax laws may change before the end of the year. Always consult a tax advisor if you are planning on making any major changes to your finances based on this information. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-hire-an-accountant">How to Hire an&nbsp;Accountant</a>)</p> <h3>Determine: Will You Itemize?</h3> <p>Many people don't need to even think about most tax deductions. For most people, whether they donate money to charity on December 31st or January 1st won't affect their taxes. That's because most people don't &quot;itemize&quot; their deductions. That is, the vast majority of Americans take a standard deduction and don't individually compute all the smaller deductions that they might otherwise be able to take. If you take the standard deduction, you don't need to think about all that many deductions (see the exceptions in the next section).</p> <p>So how do you know if you'll itemize next year or not? Look at this past year's return. Now ask yourself, &quot;Have I had any major life changes in the past year &mdash; bought (or sold) a house, increased or decreased my income, gotten married or divorced, started or graduated school, had a baby?&quot; Many major life changes will affect your filing. But if you haven't had any major life changes during this year, chances are that you you will file the same way you did last year. You should simply consult last year's return and see if you filed a Schedule A.</p> <h3>Regardless of Whether You Itemize: Consider These Deductions</h3> <p>Only a handful of deductions are considered &quot;above the line&quot; deductions. You can take these deductions regardless of whether or not you itemize. So, no matter whether or not you itemize (this means YOU as everyone who pays taxes will either itemize or take the standard deduction), start thinking about these deductions. If you can afford you pay more into these categories now, you'll save more tax dollars next year.</p> <p><strong>Educator Expenses</strong></p> <p>As a &quot;qualified educator,&quot; you can deduct up to $250 for unreimbursed expenses that you incurred for classroom materials. See the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/taxtopics/tc458.html">IRS educator expenses page</a> for more information</p> <p><strong>Health Savings Account</strong></p> <p>Unlike <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-ideas-for-using-your-fsa-before-year-end">flexible spending accounts</a>, health savings accounts (HSAs) rollover from year to year, and you can even take them with you when you leave your job. So, if you have extra money and anticipate higher-than-usual health care expenses in the next few years, up your contributions this year. More information is available in <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p969/ar02.html">IRS Publication 969</a>.</p> <p><strong>Alimony Paid</strong></p> <p>If you currently pay alimony, consider prepaying part of next year's alimony. Just be sure to consult your dissolution agreement and lawyer if you wish to do this.</p> <p><strong>IRA</strong></p> <p>If you contribute to an IRA (but not a Roth IRA) you can deduct your contributions from your taxes. (Most people do this through a plan at work.) <a href="http://www.irs.gov/Retirement-Plans/IRA-Deduction-Limits">The IRS's Deduction Limits page</a> directs you to all the current IRA limits depending on your situation, but the most important thing to know is that if you have extra money this year, you should save more for retirement. You'll thank yourself later.</p> <p><strong>Tuition and Fees</strong></p> <p>If you are currently in school, you may be able to prepay next semester's tuition and take the tax break sooner rather than later. Check with your school about paying tuition early.</p> <p><strong>Student Loan Interest</strong></p> <p>If you've now graduated from school and are paying back your loans, talk to your student loan provider to find out if you can prepay a few student loan payments &mdash; you'll get to deduct the interest this year instead of next.</p> <p>Personally, if I had extra money this year that I wanted to use towards lowering my tax liability, the two biggest things I would focus on my increasing contributions to my Health Savings Account and IRA.</p> <h3>If You Itemize, Also Think About These Deductions</h3> <p>If you itemized your deductions last year, pull out your tax return and see what deductions you took. There are a lot of hidden deductions or deductions that are only available if you spend a certain amount of your income on that category (like medical expenses &mdash; not all are deductible &mdash; you can only deduct medical expenses if they reach 7.5% of adjusted gross income). When you know which deduction you took last year, you'll have a better sense of what areas you may want to contribute more to by this year's end.</p> <p>Here are my favorite itemized tax deductions to consider adjusting for this year.</p> <p><strong>Charitable Contributions</strong></p> <p>My spouse and I have set up <a href="http://womensmoneyweek.com/set-up-automatic-monthly-giving-to-charity/">automatic monthly giving to charity</a> so that our contributions to our favorite charities are spread throughout the year and the nonprofit knows they can depend on our gift. But around mid-October to early November every year we also make a list of all the other charities we want to give to and how much we can give. It's a great feeling to be able to be generous. Plus, when you itemize your taxes, every dollar you give away only costs you cents on the dollar. For instance, if you're in a 25% tax bracket, for every dollar you donate to charity it only costs you $0.75.</p> <p><strong>Mortgage Interest</strong></p> <p>Just like you may be able to prepay your student loans, you should also think about making additional payments on your mortgage. If you itemize deductions, you can deduct your mortgage interest.</p> <p><strong>Property Taxes</strong></p> <p>If you own a home and have the extra money to prepay your mortgage, there's also a chance you can prepay your property tax. However, depending on your mortgage company, your property taxes may be paid directly by the bank from an amount in escrow. (This is because you pay the bank monthly for the amount due on your property taxes and then, when property taxes are due, the bank sends the check.) So don't go sending checks to your city without first determining whether or not you pay property taxes out of pocket or through your mortgage company.</p> <p><strong>Miscellaneous Deductions</strong></p> <p>There are a whole host of miscellaneous deductions you can take. These include everything from gambling losses (but only to the extent of your gambling winnings) to losses from &quot;Ponzi-type investment schemes&quot; to certain legal expenses. A <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p529/ar02.html#en_US_publink100026911">full list of deductions with explanations</a> is available on the IRS website. Some of these miscellaneous deductions are subject to a 2% limit, which requires that the expenses add up to 2% of your adjusted gross income.</p> <p><strong>Business Expenses</strong></p> <p>If you own a business and use the cash basis method of accounting, whatever business purchases you make this year can likely be deducted this year. So, for instance, if you have a conference early next year, you may want to purchase your plane ticket now, instead of waiting until the new year.</p> <p>Start doing some tax deduction planning now and you'll save yourself a lot of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/3-ways-to-beat-holiday-shopping-stress">stress around the holidays</a> (and some money when it comes to tax time).</p> <p><em>Which deductions are you currently planning to take?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/elizabeth-lang">Elizabeth Lang</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-deductions-to-start-thinking-about-now">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/10-surprising-ways-real-estate-cuts-your-taxes">10 Surprising Ways Real Estate Cuts Your Taxes</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-your-taxes-will-change-after-marriage">Here&#039;s How Your Taxes Will Change After Marriage</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/101-tax-deductions-for-bloggers-and-freelancers">101 Tax deductions for bloggers and freelancers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions">Surprising Charitable Tax Deductions</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes charitable giving deductions Holidays Mon, 15 Oct 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Elizabeth Lang 955014 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprisingly Easy Ways You Can Support Charity http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/volunteers at state park.jpg" alt="volunteers at state park" title="volunteers at state park" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="188" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Supporting a charity can be surprisingly easy. For example, last week, I helped the Denver Parks &amp; Recreation to improve an&nbsp;<a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lincoln_Park,_Denver">inner city park</a> as part of a <a href="http://fincon12.sched.org/event/443e88ee70b32cd3ceb9fd549e7eae79#.UE-SdbJlQWc">service project associated with a professional conference</a>. During the course of a couple of hours, the playground area was made safer and the grounds were readied for the fall and winter. The effort was minimal for me, but the impact overall was significant.</p> <p>You may want to further the mission of a charitable or non-profit group, but don't have lots of time or money to give. If so, lend a hand to those who are orchestrating events, overseeing service activities, and raising money to fund projects and programs. By supporting their efforts, even in seemingly minor ways, you can help make a major difference in the community. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">Giving to Charity Is Great.&nbsp;But How Do You&nbsp;Pick&nbsp;One?</a>)</p> <h2>Volunteer</h2> <p>Notice requests for volunteers at home, school, and work. Respond to the needs that inspire you and allow you to reach your goals while helping others.</p> <p><strong>Participate in One-Day Service Projects</strong></p> <p>Professional groups, churches, and schools often organize half-day or day-long events that focus on one major project or a handful of ones from which people choose. Your efforts may benefit the local environment, a food bank, or a homeless shelter.</p> <p><strong>Volunteer Through Your Company</strong></p> <p>Take advantage of employer programs that encourage volunteerism, place you with local agencies, and give you time off during the workday to serve in the community.</p> <p><strong>Get Your Family Involved</strong></p> <p>If your kids (especially teens) want to support a charity through service, accompany them or help make arrangements for volunteer activities.</p> <p><strong>Sign Up for Special Events</strong></p> <p>Organizers often need volunteers to assist with event-day activities. You may be able to snag bonuses like <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-perfectly-respectable-ways-to-get-a-free-meal">free meals</a> or a pass to festivities.</p> <p><strong>Volunteer Online</strong></p> <p>Some projects can be done online in your free time. For example, you might help a local charity with online communications or assist with a project through <a href="http://www.sparked.com/">Sparked.com</a>.</p> <p>There may be a few frustrating moments when trying something new. But volunteering, especially for simple and short-term assignments, can be a meaningful way to get involved with the community, expand your professional network and circle of friends, and develop new skills without overcommitting yourself.</p> <h2>Be Social</h2> <p>Hang out with friends in real life and/or online while supporting a great cause. Consider these ways to socialize for a mission.</p> <p><strong>Eat Out With Friends</strong></p> <p>Head for the barbecue, pancake breakfast, or spaghetti supper sponsored by the fire department, neighborhood school, or local civic group. Patronize fund-raising meals with friends to support a good cause without spending too much money. If you'd rather enjoy more elegant surroundings and a fancier meal, dine at restaurants on nights that they donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.</p> <p><strong>Follow Charities on Social Networks</strong></p> <p>By <a href="http://mashable.com/2009/07/14/support-charity-sosg/">following or liking groups on Facebook, Twitter, etc.</a>, and sharing their stories, you can help raise awareness of certain causes and specific projects.</p> <p><strong>Organize Activities Using Social Media</strong></p> <p>Harness the power of your online connections to help people in the real world. For example, a friend learned about an inner-city agency's need for school supplies on Facebook and posted about her plans to collect items; within a week, she received donations from her friends and helped to make sure that area children had what they needed to go to school.</p> <p>Don't expect that all of your friends will be as excited as you are to support a charity. Collaborate with those who have similar interests.</p> <h2>Get Rid of Stuff</h2> <p>Be supportive by donating items that are needed by a charity for reuse, repurpose, or sale. <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">Declutter</a>, <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions">get a tax deduction</a>, and support a cause. Goodwill is a great destination for many things but also consider these ways of turning your old, extra, or unwanted stuff into treasure.</p> <p><strong>Contribute to a Yard Sale</strong></p> <p>Give clothes, household items, etc. to an organization that is holding a yard sale. Watch for announcements requesting donations or hold stuff for groups that host community sales on a regular basis.</p> <p><strong>Redeem Rewards for Charity</strong></p> <p>You may be able to redeem or transfer points associated with bank card or shopping rewards programs to support a designated charity. Turn points into a cash donation or help a charity purchase an item (from the rewards catalog) for its operations.</p> <p><strong>Give Books to the Needy</strong></p> <p>Many charitable organizations accept books and either distribute them to children and families or sell them to generate funds. Check out this list of groups that can put your <a href="http://www.moneycrashers.com/where-donate-used-books/">book discards to good use</a>, or donate <a href="http://www.paperbackswap.com/index.php">PaperBackSwap</a> book credits to a needy school or military group.</p> <p><strong>Take Nice Items to a Consignment Shop</strong></p> <p>Some shops have donor programs in which proceeds can benefit a cause selected by the owner or the charity of your choice.</p> <p>Before you drop off a trunk-load of discards at a group's office or service site, find out if your favorite organizations can benefit from your items. Sorting through loads of stuff to find one or two things of value isn't worth the trouble for most charities, so be discerning about what you give to help rather than hinder.</p> <h2>Go Shopping</h2> <p>Get the stuff you need and want while supporting a charity. Proceeds might benefit local schools and youth organizations or global efforts to relieve hunger, provide employment for the economically disadvantaged, and clothe children. You can go shopping for a purpose in the following ways.</p> <p><strong>Snag Bargains at Yard Sales</strong></p> <p>Because items are donated, the full amount of your purchases (rather than just a small percentage) typically goes directly to the charity.</p> <p><strong>Patronize Retailers Run by Charitable Organizations</strong></p> <p>Some charities operate retail locations such as a gift shop or farmers market. Shop where proceeds benefit a cause or charity that you want to support.</p> <p><strong>Use Discount Coupons</strong></p> <p>Department stores often sponsor charity days that benefit area groups. Buy a coupon and then get discounts on purchases throughout the day or during specified hours.</p> <p><strong>Buy Stuff That Kids Are Selling</strong></p> <p>If proceeds benefit a cause that you are passionate about, then buy the fruit, candy, cookies, popcorn, giftwrap, etc. to support the charitable organization. Sadly, most are overpriced but a few &mdash; like the citrus fruit sales &mdash; are good deals.</p> <p><strong>Shop for a Social Mission</strong></p> <p>Many companies have a social mission that your purchases support, either on a regular basis (like <a href="http://www.toms.com/">Tom's Shoes</a> or <a href="http://www.humblebundle.com/">Humble Bundle</a>)&nbsp;or as a special offer (like <a href="http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2011/09/that-buzzing-in-my-ear-didnt-mean-i-was-about-to-die.html">End Malaria</a>).</p> <p><strong>Buy Wish-List Items</strong></p> <p>Many charities have items on their wish lists, which might include baby blankets or basketball goals. If you would rather not give a monetary gift, shop for and then donate wish-list items.</p> <p>Shopping to benefit charity can mean spending more than you would otherwise. Stuff that kids sell, for example, often costs significantly more than items sold at a traditional retailer. Scrutinize offers so that you can save money and support a great cause at the same time.</p> <h2>Get Active</h2> <p>Support charity fund-raisers by participating in local athletic events. Proceeds from entry fees benefit sponsoring organizations or designated beneficiaries, consisting of local groups or area chapters of national organizations.</p> <p>Here are some of the events that you may find enjoyable.</p> <p><strong>Run a 5K</strong></p> <p>If you&rsquo;ve never run a race, perhaps contributing to a cause will inspire you to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-run-your-first-5k">get ready for your first 5K</a>. If you&rsquo;ve already tackled that distance, consider higher-mileage races that benefit one of your favorite charities.</p> <p><strong>Take a Walk</strong></p> <p>Do a charity walk with friends, family, and/or co-workers. Join a team or start your own group.</p> <p><strong>Go on a Bike Ride</strong></p> <p>Look for charity rides in the spring, summer, and fall. One-day events will often have a variety of routes from which to choose, ranging from 10 to 100 miles. Multi-day rides are usually more challenging and may require you to raise funds in addition to paying an entry fee.</p> <p><strong>Participate in a Triathlon </strong></p> <p>A triathlon may be on your bucket list, so competing in one may accomplish a life goal and support charity.</p> <p><strong>Do Something Extreme</strong></p> <p>Extreme events, like this <a href="http://www.cff.org/Chapters/charlotte/index.cfm?id=18909&amp;event=18909">Extreme Hike for Cystic Fibrosis</a>, are put on by organizations that also offer assistance with training and fundraising.</p> <p>Entry fees are not cheap, often ranging from $25 to $45; that amount typically includes food, drink, festivities, and goodie bags with a water bottle and t-shirt. You may also have to raise a minimum amount of money to participate. But, if you enjoy a challenge, look for events that support your favorite charities.</p> <p>You don't have to organize a huge project or make a major gift to make a difference. By noticing what is happening in your community and getting involved, you can support charitable causes locally and worldwide.</p> <p><em>What is your favorite way to easily support charity?</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/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-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-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/the-7-laws-of-negotiation">The 7 Laws of Negotiation</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/breaking-the-bread-code-how-to-get-the-freshest-loaf">Breaking the Bread Code: How to Get the Freshest Loaf</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/debit-or-credit-which-one-should-you-choose-at-the-checkout">Debit Or Credit? Which One Should You Choose At The Checkout?</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/25-thoughtful-and-frugal-personalized-gift-ideas">25 Thoughtful and Frugal Personalized Gift Ideas</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/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> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Shopping charitable giving running volunteering Thu, 13 Sep 2012 10:24:42 +0000 Julie Rains 952433 at http://www.wisebread.com Bringing Water and Wheels to Africa: My Amazing Frugal Vacation http://www.wisebread.com/bringing-water-and-wheels-to-africa-my-amazing-frugal-vacation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/bringing-water-and-wheels-to-africa-my-amazing-frugal-vacation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/african-trip-lion.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="140" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>While I travel a lot, it&rsquo;s rarely with my parents, which is why I was surprised when I received a call from my father inviting me to join him on a trip &mdash; to Uganda. For some, Uganda might bring up images of infamous guerrilla leader Joseph Kony, or scenes from heart-wrenching film <em>The Last King of Scotland</em>. But my father has a much more personal relationship with the country.</p> <p>He founded The Clean Water Foundation, a non-government organization dedicated to bringing water and transportation to people in East Africa. That is why my father called &mdash; he wanted me to join him as he trekked into the tropical rainforests of the Virunga Mountains to see the gorillas, delivered bicycles to women in Buhoma, and helped bring water to a remote village that was the home of a man my parents had met on their last trip, three years ago. I said yes. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/6-ways-my-family-scores-free-travel-with-credit-cards">6 Ways My&nbsp;Family Scores Free Travel</a>)</p> <h3>10 Miles From the Nile &mdash; With No Clean Water</h3> <p><img width="605" height="410" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/african-woman-with-water.jpg" /></p> <p>Two days after landing in Uganda, we woke up in a modest tent hotel along the banks of the Nile, the longest river in the world, and waited for our guide and driver Owingi Milton to pick us up. My father had met Milton &mdash; as he prefers to be called &mdash; on his last trip to Uganda, when he stayed in a hotel that Milton was working in. Our primary goal for this trip was to bring water to the residents of Milton&rsquo;s home, Pandinga Village.</p> <p>As we hurtled down the heavily potholed dirt road, Milton told us that we are the first outsiders to visit Pandinga, and when my father and I arrived, we discovered several hundred people&nbsp;waiting for us. The leader of the village led a prayer to celebrate our arrival, referring to my father as &ldquo;Tata,&rdquo; or father of the village, and I was given the title of brother. Next, a procession of women arrived on their knees, bowed their heads, and crawled towards us with offerings of eggs, grains, peanuts, and three live chickens (Milton claimed he found good homes for the chickens). In return we gave them shoes, racquetballs, reading glasses, and assorted school supplies.</p> <p>We learned from the villagers that among their many needs, clean water is paramount. To emphasize this point, we were shown a skit dramatizing the social and medical consequences of 1,000 people attempting to subsist on water sources that are just muddy holes in the ground two miles away. These effects include infighting among the women who collect the water and families being broken up over stress and illness caused a lack of clean water. Unmentioned is the task of transporting over fifty pounds of water on one&rsquo;s head for several miles, a burden which seems to be borne exclusively by the women of the village.</p> <p>But this isn't a story about a primitive tribe being dazzled by strange outsiders. While the rest of the world may not be aware of Pandinga, their residents are aware of us. Although electricity is even scarcer than water, several residents had cell phones that they charged using portable solar panels, and it seemed like they had better coverage than I have in parts of Denver. Pandinga is not a place cut off from civilization; it is a subsistence farming village with few resources that is struggling to reach out to the world. It was our honor and privilege to reach back.</p> <p><img width="605" height="404" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/african-smiling-children.jpg" /></p> <p>The ceremony concluded with the playing of a xylophone unlike any I had ever seen. In Pandinga, the instrument was constructed with eighteen logs of varying lengths laid over a pit in the earth several feet deep. A dozen men were needed to play it, using sticks covered in rubber from old tires.</p> <p>After the ceremony, we were escorted to a marshy areas to witness how the village currently gathers its water. Women kneeled in the mud to retrieve brown water from a small trench, one liter at a time. They emptied it into yellow, 25 liter plastic jugs. Once filled, these 55 pound containers were hoisted onto their heads and transported back to the village. We saw thousands of women doing this on the side of the road all across Uganda. And all this for water that puts residents at an ever-present risk of sickness and death.</p> <p>One surprising thing we discovered in Pandinga, though, is that there were existing wells near the village &mdash; they simply were not functioning, and no one had come to repair them. One was built by a company we visited, and my father and I decided to focus our efforts in getting that company to go out and fix the well they drilled. As of writing this article, we have helped get a crew repair the first well, and we are moving forward quickly on plans to drill again to replace their second well, which is beyond repair.</p> <p>At the end of the day in Pandiga, we found ourselves back at our tent hotel, watching the Nile flow by after having spent the day ruminating on the problem of clean water for a village of 1,000 people not ten miles away. In the United States, we would just build a water treatment plant, pump the water from the Nile to the town, and finance the project by changing each household $30 a month for this virtually unlimited clean water. But the people of Pandinga couldn&rsquo;t even afford the maintenance or fuel required for a diesel-powered well &mdash; only a hand-pumped one. I will never again look at the faucet in my house the same way.</p> <h3>Bicycles in Buhoma</h3> <p><img width="605" height="404" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/african-women-bicycles.jpg" /></p> <p>We left early the next day to start our journey to Buhoma, which lies at the foothills of the volcanic Virunga Mountains, near the borders of Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Uganda is not a large country, about the size of Oregon, yet it took us nearly three full days of driving on their horrific roads in order to reach our next destination.</p> <p>In Buhoma, we met with Denis Rubalema, a native Ugandan with an unmistakably British accent. Denis is the director of <a href="http://www.ride4awoman.org/">Ride for a Woman</a>, a bicycle shop in Buhoma with a mission to empower women in the villages surrounding the Bwindi Impenetrable Park. Working with his organization, we presented new bicycles to three women who previously had no access to transportation. With these bicycles, these women would be able to reach the nearby towns to sell their farm goods, purchase supplies, and receive medical care. For example, one of our recipients was Ms. Margaret Naranri, a divorced mother of nine children, four of whom currently remain at home. With a new bicycle, she and her children will now be able to bring their sugarcane to the market in the town of Butogota, nine miles away.</p> <p>Our plan was to present bicycles to the women when we arrived in the morning, but as we were about to hand them over, I realized that they had arrived from the factory without any of the necessary tuning or adjustment. While I watched a local bicycle repairman struggle to prepare them for delivery, a realization struck me. In Pandinga, I felt helpless because I knew nothing about technical aspects of drilling for water. Yet as a former bicycle mechanic, I could finally put my skills to use. I put down my camera, picked up a wrench, and cancelled our sightseeing plans for the afternoon. After spending a week of making plans and holding meetings, I was relieved to actually be doing some tangible good with my own hands.</p> <p><img width="605" height="403" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/african-baby-gorillas.jpg" /></p> <p>Bicycles were not the only reason we went to Buhoma, however &mdash; we also went to see some of the rare mountain gorillas in the area, and we were rewarded with a truly memorable experience. We were, in fact, surrounded by gorillas &mdash; the adults dropped fruit from above, while babies wrested with each other. At one point, we encountered an enormous silverback in the process of mating. He didn&rsquo;t seem to be bothered by our presence anymore than he did by the fourteen other gorillas on the ground and in the trees. When the silverback wasn&rsquo;t preoccupied with his amorous pursuits, he kept a watchful eye over his band.</p> <p>Just a day later, we were on board the first of several international flights that would take us home...but we were forever changed.</p> <h3>Planning the Trip &mdash; Frugally</h3> <p><img width="605" height="403" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/african-feeding-giraffes.jpg" /></p> <p>One of the main things that made this trip possible was frugal planning. A&nbsp;trip to Uganda is not like making reservations for your typical vacation. My father used his local knowledge from his last visit to plan the trip, along with the help of Milton (who is a both a highly skilled driver and an excellent tour guide); this allowed us to book our lodging directly with the providers. Otherwise, we would have had to use a tour group or travel agent that would take a cut. No matter where you&rsquo;re traveling, it can help to see if you have friends or family who might know someone in the area who could help you plan your trip. Also, we stayed flexible and in many instances pulled into towns where we had no reservations. In these kind of places, the nicest lodge in town might have only been $60 a night.</p> <p>As regular Wise Bread readers know, I travel a lot using <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/which-frequent-flier-program-has-the-best-awards-availability">frequent flier miles</a>, which were especially useful in planning this trip. By using 240,000 Delta SkyMiles, we were able to save the $4,000 we would have spent on two coach tickets while enjoying approximately 50 hours of flying in International Business class on Delta and Kenyan Airways. The trick is to always find seats in Delta's &quot;Low&quot; mileage class by searching their systems one leg at a time. I used Air France's website for flights on partners such as Air France, KLM, and Kenyan Airlines. In my experience, you can never rely on what Delta reps tell you over the phone, or you will never get the lowest mileage rate &mdash; your best bet is to search through partner sites, and then call Delta to have them book the flights you found.</p> <p>By saving money with these methods, we were able to achieve one of the most important goals of frugal living &mdash; saving money in one area so we could spend it on something else that was important to us. Material things come and go, but life-chagning experiences last forever.&nbsp;</p> <h3>Final Thoughts</h3> <p><img width="605" height="404" alt="" src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u4/african-woman-with-water-on-head.jpg" /></p> <p>My parents had vacationed all over the world but until this trip, I never understood why they returned from Uganda to start a foundation. When you befriend a man like Milton and visit a place like Pandinga, you return home with a sense of obligation to work hard and share some of your own good fortune. News of celebrity gossip and even our economic downturn seem less significant to me now that I realize that we barely have to lift a finger to find clean water.</p> <p><em><a href="http://thecleanwaterfoundation.com/">The Clean Water Foundation</a> is a grassroots non-governmental organization (NGO) created by the author&rsquo;s father, Clifford Steele (who also took all the pictures for this article). The foundation drills deep water wells in East Africa, and provide bicycles to residents of rural western Uganda not otherwise served by public transportation.</em></p> <p><em>Author Jason Steele is Wise Bread's travel rewards and credit card expert. For interview requests please contact&nbsp;<span style="color: rgb(34, 34, 34); font-size: 13px; white-space: nowrap; "><a href="mailto:media@wisebread.com?subject=Jason%20Steele%20Africa%20Story">media@wisebread.com</a>.</span></em></p> <h2 style="text-align: center;">Like this article? Pin it!</h2> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p style="text-align: center;"><a href="//www.pinterest.com/pin/create/button/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Fbringing-water-and-wheels-to-africa-my-amazing-frugal-vacation&amp;media=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.wisebread.com%2Ffiles%2Ffruganomics%2Fu5180%2FBringing%20Water%20and%20Wheels%20to%20Africa-%20My%20Amazing%20Frugal%20Vacation.jpg&amp;description=Bringing%20Water%20and%20Wheels%20to%20Africa%3A%20My%20Amazing%20Frugal%20Vacation" data-pin-do="buttonPin" data-pin-config="above" data-pin-color="red" data-pin-height="28"><img src="//assets.pinterest.com/images/pidgets/pinit_fg_en_rect_red_28.png" alt="" /></a> </p> <!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><!-- Please call pinit.js only once per page --><script type="text/javascript" async defer src="//assets.pinterest.com/js/pinit.js"></script></p> <p style="text-align: center;"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/u5180/Bringing%20Water%20and%20Wheels%20to%20Africa-%20My%20Amazing%20Frugal%20Vacation.jpg" alt="Bringing Water and Wheels to Africa: My Amazing Frugal Vacation" width="250" height="374" /></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-steele">Jason Steele</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bringing-water-and-wheels-to-africa-my-amazing-frugal-vacation">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/extreme-mileage-hacking-creative-ways-to-earn-flier-miles">Extreme Mileage Hacking: Creative Ways to Earn Flier Miles</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/which-frequent-flier-program-has-the-best-awards-availability">Which Frequent Flier Program Has the Best Awards Availability?</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/how-to-maximize-your-airline-mileage-redemptions">How to Maximize Your Airline Mileage Redemptions</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/top-5-travel-reward-credit-cards">5 Best Travel Reward Credit Cards</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/travel-and-money-using-prepaid-travel-cards">Travel and Money: Using Prepaid Travel Cards</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Credit Cards Travel charitable giving frequent flier miles volunteering Fri, 23 Mar 2012 10:36:13 +0000 Jason Steele 913157 at http://www.wisebread.com Surprising Charitable Tax Deductions http://www.wisebread.com/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/2590190116_6c789d6bb7_b.jpg" alt="goodwill" title="goodwill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="141" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Are you generous? If so, you probably document major gifts to claim charitable contributions when itemizing tax deductions. It's easy to grab pay stubs that show donations made through payroll deductions or put your hands on an annual statement from your church.</p> <p>But there are many more ways to save on taxes if you stop and consider <em>all</em>&nbsp;of your charitable acts and do some planning. Start reaping tax benefits by accounting for these everyday gifts. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/16-great-tax-deductions-you-may-have-overlooked">16 Great Tax Deductions You&nbsp;May Have Overlooked</a>)</p> <h2>Everyday Donations That Add Up</h2> <p>You have probably given money to a friend's cause or donated things in the past year. Consider these forms of monetary donations and charitable scenarios, which can add to your overall giving.</p> <p><strong>Sponsoring a Friend or Yourself in a Charity Athletic Event</strong></p> <p>Charity runs, walks, and bike rides are increasingly popular and many involve sponsoring a participant. According to Philanthropy.com, <a href="http://philanthropy.com/blogs/prospecting/thon-fundraising-events-speed-up-in-2011/32464">charities raised $1.69 billion</a> through such events in 2011.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s likely that you have sponsored a friend or yourself in the past year. If you gave online, check your credit card or bank statements and/or thank-you emails (especially if you <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-reasons-not-to-delete-your-emails">have not deleted any emails</a>) for a record of your donations. If you gave cash, find a receipt acknowledging the donation.</p> <p><strong>Driving to Volunteer Sites</strong></p> <p>If you drive to volunteer sites, like the homeless shelter, soup kitchen, or Habitat for Humanity job site, then you can take a mileage deduction as long as you don&rsquo;t receive reimbursement for travel expenses. Charitable mileage is one of the most overlooked deductions, <a href="http://donrandersoncpa.com/">Don R. Anderson,</a><a href="http://donrandersoncpa.com/">&nbsp;CPA</a> tells me.</p> <p>Keep records of your mileage to deduct 14 cents per mile. Though much lower than the business mileage deduction of 55.5 cents per mile, it&rsquo;s better than nothing. Other out-of-pocket costs relating to traveling to volunteer sites (such as lodging) may also be deductible according to <a href="http://www.connerash.com/leadership.html">Howard M. Rosen, CPA, JD, AEP</a>.</p> <p><strong>Preparing Meals for the Homeless</strong></p> <p>My dad prepares food for the homeless shelter once every few weeks. He makes what shelter organizers request (typically meatloaf and rolls) and takes the items to his church, which coordinates delivery and distribution at a central site. You may participate in a similar program or you may prepare items for a bake sale, chili cook-off, etc. to raise funds for a charitable organization.</p> <p>Track your expenses for the ingredients and keep receipts from your grocery store or market. Note that you can deduct &ldquo;out-of-pocket costs&rdquo; only, not the value of your labor, Howard advises. Plus, you need to give the food to an organization that serves the homeless, not a homeless individual, to get the tax benefit.</p> <p><strong>Texting</strong></p> <p>If you give money to a charity by texting a specific message, then your mobile carrier should provide you with documentation of the gift.</p> <p><strong>Donating Purchased Items</strong></p> <p>Many schools, social service agencies, and other groups collect personal items for their clients. Because many people are reluctant to give money, charitable organizations make appeals for things, such as school supplies for children in families that can not afford them, toiletries for victims of domestic violence or indigent senior adults, or toys and toiletries for Operation Christmas Child.</p> <p>The cost of purchased items given to charities can be deducted. Keep purchase receipts and information about the charity for your records.</p> <p><strong>Giving Used Items</strong></p> <p>You may give used items to Goodwill or other agencies in an effort to <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">declutter your home or office</a>. Or you may donate these things for yard sales benefiting charities, schools, etc.</p> <p>To figure out the amount of the donation, <a href="http://www.gailrosencpa.com/">Gail Rosen</a><span style="font-family:Arial"><a href="http://www.gailrosencpa.com/">, CPA</a> says to determine &ldquo;the lower of cost or fair market value and provide more details if your deduction is over $500.&rdquo;</span></p> <p><strong>Donating Money to Small Groups</strong></p> <p>If you donate to smaller groups associated with churches, synagogues, mosques, etc., then generally you can deduct these amounts just as you can the gifts to the larger institution. For example, if you give money (or things) to the youth group, women&rsquo;s ministry, or healthcare ministry that are part of the larger organization, then you can include those funds in your charitable giving for tax purposes.</p> <p>Take note of how the small group and larger organization reports your giving. The small group may not issue a year-end statement but expects you to keep up with your giving through canceled checks and bank statements. The larger organization is likely to provide you with a detailed accounting of your regular giving, but these details may not include gifts to the smaller group. Your job, then, is to make sure that all your giving is accounted for completely but not double-counted.</p> <p><strong>Giving to Schools and School Groups</strong></p> <p>Giving to schools, athletic boosters, band boosters, etc. may be less altruistic than donating to other organizations if you have a child who attends the school, plays a sport, or plays an instrument in the band. That is, you and your family may enjoy improvements to the school&rsquo;s technology that your donations fund, or a better athletic field, etc. Nevertheless, unless you receive a direct benefit (such as tickets to a fund-raising dinner or band concert), this type of giving is deductible.</p> <p>Even if you do receive a benefit, you may be able to take a deduction. For example, the booster club may sell dinner tickets at $100 for a meal valued at $25. In such a situation, Howard says that the charity should tell you how much of the donation is deductible (in this case, $75).</p> <h2>Tax Rules to Consider</h2> <p>There are a lot of tax rules pertaining to charitable deductions. First, make sure that the recipients of your gifts are qualified organizations:</p> <ul> <li>Search the &ldquo;<a href="http://apps.irs.gov/app/eos/">Exempt Organizations</a>&rdquo; database on the IRS website or call the IRS &ndash; Tax Exempt/Government Entities Customer Account Services at 1-877-829-5500<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Ask representatives of the organization for verification of its status, which should provide you with an IRS letter granting tax-exempt status<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Note that some <a href="http://www.irs.gov/charities/charitable/article/0,,id=134331,00.html">qualified organizations</a> (such as churches and governmental units) may not be listed on the IRS database</li> </ul> <p>Rules worthy of mention (partial list):</p> <ul> <li>You must complete&nbsp;<a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8283.pdf">IRS Form 8283</a> (PDF) if the combination of all noncash gifts exceeds $500<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Note special rules for&nbsp;<a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-donate-a-car-to-charity">donating cars</a><br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>Remember to itemize these deductions on your <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f1040sa.pdf">Schedule A</a> (PDF) form<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li>If one gift exceeds $250, get acknowledgement from the charitable organization (see <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/i1040sca.pdf">Schedule A instructions</a> (PDF) &ndash; pages A-7 to A-9)</li> </ul> <p>Check with your tax accountant or call the IRS to ask questions, and verify that you are providing all required information and keeping appropriate back-up records.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Strategies to Reduce Taxes When Giving</h2> <p>For larger gifts, you can save even more if you plan ahead and use tax-saving strategies. CPAs Howard Rosen and Gail Rosen (not related) both have advice on arranging gifts in a way to increase tax benefits.&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>Donor Advised Funds</strong></p> <p>For those who had a banner year income-wise in a business or perhaps earned an unusually large bonus from an employer, Howard mentions Donor Advised Funds. He shares the reasoning to give in this way:</p> <blockquote><p>These funds allow you to &quot;prepay&quot; charitable contributions. Let's say you normally give $1,000 a year to your church or synagogue. You could fund the Donor Advised Fund with $5,000 and then use the fund and any earnings it obtains to fund your annual giving program for the next 5+ years. You get to deduct the full $5,000 now (in the year your income has jumped), taking advantage of the higher tax rate [which means a higher deduction for charitable giving]. In addition, the earnings are not taxed and are available for future charitable contributions.</p> </blockquote> <p><strong>Donations of Appreciated Stock</strong></p> <p>Gail says that you might give stock to your favorite charity to avoid capital gains tax:</p> <blockquote><p>Consider donating appreciated stock from your investment portfolio instead of cash. This way you derive a deduction for a donation to charity equal to the fair market value of the donated property. The donor does not have to recognize the gain on the donated property. These rules allow for &quot;doubling up,&quot; so to speak, of tax benefits, plus avoiding tax on the appreciation in value of the donated property.</p> </blockquote> <p>Learn more about <a href="http://www.bbt.com/bbt/financial-education/Income_Tax_and_Estate_Planning/charitable_stock_contributions.asp">doubling up</a> from a tax expert.&nbsp;</p> <h2>Calculations to Determine Tax Benefits</h2> <p>Don tells me that one of the &ldquo;most commonly misunderstood issues with charitable giving is that even though a donation may be tax deductible, it still may not change your final tax bill&hellip;A single person giving $100 per week to his or her church and no other Schedule A amounts will have a total annual contribution of $5,200, but will use the $5,800 standard deduction, thus the donations while &lsquo;tax deductible&rsquo; do not further reduce the tax bill.&rdquo;</p> <p>To see if your giving makes a difference on your taxes, he advises the following approach:</p> <blockquote><p>The best way to monitor this is by keeping track of your year-to-date Schedule A amounts (itemized deductions such as property tax, home mortgage interest, and charitable giving) versus your standard deduction (for 2011: $11,600 married filing jointly; $5,800 for singles or married filing separately; $8,500 for head of household).</p> </blockquote> <p>But until you add up and account for EVERYTHING, you won&rsquo;t realize the full (tax) benefit of your charitable acts.</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/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions">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/7-surprising-tax-deductions-you-might-miss">7 Surprising Tax Deductions You Might Miss</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/surprisingly-easy-ways-you-can-support-charity">Surprisingly Easy Ways You Can Support 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/tax-planning-5-things-to-do-before-the-end-of-the-year">Tax Planning: 5 Things to Do Before the End of the Year</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/bringing-water-and-wheels-to-africa-my-amazing-frugal-vacation">Bringing Water and Wheels to Africa: My Amazing Frugal Vacation</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes charitable giving tax donations volunteering Thu, 22 Mar 2012 10:36:19 +0000 Julie Rains 913111 at http://www.wisebread.com 4 Guarantees Besides Death and Taxes http://www.wisebread.com/4-guarantees-besides-death-and-taxes <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/4-guarantees-besides-death-and-taxes" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/grim_reaper.jpg" alt="Cute grim reaper" title="Cute grim reaper" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="148" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>&quot;In this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes.&quot; At least, that's according to Benjamin Franklin.</p> <p>Perhaps back in his day this was true, but I don't necessarily agree with him anymore.</p> <p>Yes, death and taxes are certainties, but I believe there are a few more guarantees in this world.</p> <h3>1. Spend Less Than You Make, and You'll Get Ahead Financially</h3> <p>It doesn't matter if you make $30,000 per year or $300,000, you MUST spend less than you make. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-many-reasons-to-make-do-with-less">The Many Reasons to Make Do With Less</a>)</p> <p>And when you do, you can guarantee you'll get ahead. Why? Because cash flow drives everything. If you spend less than you make and start saving regularly, you too can <a href="http://www.redeemingriches.com/2011/06/08/become-a-millionaire-2-simple-steps/">become a millionaire!</a></p> <p>Take those who participated in research for Thomas J. Stanley's book <em>Millionaire Next Door</em> as an example. The millionaires questioned all had a few things in common, but one in particular was that they spent <em>way less</em> than they made &mdash; and they saved aggressively too!</p> <h3>2. Money Alone Does Not Buy Happiness</h3> <p>There's no denying that money does buy some level of happiness, but it's only to a certain degree. Generally speaking, <a href="http://www.livescience.com/culture/purchase-happiness-experience-100304.html">experiences, not stuff</a> lead to greater joy. Simply put, <em>money alone</em> will not buy it! After the initial luster of your new toy, car, or watch has worn off, there is a diminishing return on your happiness.</p> <p>Don't get me wrong, I think everyone should try to make as much money as they can &mdash; legitimately, of course. But instead of trying to achieve the next cultural status level because we think we'll be happier, perhaps we should discover our purpose, make it a point to pursue our passions, and strive to build great relationships.</p> <h3>3. If You Want Maximum Joy, Give Your Money Away</h3> <p>To achieve that ultimate happy life that we all search for, one would think spending lavishly on ourselves would do the trick. But if you really want maximum happiness, you should become a more generous person and help others in need.</p> <p>I know, it sounds absurd doesn't it? Our culture tells us the opposite all the time. Media and advertising scream for us to gain happiness by buying the latest and greatest toys, gadgets, and expensive clothes!</p> <p>If you don't believe that it's better to give than to receive, I dare you to try a generosity experiment. I challenge you to be less consumed with yourself, look for opportunities to bless other people, and use your money to help others in need over the next 30 days. I'm willing to bet that your &quot;joy-ometer&quot; will be much, much higher than if you were to spend lavishly on yourself.</p> <p>If I'm right, continue for the next 30 days, and so on.</p> <h3>4. Investing in Your Close Relationships Yields the Best Returns</h3> <p>As investors, we all want to achieve the greatest return on investment. But what investment yields maximum results? Family and friends.</p> <p>First of all, you can make no greater investment in this world than into your soul mate. Spending quality time together, building memories that last, and connecting with each other on a regular basis will yield a fruitful <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-financial-perks-of-marriage">marriage</a> for years to come.</p> <p>Secondly, if you are a parent, your children will be forever grateful that you invested quality and quantity time regularly with them. If you are single, think about investing into your close friendships by looking to others' needs above your own.</p> <p>Your joy will increase, your ROI will be spectacular, and you'll be on your path to <em>true wealth</em>.</p> <p><em>What are your thoughts on these guarantees?</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/jason-topp">Jason Topp</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/4-guarantees-besides-death-and-taxes">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/30-free-ways-to-cheer-yourself-up">30 Free Ways to Cheer Yourself Up</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-reasons-the-easter-bunny-should-give-money-instead-of-candy">8 Reasons the Easter Bunny Should Give Money Instead of Candy</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/10-ways-to-give-back-on-givingtuesday-without-breaking-the-bank">10 Ways to Give Back on #GivingTuesday Without Breaking the Bank</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/19-frugal-ways-to-entertain-teenagers">19 Frugal Ways to Entertain Teenagers</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-affordable-alternatives-to-pet-boarding">5 Affordable Alternatives to Pet Boarding</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living Family Personal Development being happy benjamin franklin charitable giving spend less than you make Wed, 06 Jul 2011 09:48:18 +0000 Jason Topp 609451 at http://www.wisebread.com The Art of Asking for Fewer Gifts http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-asking-for-fewer-gifts <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/the-art-of-asking-for-fewer-gifts" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/thursday_gift.jpg" alt="Gift" title="Gift" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="240" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>This year, my family gave me gifts, carefully picking out a variety of different things that they hoped would make me happy. I did the same for them. But, somehow, after all the wrapping paper was thrown away and the thank you notes were written, I didn't feel very wonderful about all the things I had received.</p> <p>I have one relative that sends me a long chatty letter every year along with a check. I love the letters, but I certainly wouldn't mind if she just skipped the check &mdash; I don't need it. I have another relative who carefully chooses Christmas tree ornaments for my husband and I, but hasn't actually asked if we even have a Christmas tree (we don't). I appreciate the thought, but the gift itself means that I'm going to have to find something to do with it.</p> <p>I feel like a bad person for it, but I don't want my relatives to go out shopping for all these gifts for me or sending me money or anything like that. I'd much rather a few more chatty letters or the occasional visit. But I know that my family cherishes the opportunity to do something nice for one another (even I enjoy going out and finding what I hope are favorite gifts). Finding a way to express my preferences for fewer gifts has been a difficult process and isn't nearly over. But I'm working on improving this particular art form.</p> <h3>Think About What You Truly Want</h3> <p>At the end of the day, I do like getting gifts. I like knowing that my family and friends want to go out of their way to do something nice for me &mdash; and I think that's true of most people. It's just the end results that bother me: I don't want to have to find a home for some knickknack that I only keep because a family member gave it to me.</p> <p>One of the best gifts I've ever received was when I convinced my grandmother that all I wanted was for her to bake me up a batch of my favorite cookies. I truly wanted those cookies (a treat I didn't normally get) far more than anything she could have given me.</p> <p>Just sitting and thinking about the gifts that I really have enjoyed and loved has provided me some insights on what I want and how to ask for those items. I love the handmade gifts I've received. My favorite blanket, tasty treats, and other homemade gifts are what I remember with the most fondness.</p> <p>The tough part is telling my friends and family that I cherish these gifts far more than a check or another purchase. Trying to tell relatives that I don't want their money can go very wrong. When I have these conversations, I want to talk about the fact that I appreciate what they do for me and the matter is not that I don't want their gifts. It's incredibly difficult to gracefully say that you'd prefer something other than what your family members have been giving you, and it requires as much sensitivity as you can find.</p> <h3>Consider Helping Others&nbsp;</h3> <p>One of the simplest approaches I've found to the gift question is telling family members that I appreciate the thought but, if they were thinking of sending me a check or a gift card anyhow, I'd love if they just sent it directly to my favorite charity.</p> <p>Of course, there is that occasional relative who will make a donation in your name and then turn around and still give you something, but that's a situation you'll have to talk about with the giver.</p> <h3>It Isn't a Matter of Giving Less</h3> <p>No matter my own preferences, I try not to give fewer gifts out. Part of the matter is that I love giving gifts (although, over the past few years, I've been trying to focus on giving meaningful gifts, homemade where possible). But I also don't want to offend anyone or give the feeling that I don't appreciate them.</p> <p>Not too long ago, there was a Miss Manners column where someone wrote in with a question: A relative had switched to making donations in family members' names rather than giving gifts. It was to the giver's preferred charity, and the giver seemed to still prefer receiving gifts rather than donations. The question was about how to handle the situation.</p> <p>In my mind, every aspect of that situation was problematic. I want to be able to give my family exactly what they want &mdash; and, despite any hope I have of rising above wanting gifts myself, I want them to give me exactly what I want. It just so happens that the things I want (to make donations to a favorite charity or a homemade batch of cookies) don't quite match up with what my family expects to give. At the end of the day, if keeping my family happy means finding another knickknack a home, I'm happy to do it.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/thursday-bram">Thursday Bram</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-art-of-asking-for-fewer-gifts">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/4-guarantees-besides-death-and-taxes">4 Guarantees Besides Death and Taxes</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-alternative-gift-ideas-for-chanukah">8 Alternative Gift Ideas for Chanukah</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/23-recipes-for-slime-your-kids-can-make-and-even-sell">23 Recipes for Slime Your Kids Can Make — and Even Sell!</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-fair-way-to-split-up-your-familys-estate">The Fair Way to Split Up Your Family&#039;s Estate</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/13-businesses-your-tween-can-start">13 Businesses Your Tween Can Start</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Family alternative gifts charitable giving cutting back Mon, 17 Jan 2011 14:00:08 +0000 Thursday Bram 458074 at http://www.wisebread.com How to Donate a Car to Charity http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-donate-a-car-to-charity <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-donate-a-car-to-charity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/rusted_car.jpg" alt="Rusted car" title="Rusted car" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="160" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>I just love tax time, don't you? I mean, getting to count up all those receipts, fill out those boring forms, and talk to accountants: What could be more fun? Well, there is one good thing about this time of year &mdash; getting a refund check back from the government.</p> <p>For most of us, getting a tax refund usually involves having deductions that reduce our taxable income...and if you have a car parked in the driveway that isn't worth much, it could become a nice tax deduction for you. If that isn't enough, you also get the satisfaction of knowing that you are helping support a charity that is likely in desperate need of your donation (as many are these days). Even though we are past the point of deducting a car in 2010, it is always good to be planning ahead for when you are <a href="http://christianpf.com/free-state-income-tax-filing-online/">filing your taxes</a> next year!</p> <h3>Tax Rules for Donating A Car</h3> <p>There have been some changes to the tax rules for donating a car. In previous years, people were able to write off the car for the fair market value of the vehicle. But people were claiming a lot more money than their cars were worth, so the process had to change. Due to the fraudulent behavior, the government was losing great amount of money, and you know Uncle Sam doesn't like that!</p> <p>Under the new system, if you state that the car or vehicle is worth more than $500, you also need to record how much money the charity you chose sold it for (when I last donated a car to charity, the charity sent me a notice in the mail with this info). So if the charity sells your car for $1,000, then you can deduct $1,000. If they sell it for $1,500, then you can deduct that amount from your taxes.</p> <h3>Things to Have Ready</h3> <p>In order to donate your car, you have to take care of a few things. You need to be sure that you have the car title. If you don't have a copy of the title, you can get a duplicate by contacting the DMV. You also have to make sure the car registration is up to date. If you have not driven the car for several years, the registration is probably not valid.</p> <h3>Choosing the Charity</h3> <p>The charity has to be a 501(c)(3) registered charity recognized by the IRS. The IRS website has a page where you can <a href="http://www.irs.gov/app/pub-78/">search for charities</a> in your area. Once you choose your charity, contact them, and let them know you want to donate your car. If the charity is near where you live, you can drive the car there yourself. Or if you live farther away from where the charity is located, you can have somebody come out and pick it up for you. I suggest checking out <a href="http://CharityNavigator.org">Charity Navigator</a>&nbsp;to find out a little bit more about the efficiency of your charity before donating your old clunker.</p> <h3>Transferring Ownership</h3> <p>Whether you drive the car in yourself or have the car picked up, you'll need to sign over the title of the car to the charity. On the paperwork, write the word &quot;gift&quot; where it says to enter the sales price. Make sure you receive a copy of your receipt for the donation of the car. The receipt is absolutely necessary to get your tax deduction.</p> <p>Though it may sound obvious, make sure you clean out the car. Empty the trunk, glove box, and any other compartments in the car, because once she is gone, you probably won't see her again! Also, unless your state laws dictate otherwise, remove your license plates when you hand them over &mdash; the last thing you want is for them to get into the wrong hands and you find that you have an warrant out for your arrest because someone used your plates when they robbed a bank.</p> <p><em>Have you ever donated a car to charity? What was your experience?</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-guestpost-blurb"> <div class="field-label">Guest Post Blurb:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <p>&nbsp;This guest post is by Bob Lotich of&nbsp;<a href="http://christianpf.com/">ChristianPF.com</a>, a website that approaches financial topics using timeless Biblical principles. Read more from ChristianPF.com:</p> <ul> <li><a href="http://christianpf.com/10-free-household-budget-spreadsheets/">10 Free Budget Spreadsheets</a></li> <li><a href="http://christianpf.com/top-10-best-laptop-computers/">Best 13-inch Laptops of 2010</a></li> </ul> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> </div> </div> </div> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bob-lotich">Bob Lotich</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-donate-a-car-to-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-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/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/10-ways-to-give-back-on-givingtuesday-without-breaking-the-bank">10 Ways to Give Back on #GivingTuesday Without Breaking the Bank</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/writing-for-money-on-the-interwebs">Writing for Money on the Interwebs</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Cars and Transportation charitable giving charity donate tax deductions Thu, 13 Jan 2011 13:00:10 +0000 Bob Lotich 453039 at http://www.wisebread.com Cleaning Out for a Cause: Make a Noncash Tax-Deductible Donation http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/goodwill.jpg" alt="Goodwill" title="Goodwill" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="240" height="171" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>If you've ever thought about moving during December, I have one contraction for you: don't. I was stupid enough to do so this year, taking the stress of hauling my belongings to a new apartment, finding a storage unit, and trying to remember how my bed frame fits together and adding it to an already busy schedule of shopping, baking, and holiday parties.</p> <p>There is, however, one great thing about moving during December: It forced me to go through my belongings and make a substantial goods donation to my local Goodwill store. Since Goodwill is a registered 501(c)(3) charity organization, I can deduct the value of what I donated to them when I submit my taxes in April (er, did I say April? March. I'll definitely get them in by March this year).</p> <p>If you're thinking of donating gently used clothing, furniture, or other items before the end of 2010, here's what you need to know:</p> <h3>Make Sure the Charity You Donate to Is Eligible</h3> <p>Not every thrift store is a registered 501(c)(3) organization. Before you donate your goods, call the store to make sure that donations to them are indeed tax deductible, and read more about <a href="http://www.irs.gov/publications/p526/ar02.html#en_US_publink1000229643">qualified organizations</a> on the IRS website.</p> <h3>Make a List of What You're Donating</h3> <p>Just in case you fall under the watchful, auditing eye of the IRS, always keep a detailed list of what you've donated so you can back up any deduction claims.</p> <h3>Be Reasonable in Estimating the Value of Goods</h3> <p>When you're figuring out how much to claim as a deduction, you need to estimate what the IRS refers to as the &ldquo;fair market value&rdquo; of each item. For example, if you're donating a used pair of jeans that you bought for $40, their fair market value isn't going to be $40 &mdash; more likely $3-$10. If you need help estimating the fair market value of your goods, take a walk around a thrift store and see how items are priced.</p> <h3>Give Useful Items</h3> <p>Charities like Goodwill have to go through a lot of stuff, and it makes their job even more difficult if you bring in your broken printer and pass it off as working just because you want to claim it as a tax deduction. If something is broken and unrepairable, don't give it to a charity to deal with.</p> <h3>Get a Receipt</h3> <p>Always, always, always get a receipt from the charity you're donating to. You can't claim your deduction without it.</p> <h3>Fill Out the Appropriate IRS Form</h3> <p>According to the IRS, &quot;If your total deduction for all noncash contributions for the year is over $500, you must complete section A of <a href="http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/f8283.pdf">Form 8238</a>&quot; (PDF). If you are deducting one item that is worth over $5,000, you must complete Section B of the same form.</p> <p>So take a day to clear out your closets, and make sure to get your donations in by December 31. It'll help you have a happy new year with less taxes &mdash; and less clutter.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/meg-favreau">Meg Favreau</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/cleaning-out-for-a-cause-make-a-noncash-tax-deductible-donation">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/can-i-write-it-off-as-charity">Can I Write It Off as Charity?</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/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-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/how-to-donate-a-car-to-charity">How to Donate a Car to Charity</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/charitable-giving-get-a-receipt">Charitable giving - get a receipt</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> General Tips Taxes charitable giving charity donating tax deductions Tue, 28 Dec 2010 13:00:10 +0000 Meg Favreau 411140 at http://www.wisebread.com Giving to Charity is Great. But How Do You Pick One? http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/soup kitchen.jpg" alt="Giving to Charity" title="Giving to Charity" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="193" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Although the declining economy has left many pinching pennies, thousands of Americans will still make charitable donations between now and year&rsquo;s end.</p> <p>The holiday season often provides grateful organizations with half of their annual donations. Most consumers give time or money to organizations that mesh with their personal passions or life experience. But it&rsquo;s also important for consumers to make sure their hard-earned dollars are getting to those who need the help. Despicable as it is, charity scams run high this time of year as unscrupulous actors aim to take advantage of goodwill and holiday cheer.</p> <p>Here are a couple avenues potential givers should explore when considering a charitable donation:</p> <h3>Find the Right Fit</h3> <p>Think about what&rsquo;s important to you and where you want your donation to do good. There are charities big and small doing important work in all corners of the country, from community-based groups to national organizations. Maybe it&rsquo;s whales. Or puppies. Or the working poor. No matter your outlet, make time to evaluate your desires and the corresponding missions and values of potential organizations.</p> <h3>Check the Credentials</h3> <p>You can launch a website in 10 minutes, so just because a charity has one doesn&rsquo;t mean it&rsquo;s legitimate. There are watchdog groups that monitor the fiscal health and overall financial impact of nonprofit groups. Two of the biggest hubs are <a href="http://www2.guidestar.org/Home.aspx">GuideStar</a> and <a href="http://www.charitynavigator.org/">Charity Navigator</a>. Use these sites to start your search or run prospective organizations through their search engines. Viable, legitimate charities should be willing to frankly discuss their missions, their programs, and their finances. You can also search for charities through the <a href="http://www.irs.gov/charities/article/0,,id=96136,00.html">Internal Revenue Service</a>.</p> <p>Most organizations will dedicate about two-thirds of their funds directly to their unique cause, although that number can vary a bit depending on the group&rsquo;s focus. Anything that looks out of line with that general guidepost should perhaps raise some red flags. You have every right to inquire about how donations are funneled and how much of your contribution will go to pay salaries.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also important to note that a nonprofit group isn&rsquo;t necessarily a charity, which means your monetary donation might not be tax deductible. Be sure to ask.</p> <h3>Prioritize Privacy</h3> <p>Be careful when it comes to using your credit card for donations. Make sure you&rsquo;re using an organization&rsquo;s protected website or just mail a check. Whatever the route, don&rsquo;t just fork over cash. Be extremely wary of folks who go door-to-door.</p> <h3>Look for an Open Book</h3> <p>Charities are usually eager to share their stories with potential benefactors and volunteers. Well-run organizations will actively demonstrate their achievements and goals through a variety of outlets including:</p> <ul> <li>A clear mission statement</li> <li>Frequent updates regarding day-to-day activities through blogs, social networking sites, and other communication channels</li> <li>Updates from a board of directors</li> <li>An annual report detailing achievements, future plans, and other key information</li> </ul> <p>Not every organization will have this suite of information. A neighborhood soup kitchen probably doesn&rsquo;t have the resources to crank out round-the-clock Twitter updates.</p> <h3>Consider Giving Something Other Than Money</h3> <p>Writing a check isn&rsquo;t the only way to contribute.</p> <p>Many organizations also appreciate the volunteering of time, as well as things like food, clothing, meeting space, and other in-kind donations. You might also be able to volunteer your expertise &mdash; writers and designers can help pull together a newsletter, for example. Ask the organization what they need most to support their outreach programs and day-to-day operations.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/chris-birk">Chris Birk</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/giving-to-charity-is-great-but-how-do-you-pick-one">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/private-foundations-for-ordinary-folks">Private foundations for ordinary folks</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/seller-funded-down-payment-assistance-charities-scammers-or-saints">Seller Funded Down Payment Assistance Charities - Scammers or Saints?</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/unsolicited-phone-calls-how-you-could-unwittingly-change-the-world">Unsolicited Phone Calls: How You Could Unwittingly Change the World</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/could-the-last-person-to-leave-america-please-turn-out-the-light">Could the last person to leave America please turn out the light.</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Consumer Affairs charitable giving charity non-profit philanthropy Tue, 14 Dec 2010 14:00:09 +0000 Chris Birk 387605 at http://www.wisebread.com Tax Planning: 5 Things to Do Before the End of the Year http://www.wisebread.com/tax-planning-5-things-to-do-before-the-end-of-the-year <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/tax-planning-5-things-to-do-before-the-end-of-the-year" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/iStock_000008060346XSmall.jpg" alt="Donation bin" title="Donation bin" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="166" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>It&rsquo;s that time of year again: Leaves are falling, the holidays are here, and people are doing their tax planning. If you&rsquo;re not sure exactly what &ldquo;tax planning&rdquo; entails, don&rsquo;t worry. You&rsquo;re not alone! Being savvy about your taxes, however, is not as complicated as it seems. Federal and state income taxes are based on your taxable income &mdash; that is, the amount you earn minus any deductions. Tax planning involves managing your taxable income, either by deferring income to another year, recognizing income sooner, or increasing deductions. Below are some tax-planning strategies you might want to consider before the end of the year.</p> <h3>Take advantage of the energy-efficient home-improvement credit</h3> <p>Homeowners who buy products that increase the efficiency of their home's energy use like insulation, heating and cooling equipment, roofs, and energy-efficient windows are eligible for a tax credit of 30% of the cost, up to $1,500. Homeowners are also eligible for a tax credit of 30% (no upper limit) on large energy-efficiency changes, including geothermal heat pumps, residential wind turbines, and solar energy systems. You can view a full list of energy efficiency tax credits available to consumers at EnergyStar.gov&rsquo;s <a href="http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=tax_credits.tx_index">Federal Tax Credits for Energy Efficiency</a> page. Consumers who make energy-efficient home improvements also qualify for utility or state rebates, in addition to state tax incentives. Find details on tax incentives by state at the <a href="http://www.dsireusa.org/">Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency</a> (DSIRE).</p> <h3>Donate to charity</h3> <p>Not only does giving money warm your soul; it can also qualify as a tax deduction that can lower your taxable income. If you itemize deductions on your taxes, you can claim a tax deduction for gifts to qualified non-profit organizations. A qualified non-profit is one that is designated as a 501(c)(3) by the IRS. Examples of qualifying non-profits include the Red Cross or Salvation Army, your local humane society, schools, churches, and alumni associations. Tax deductions cannot be claimed for gifts to foreign charitable organizations (unless they are registered in the U.S.), some private institutions, or individuals. Something important to keep in mind when claiming a charitable deduction: You must have a receipt or written confirmation of your donation. If you drop money into the Salvation Army&rsquo;s red bucket around Christmastime, or give cash to your church&rsquo;s offering plate, those cannot be claimed as donations. Lastly, if you have ever donated to a charitable organization via text message (think the Red Cross&rsquo;s text message campaign for relief for victims of the earthquake in Haiti), your phone bill serves as your receipt for the donation.</p> <h3>Sell investments (if you&rsquo;ll have capital gains)</h3> <p>In simplistic terms, a capital gains tax is a tax that people must pay when they sell an asset for more than the purchase price (plus improvements). For tax years 2008 &mdash; 2010, people in the 10% and 15% <a href="http://moneysmartlife.com/2010-federal-income-tax-brackets/">tax brackets</a> won&rsquo;t pay any taxes on gains from eligible dividends and on some capital gains, while everyone else will pay a 15% tax. Those capital gains tax rates are set to expire at the end of 2010, however, meaning that capital gains will increase from 0% to 10% for those in the lowest bracket, and the new rate will be 20% for everyone else. Selling this year isn&rsquo;t for everyone, though &mdash; if you have an asset that is expected to appreciate significantly, it might make sense to hold onto it and pay the higher capital gains tax.</p> <h3>Spend the rest of the money in your Flexible Savings Account</h3> <p>If you participate in a flexible spending account (FSA) for healthcare or dependent care expenses, make sure you are on track to use up all the money you&rsquo;ve set aside before the end of the year. If you still have quite a bit left in your account, check with your employer. In many cases, employees are allowed to incur expenses past the end of the year. If not, schedule doctor&rsquo;s appointments, buy those glasses, and stock up on qualifying medicine. And speaking of medicine, FSA participants will no longer be able to claim reimbursement for over-the-counter (OTC) drugs after 2010. One way to get around this next year is to have your doctor write you a prescription for OTC medication you genuinely need &mdash; it will be reimbursed if accompanied by a prescription.</p> <h3>Seek the advice of a professional</h3> <p>Consulting with a skilled tax preparer or Certified Public Account is always good advice, and never more so than in the present. Although we can&rsquo;t be sure exactly what tax provisions will change in the coming year, tax professionals are paid to stay current on the issues and be familiar with upcoming legislation. Be sure to find a tax professional who you trust and can advise you on the best way to manage your tax situation at the end of the year.</p> <p><em>What do you think &mdash; are these sound tax-planning moves to make before the New Year? Do you have any to add? Share your thoughts!</em></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/janey-osterlind">Janey Osterlind</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-planning-5-things-to-do-before-the-end-of-the-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-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/surprising-charitable-tax-deductions">Surprising Charitable Tax Deductions</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/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-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/tax-deductions-to-start-thinking-about-now">Tax Deductions to Start Thinking About Now</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-quiet-millionaire-part-6-are-you-paying-too-much-tax">The Quiet Millionaire: Part 6 - Are You Paying Too Much Tax?</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/beware-these-5-important-tax-changes-for-2017">Beware These 5 Important Tax Changes for 2017</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Taxes capital gains tax charitable giving energy efficient home improvement credit flexible savings accounts tax planning Tue, 30 Nov 2010 13:00:07 +0000 Janey Osterlind 345354 at http://www.wisebread.com Give Two Laptops for the Price of One http://www.wisebread.com/give-two-laptops-for-the-price-of-one <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/give-two-laptops-for-the-price-of-one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/give one get one.jpg" alt="give one get one" title="give one get one" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="492" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">In spirit with Sarah&rsquo;s post on <a target="_blank" href="/indie-holidays">giving gifts that really mean something</a>, I have found great gift to give the child in your life that gives to other children too: The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/index.php">Give One Get One</a> program.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Until November 26<sup>th</sup>, this program allows you to order the revolutionary <a target="_blank" href="http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php">XO laptop</a>, only now being made available, for $399. Not only will you receive the one you ordered, but another child in a developing country will also receive one. Talk about bang for your buck.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">In spirit with Sarah&rsquo;s post on <a target="_blank" href="/indie-holidays">giving gifts that really mean something</a>, I have found great gift to give the child in your life that gives to other children too: The <a target="_blank" href="http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/index.php">Give One Get One</a> program.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">Until November 26th, this program allows you to order the revolutionary <a target="_blank" href="http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/explore.php">XO laptop</a>, only now being made available, for $399. Not only will you receive the one you ordered, but another child in a developing country will also receive one. Talk about bang for your buck.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">It gets better: $200 of your purchase price is tax deductible for charitable purposes, and US buyers will also receive one year of free T-Mobile hot-spot internet access too!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">The XO laptop is a kid-friendly, internet accessible laptop designed to be durable, resistant to less hospitable weather conditions (read: Africa, South America, etc), and operates with the Linux interface (<a target="_blank" href="/software-freedom-day-give-greed-the-shove">Justin would be pleased</a>)!</p> <p class="MsoNormal">This program is only open to residents of US and Canada, and supplies are limited, so order yours before November 26th and know that the present to your child is going beyond our borders.</p> <p class="MsoNormal">&nbsp;</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><a target="_blank" href="http://www.laptopgiving.org/en/index.php">More Information</a></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/give-two-laptops-for-the-price-of-one">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/how-to-donate-a-car-to-charity">How to Donate a Car to Charity</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/ugliest-shoes-in-the-world-now-less-than-10">Ugliest shoes in the world - now less than $10.</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-i-knew-it-benefit-of-expense-tracking">The &quot;I Knew It!&quot; Benefit of Expense Tracking</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/big-list-of-student-discounts">Big List of Student Discounts</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/big-list-of-senior-discounts">Big List of Senior Discounts</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Deals charitable giving christmas ideas XO laptop Thu, 15 Nov 2007 23:35:08 +0000 Nora Dunn 1395 at http://www.wisebread.com Charitable Giving: Give in Order to Receive http://www.wisebread.com/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/charitable giving.JPG" alt="cupped hands" title="cupped hands" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="202" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>The idea of giving away what you have especially if you don&#39;t have much is a tough one to wrap your head around. But if you truly want to be rich (both literally and figuratively), getting into the frame of mind of giving is a step in the right direction. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>When I joined <a href="http://www.rotary.org" target="_blank">Rotary</a>, I wasn&#39;t sure just how much time I could dedicate to the club&#39;s charitable fundraising and related activities. I had a business to run, an active social life, and many extra-curricular activities to round out my 16 hour days. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>But it was only after I started to give freely of my time and money towards worthy causes that my life became enriched in ways I couldn&#39;t have predicted: </span></p> <ul> <li><span>My business doubled in size in one year, completely independent of the people I was interacting with. </span></li> <li><span>I met like-minded people with whom I still share extremely strong bonds.</span></li> <li><span>I found new income-producing opportunities.</span></li> <li><span>I received tax breaks for my charitable contributions. </span></li> <li><span>I adopted a number of charitable projects separate from Rotary, which enriched my life and career in amazing ways. </span></li> </ul> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>Call it karma, call it good vibes, or anything else that fits the bill; when I gave of myself (be it time or money) without expectation of getting anything in return, I always received ten times the benefit. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>A friend of mine who is quite wealthy said he wakes up every morning, and is thankful for all that he has. He feels blessed, and asks with cupped hands for continued blessings. Then throughout the day, he gives away all he has that he doesn&#39;t need. I have seen his generosity in action, and he doesn&#39;t do it with any ulterior motives. He believes that if he gives away what he has, he will always be able to be thankful with cupped hands and will receive what he needs. So far, it has worked for him!</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>I will note that he doesn&#39;t do anything financially irresponsible in his benevolence, putting himself in a fiscally risky position (he ensures he and his family is well-provided for). He just gives with unparalleled generosity and is always rewarded in amazing ways.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText">You don&#39;t even have to limit your giving mentality to charitable causes; just being in a generous frame of mind and helping others for the sake of helping can bring back amazing results. The next time a friend needs help moving, consider dedicating your afternoon to the cause instead of coming up with an excuse as to why you can&#39;t go. </p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span>In Suze Orman&#39;s <a href="/%3Ca%20mce_thref=%22http://www.amazon.com/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&amp;location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.com%2FSteps-Financial-Freedom-Practical-Spiritual%2Fdp%2F030734584X%3Fie%3DUTF8%26s%3Dbooks%26qid%3D1193091496%26sr%3D8-3&amp;tag=wisbre09-20&amp;linkCode=ur2&amp;camp=1789&amp;creative=9325%22%3E9%20Steps%20To%20Financial%20Freedom%3C/a%3E%3Cimg%20mce_tsrc=%22http://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=wisbre09-20&amp;amp;l=ur2&amp;amp;o=1%22%20width=%221%22%20height=%221%22%20border=%220%22%20alt=%22%22%20style=%22border:none%20%21important;%20margin:0px%20%21important;%22%20/%3E" target="_blank">9 Steps To Financial Freedom</a>, one of the steps is all about giving, and the <a href="http://www.oprah.com/omagazine/200312/omag_200312_suze.jhtml" target="_blank">psychological benefits</a> of releasing an iron-clad grasp on your money. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span><a href="http://www.wheredoesallmymoneygo.com/mainpage/2007/10/19/many-employers-will-match-your-charitable-contributions-all-.html" target="_blank">Where Does All My Money Go</a> has a fabulous post on employer-matching programs. This is a great way to double any charitable contributions you make, and help to make a real difference. For the little bit of extra effort involved in filling out a few forms, you can double the impact of your contribution and cause.</span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> <br />So just when you thought you couldn&#39;t afford to give any money away, I urge you to reconsider. You may find that you&#39;ll receive way more than you ever give. </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <p class="MsoPlainText"><span> </span></p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/nora-dunn">Nora Dunn</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/charitable-giving-give-in-order-to-receive">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/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/10-ways-to-give-back-on-givingtuesday-without-breaking-the-bank">10 Ways to Give Back on #GivingTuesday Without Breaking the Bank</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/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-4 views-row-even"> <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> <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/3-simple-ways-to-split-bills-with-your-spouse">3 Simple Ways to Split Bills With Your Spouse</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Personal Finance Lifestyle charitable giving charity donating donations fundraising karma Tue, 23 Oct 2007 23:13:41 +0000 Nora Dunn 1317 at http://www.wisebread.com