The epic spending spree I won't regret.
The holiday season is well underway. You've seen the memes...
It's all too common this time of year. We put ourselves right in the path of all that consumerism -- the holiday advertisements, the shopping malls, the frantic search for perfect purchases -- and it plows over our good intentions like a Mack Truck.
But this is not what happened to us.
When we made changes to our finances, it was based on a deep desire of wanting to do more with what we had. Making life change in order to achieve the things we truly wanted (instead of just to cut out bad habits) was empowering. To keep our motivation strong, our budget is now able to include some big incentives (beyond just debt repayment). One of those incentives is a notable amount of spending at the end of the year dedicated to a very specific purpose.
This week we spent hundreds of dollars on things that most people wouldn't call necessary Our spending didn't include gifts for friends and family, and we have absolutely nothing to show for it. Still, it is a time we look forward to all year: our annual spending spree on charitable giving.
Being more disciplined and intentional with our finances has meant that we are able to make a bigger difference in the lives of others. For the second year, we have been able to dedicate a larger portion of our budget to investing in hope. While we hope that our future finances will allow us to do even more (I have great aims of one day achieving Dave Ramsey's target of donating 10% of our income), we were excited this year to give modestly to many causes that we greatly care about.
There are many non-profits whose services we use regularly, and we made sure to contribute to those, including National Public Radio and the Washington Trails Association. More important was supporting organizations who help people in immediate need or who make a national impact on issues that are important to us. A couple examples of these organizations include:
- Write 253, an organization that aims to provide youth with meaningful and transformative writing opportunities that cross boundaries and create community. They offer many programs, including a twice monthly writing workshop for youth incarcerated at our local juvenile justice center.
- Lambda Legal, an organization doing "legal, education, and advocacy work that touches nearly every aspect of life for lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people, and everyone living with HIV."
Whether you believe in these causes or would prefer to support others, those who are financially able can (and should!) make a positive impact in the lives of others. Not only will you bring some good to the world, it might be exactly the thing the motivates you to be financially disciplined in the new year.