Smart Money Monday: Charitable Giving

Continuing our series that is published every Monday called “Smart Money Monday,” the goal of this quick hit list is to drop some knowledge about a particular topic to kickstart your week and get you thinking about how to get closer to financial freedom. The topic of this week is the charitable giving.

Charitable Giving: Do good while doing well.

Most of us set goals for earning money, our future net worth, savings milestones, target retirement date and on and on. One thing that we tend to spend less of our time and focus on is the impact that we can have by donating our time and money. While 67% of Americans donate to charity, according to a PhilanthropyRoundtable.org study, it is too often an afterthought when planning our finances and goals. As we approach the end of the year and that time that many of us tend to set goals for the new year, let’s not forget to put the good that we can do on the same list as the other goals that we’d like to accomplish.

Money Quote of the Week

“No one has ever become poor by giving.” – Anne Frank

Hip Hop Money Quote of the Week

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want millions / More than money saved, I wanna save children.” – Common

Experiment of the week

This week is less of an experiment and more of an exercise that I take on around this time each year. I take a long, hard look at where my wife and I have donated money year-to-date and see if we’ve given as much as we feel we can and should. Since our income is variable (see: side gigs), our standard monthly giving doesn’t always meet the percentage that it could. As a result, I like to take an inventory of our charitable giving and current finances to see how much more good we can do before the year runs out. Keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily have to be a monetary donation. You can take a look at your calendar and find time to spend volunteering, look around your house to see what you could donate to a shelter, or find other ways to help those in need. If you are more financially motivated, be sure to check with your tax professional to find out if there are any tax credits in your state that you could take advantage of before you close your books for the year.

Article of the Week

Notes on Giving Away my First $100,000 – Mr. Money Mustache

Mr. Money Mustache is one of my favorite finance bloggers and this post is a perfect example of someone walking the walk. In the post, the mustachioed author walks through the logic of donating from his savings, the criteria for distributing to different charities and the experience of giving away $100,000 in one fell swoop. It’s a great read.

Smart Money App of the Week

It’s an oldie but a goodie. Mint.com is one of the easiest ways to track your spending, see a quick snapshot of your net worth and set goals for your financial future. While I don’t use Mint for budgeting (I still prefer the trusty old spreadsheet), I do use it as a source of data when looking back at the end of each week, month or to close out the year. Mint is a great tool for locating any money that is being wasted, understanding where exactly your money is going and aggregating all of your accounts into one view. Both the website and the mobile app are free, but you will get a fair share of marketing messages while logged in. Check it out and see if it works for you!

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