Treasure Hunting

For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.
– Matthew 6:21

No matter what your religious beliefs, it is clear that the way you choose to spend your money indicates your priorities. According to Giving USA, Americans gave over $358 billion to charity in 2014. That is a lot of cash money.

For some reason, people tend to think that their smaller gifts don’t make a difference and that they should wait until they can make a large gift. While it is true that the vast majority of money donated each year is given by a small percentage of people, smaller gifts are very important for both the donor and the recipient.

These gifts help out today, not at some undetermined point in the future. And an actual gift is worth infinitely more than an intention. Intentions don’t help anyone or further the causes you are passionate about!  Also, when you become a donor to a great nonprofit organization, you should start receiving information about the impact of your gift. Through these small gifts you will learn more about how the nonprofit uses your money, which builds trust. This is vital for when you have a large sum to give in the future – because you’ll know what your money can do and trust the organization to do it!

You will never feel rich enough to make a transformational gift unless you already know the impact of your giving.

Giving money away has always been very important to me. And I don’t think there ever comes a time that it feels convenient to start giving. Have you ever gotten a promotion and then increased your cable subscription, or adopted a pet, or went on a shopping spree? It’s easy to think of ourselves first.

Giving will never be convenient, until it becomes a habit.

I started giving a portion of my paycheck away as soon as I graduated from college. By developing the habit in my young 20s, when I could only afford to give $10 or $20 away per month, it’s easier to prioritize giving now that we can give more.

Like all other money decisions in your marriage, talk with your spouse. Figure out how much you want to give away each month and what organizations are important to each of you. Also, consider how you like to give money. Perhaps your spouse prefers to give automatically each month via credit card and you prefer to support different organizations (or even specific people) depending on immediate need.

During our marriage, we have had several different methods for giving, but I like our current process best.  Let’s say Jonathan and I give away $100 each month. $60 goes to our church. With the remaining $40, Jonathan and I each individually choose where $20 goes. I divide my $20 between four different charities and automatically give to them each month via credit card. Jonathan decides each month where his $20 giving will go.

Since we organized our giving this way, we are each able to support causes that we’re passionate about and have flexibility to give as we are made aware of need.

I hope that part of the conversation about money in your marriage is how you will help others through your finances. Start developing the habit today by building giving into your budget and making charity a priority in your marriage.

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