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Posts tagged with: giving back

Money in the Bank


I feel like I’ve hit a milestone today that I hadn’t really thought of…money in the bank.

I’m not talking about the 10% I’ve been setting aside in a hard to reach savings account. I’m talking about there being several hundred dollars in my primary daily living account that is not earmarked for some upcoming bill or that I’m watching like a hawk to make sure I can cover something that is coming up.  And the cool thing is, I get paid today too.

As this realization hit this morning, I was able to take a really deep breathe. And smile.

I’ve started working on a budget — really! And am also starting to think about giving back. I’ve had the opportunity of late to give back in small ways, but after what we have been through the last two years and all the blessings we received from others I really want to give back in some real tangible ways, not just sending a check to some big charity.  Something like paying someone’s electric bill as someone did from the BAD community did for us a few months. Or taking some kids back to school shopping. You get my drift. I know I have to put this in my budget AND I still have some debt to dig into.

A financial post will be forthcoming, but I just wanted to let you know that today, I smiled when I thought of my finances rather than trembling with fear or stressing about every day obligations.

Fulfilling Charitable Resolutions Without Breaking the Bank


how to keep your charitable resoltions

By Holly Tomlinson

Giving back more is one of the most popular resolutions made each year, but as we round out the first month of 2016, I find myself having done nothing towards my goal. If you’ve also made a commitment to improving the world around you, you might be wondering how you can do so on a tight budget when you find yourself often having less than you need. I always try to remind myself that there is always something worse off who could use a helping hand, and I’ve come up with a list of ways you can fulfill your charitable resolutions without breaking the bank.

Spring Cleaning

The phrase “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure” couldn’t be truer. Consider donating used goods that you don’t get much utility from anymore. Clean out your closets, including those of your kids, and put any things that you’ve outgrown or haven’t seen in at least six months into a bag. You can also go through recreational items, like hockey sticks from an abandoned hobby, old golf clubs, baby toys, and other things you can bear to part with. Take them to a local church, homeless shelter, or Goodwill and make a difference in someone’s life.

The Tax Breaks

While altruism should be the main reason behind your urge to give back, you can’t deny that tax breaks do give incentive to charitable contributions. A gift to an IRS-approved charitable organization may entitle you to a tax deduction if you itemize deductions on your tax returns. Most charities qualify for this deduction but make sure you do your research before banking on a tax break. You’ll also need to ensure you get receipts from your donations, as no deduction is allowed for anything over $250 if you don’t have documentation of it.

Unused Gift Cards

If you’ve got gift cards with small balances that you’re never going to use, consider giving them to charity or a homeless shelter. More often than not we let them hang out at the bottom of our purses or tucked behind credit cards in our wallet, and according to a MarketWatch estimate, almost $750 million worth of gift cards went unspent in 2014. Don’t hang onto it on the off chance that you might use it, and give it to people who could actually benefit from it.

For Online Shoppers

If you’ve got a mean online shopping addiction, use your purchases to donate money to charities that could use your donations greatly. Websites like iGive.com allow you to choose a cause to support initially. After you’re set up, all you need to do is shop on iGive-approved websites — they’ve got upwards of 1,700 online shopping sources to peruse. Everything from car rental websites to upscale clothing stores are on the list, meaning your every need can be met with the added bonus of donating to a charity that’s close to your heart.

Use Social Media

If you’re looking for ways to get involved, stay active on social media and follow different charities. Often local organizations will post about upcoming events, giving you the opportunity to participate and make a difference. Another handy part of the process? You’ll be able to share great things that come up and spread the news to your friends and family — you never know who’s looking for a way to get involved. Social media outlets like Facebook often have pages where likeminded volunteers can come together in their community and plan ways to get involved, so do a simple search and press join–you’ll be glad you did, I guarantee it.

The Ripple Effect

Even the smallest gesture can create a ripple effect of altruism within your community. Small generous efforts can mean big results, and you don’t have to spend a ton to get them done. If you’re a Starbucks addict, pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you — they might be so thankful that they’re inspired to pay it forward. If you know of a family friend going through a hard time, pick up a gift and drop it off at their home unannounced. Even something as simple as dropping off cookies at a children’s hospital will change someone’s day. Fulfilling your charitable resolutions is easier than you might think, and changing the world starts one person at a time. Consider what you can do to improve your community, and watch the karma dividends come back to you.

(Photo courtesy of Randy Heinitz)

Giving to a Cause – Inadvertently


There have been lots of posts about giving to charities and giving back.  This is not a re-hash of those.  This is more of a brag…

This past weekend we drove through the insane winter weather, up to DC for the Flip for the Fight gymnastics meet.  It was the smallest meet that Little Gymnast has participated in, perhaps due to the nasty weather.  But it was SO well run.  We had a blast and Little Gymnast medaled in three events.  One proud mama here!  This was the first year the meet has had a boys component and I certainly hope they do it again!

But really the reason I bring it up is because it was a way for us to give back to such an important cause – breast cancer research, without breaking the bank or going outside of our normally budgeted monies.  You can see on their website that last year alone they were able to give back $15,000 to this research which is so important to women’s (and men’s) health.

So this week, not only did Little Gymnast do what he does, but we proudly supported this event and will do so again in the future if the opportunity arises!

History Buff, Princess and Little Gymnast at one of the many cool photo op locations on site. (Sea Cadet was at his Annual Inspection with his Navy Sea Cadet division.)

History Buff, Princess and Little Gymnast at one of the many cool photo op locations on site. (Sea Cadet was at his Annual Inspection with his Navy Sea Cadet division.)

OT – Mysterious Ways


One of the hardest things that I have had to give up during this journey is my desire to foster/adopt children from the US foster care system.  It just hurts my heart to think of children in limbo and without a family to support them.  I know this is just a temporary delay and a wise financial move as I will be in a much better place to care for children once my financial house in order.

With that being said…God works in mysterious ways and I’m so thrilled about it!  The local county has a family in preventative care, and I won’t go into details, but since I have a huge car, seem to be competent to deal with multiple children and for years have pestered them for more kids…I got three, yes THREE more placed here Friday.

So before you jump down my throat, let me be clear.  These are just day placements meaning I only have the kids during the day.  It’s only for 11 days and they are not consecutive.  And I am compensated as a child care provider.

Evidently, my willingness to take all three and having the big car were the deciding factors when they chose me, and knowing that I thrive in chaos.  My kids are thrilled, I am thrilled and so I’m getting to serve children in a way that is critical to me without sacrificing my financial journey.  (No, I have no desire to run a day care center, but right now this is what I can offer!)

I did have to change my part time work schedule due to the days I was needed for these kids, but I am so grateful for such a great boss and job who understand this need and are supportive of my flexible schedule.  I continue to work my regular jobs without interruption with this placement. 


Giving Back


Ashley posted a few weeks ago about Charitable Donations and if memory serves, the consensus on actually monetary was giving pretty split down the middle. I have not formulated opinion on that quite yet, but I do know that I MUST give back. I’ve constantly sought ways for us to give back to our community in action rather than money, because let’s face it, we have way more expendable time than we do money.

We’ve volunteered in the local public school, worked with Serve the City and posted ads on churches bulletin looking for opportunities for all of us to work together.

My heart is for children, you’d probably already guessed that.  The thought of a child growing up without a family here in America or what’s called aging out breaks my heart in two and if I had the space, I would take them all, seriously! But since we added the bedroom in January we have been actively seeking a foster child/adoptive placement.  This weekend, we will host a child.  It’s just a short term placement, and the state does compensate for it, it’s called respite care.  But it will give us a good idea of how the dynamic will change in our home with another child is added to the equation.

My being a foster parent and taking in children is not up for discussion… that is probably the one thing that comes above my debt payoff.  But what I would like to hear about is the ways that you find to give back that do not involve money….your talent, your time, your tools?  I think the world as a whole would be exponentially better if everyone took time every week to give in that way.

Giving back


It has always been important to volunteer in some way for the community since I was very young.  Community service hours were a requirement for high school graduation and I can say that through all phases of my life, I’ve volunteered my time in some way.  I’ve struggled more as an adult finding a way to incorporate that in the kids’ lives.  My son is very active with Boy Scouts so that teaches a lot about community service but I longed for a family “giving back” project. Recently, as part of my daughter’s religious classes we went on a little field trip to a ministry within our Church.  It is called “Mobile Loaves and Fishes” and this group of highly dedicated people put together meals at lunch time and supper time, 7 days a week.  They are made up of all volunteers.  They make meals in their kitchen at the Church and then have a truck that they drive out to various locations to feed the hungry-refugees, the working poor, the elderly and the homeless.

My 7-year-old daughter was completely inspired at this little 10 minute tour.  All she kept saying was how “neat” she thought the director’s “job” was b/c she got to feed people who were hungry.  From that night on (about 2 weeks ago) this is all my daughter has talked about.  So, I reached out to the director to find out where our services might be needed.  As of April 6, we will begin volunteering on the “prep team” on the first Friday of each month.

In addition to teaching the kids about our own money matters, this will serve as a reminder of just how blessed we are to have what we do have and inspire us to live more grateful lives.