I had the chance to spend the weekend with my baby sister (who is almost 23 and has been taller than me for a decade now). She works with kids with autism, many of whom are from recently immigrated families struggling to get by. She herself lives on a tight budget, but I'm always inspired with how generous she is. I asked her to write a little guest post for ya - enjoy!
This blog was inspired by my reflections on "simplifying" my life and how I realized that my entitlement to money was just part of the clutter. And one of my best tips for doing this is: be impulsively generous.
Part of the beauty of budgeting conscientiously is that it frees us to allot a portion to just "give away." This is different from making recurring donations, as my friend Helyn explained, because that can detach you from the experience of giving (and if you don’t even notice it missing, then you’re missing part of the point).
My friend Paul sometimes empties his entire wallet when there’s a special offering. I felt compelled to do this once for a special offering for the poor at church, before I realized that I had just gone to the ATM and had way more cash than normal. I hate to admit that I questioned this action - would I have enough spending money for the rest of the month? If I gave only half of it, wouldn't that still be very generous? But into the box it all went, and it was beautifully freeing.
“Planning” such spontaneous giving helps break down our justification to hold onto our money, and also helps us become more observant and intuitive of others’ needs. Spend it on a gift to bring a friend out of a funk. Spend it on a meal for a friend or a neighbor (especially if you have neighbors who call the bushes behind your apartment home). Buy flowers from the man sitting on a gas station curb and enjoy their beauty in your home. However you give away your money, take joy in the fact that it was used in the best way possible - freely.
Thanks, baby sis! I've gotten reliant on my debit card, but have started carrying cash after hearing this story. That way, I'm always ready when I feel that tug to give away money on the spot. It really is freeing!