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Giving


  • Giving makes us happier, but what if you don’t have much to give? (39 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Kristin Wong. Maybe it’s because I’m getting older, or maybe it’s that I’m in a better financial place than I was just a few years ago, but lately, I’ve been thinking a lot more about giving back. In recent years, it’s becoming more important to me to be socially conscious and charitable. I’m secure, I’m healthy, and I’m free. That contentment seems to urge me to check in on…

  • The problem with the “perfect” gift (61 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. When it comes to gift-giving, I like to buy gifts that are exciting, maybe something that the recipient wouldn’t necessarily buy themselves because it’s not practical. In fact, I so enjoy finding the perfect gift that I even have secret Amazon gift lists for my family members. When I come across something I think they’d like, I add it to their list for future gift-giving occasions. (Sound…

  • Charity, hobby, or mistake? The cat we didn’t keep (61 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Honey Smith. Jake and I have two cats and a dog. To us, having pets is one of the most important aspects of our lives and identity. You might even consider it a hobby. Unfortunately, it is a hobby that, as you will see, has not always been entirely strategic. Our love for animals has permeated much of our lives. I’ve been vegetarian for over a decade, and Jake was…

  • Surviving Christmas: A post-holiday checklist (4 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Holly Johnson. After months of anticipation, Christmas day is finally here. And depending on your outlook, that could be a great (or an awful) thing. Just a few short years ago, I was a total Scrooge about the holidays in general, with a special hostility toward anything I perceived as forced gift-giving or wasteful spending. And while I still struggle with those notions to a certain extent, my perspective of…

  • Ask the Readers: What brings out the Scrooge in you? (46 comments)

    This article is by staff writer April Dykman. As I mentioned last month, Thanksgiving is my very favorite holiday. It’s about food and togetherness, not gifts. Sometimes I think this makes me sound like a Scrooge. But it’s not the idea of gift-giving that I dislike, it’s all the stress that surrounds it. Here’s an example. My husband and I have been together for almost 10 years. During the first four or five years, we did…

  • ‘Fallen Fruit’ and the concept of sharing abundance (32 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Kristin Wong. I was recently reading Lauren Weber’s book, “In Cheap We Trust: The Story of a Misunderstood American Virtue.” On page 16, I got a little excited: “…www.FallenFruit.org, maps out public fruit trees in Los Angeles and encourages reader to gather up the bounty.” A-whaaa? I jumped out of bed and onto the Internet, where I discovered Fallen Fruit is much, much more than a bunch of maps…

  • Ask the Readers: Will you spend $130 on Valentine’s Day this year? or Stop laughing and tell us your plans for Valentine’s Day (66 comments)

    This short post is from personal finance writer Gwendolyn Pearce, who last wrote about no-money fun. According to the National Retail Federation, the average person is planning to spend $130.97 this Valentine’s Day. If you’re a male in love, that number jumps to $175.61. Females, however, are only projected to spend $88.78. The NRF’s report forecasts that consumers are playing down Valentine’s Day this year by only spending $18.6 billion. (It made me curious what…

  • Reader story: Tax-efficient charitable giving (15 comments)

    This is a guest post from LD, a practicing Certified Public Accountant and Certified Financial Planner who blogs about personal finance at Personal Finance Insider. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Generosity is exactly this: to give that which is dearest…

  • Reader Stories: Starting to see financial fitness muscle! (31 comments)

    This story comes to us from reader EmJay. EmJay’s story is the epitome of getting rich slowly, and readers can learn from her effort. This post is part of the Reader Stories series. Some reader stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success or failure. These stories feature folks with all levels of financial maturity and income. Want to submit your own reader story? Here’s how. Although we…

  • Battle of the toy bulge (102 comments)

    By now, most families have taken down their trees and house lights. And if you’re like me and live in the Midwest, you might be counting down the days until the first signs of spring. A new year of goals, hopes and beginnings has begun… Meanwhile, a battle is taking place in many homes. Many people with children, like me, are finding that they have been overrun by an absurd number of new toys and…

  • Resisting the holiday spending trap (73 comments)

    Every year, I fail to really account for the cost of Christmas. “A few hundred dollars,” I think, for gifts, and then by the first few days of December I’ve bought several pounds of butter, and lots of my favorite seasonal chocolate, and the big size of maple syrup because I’ll be baking and pancake-making a lot this winter. And suddenly I’ve already spent a few hundred dollars, and not a gift among them. And…

  • Lowering expectations for Christmas (175 comments)

    This post is from new GRS staff writer Holly Johnson. Holly is a 32-year-old wife, mother of two, and frugal lifestyle enthusiast. She blogs about saving money, frugal habits, and whatever is on her mind at ClubThrifty.com. Personally, I begin to panic every year as the holiday season approaches. It’s not because I don’t love Christmas. I really do love the holiday season, in general. I just cringe at the thought of all of the…

  • Ask the Readers: How can you help children appreciate delayed gratification? (35 comments)

    This post is from Ollie Geiger, a personal finance writer who contributes to MoneyRates.com. I had it pretty good as a kid. While I didn’t get everything I wanted for birthdays or Christmas, my parents always gave it a good shot, and most importantly, they were always there when I opened the boxes. Still, in the instances I wanted a big-ticket item from my parents, I had to be patient. Coming from a single-income family…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you build an inexpensive care package? (39 comments)

    This guest post was written by Jenny Saikwa who was inspired by Veterans Day. I’m not exactly sure how Spit made his entrance, but the little stuffed camel certainly meant a lot to my son during the waning days of his first deployment in Afghanistan. The object of countless “missions,” Spit’s uncanny ability to sneak into a photo or weasel his way onto a helicopter was the stuff of legends. Spit celebrated his first Christmas…

  • Ask the Readers: How do you keep holiday tipping in check? (243 comments)

    This post comes from J. Whiton. I’m preparing a holiday gift budget for family and close friends and realize I should factor in year-end gifts and bonuses to myriad people who provide services to us throughout the year. I’ve gotten the memo that “it’s the thought that counts,” but I’m not sure my newspaper delivery person has. He continues to enclose a self-addressed envelope with our paper in early December, and I’m pretty sure he…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Do You Spend on Charitable Giving? (220 comments)

    The deeper I get into the third stage of personal finance, the more I think about my responsibilities to help others who are in need. For years, Get Rich Slowly readers have been encouraging me to contribute to charity, but I’ve always been reluctant to do so. This wasn’t part of my family culture as a boy (we were the ones in need), so it’s been a struggle to come to terms with it as…

  • ‘Tis the Season for an Autopsy of Last Year’s Holiday (96 comments)

    This is a post from staff writer Robert Brokamp of The Motley Fool. Robert is a Certified Financial Planner and the adviser for The Motley Fool’s Rule Your Retirement service. He contributes one new article to Get Rich Slowly every two weeks. With the retailers already selling bones, severed limbs, and other Halloween paraphernalia, it’s only a matter of (short) time until it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I know, summer’s not even…

  • 25 Ways to Give (Without Breaking the Bank) (113 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Frugal Cool blog for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. In the past nine months I’ve found $12.89 in singles and specie. The cash has shown up in a number of places, but most of it is from coins I picked up. As usual, I’ll squirrel away the found funds until Thanksgiving, at which time I’ll…

  • How I Stopped Excessive Gifting (117 comments)

    This post is by staff writer Tim Sullivan. Most of us struggle with some psychological aspect of money that can impede our savings. Whether it be the lure of clothing stores, nights out with friends, or stocking a top-shelf liquor cabinet, there tends to be one thing or another that creeps from our wants category into our needs. I’ve never been a compulsive shopper and always preferred voluntary simplicity, both in the kitchen and in…

  • Expectations and Your Money (56 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sarah Gilbert. I started wrapping my gifts in old newspaper years ago. I know. It sounds so cheap it’s almost bah, humbug! Please don’t roll your eyes and stop reading now. Wait! I started doing it because I couldn’t stand the silliness of it all. Most Christmases I wrapped my gifts hours before they were opened, often late at night on Christmas Eve. I’d have a bag full of…

  • Finding the Perfect Gift (52 comments)

    If you’re like me, you’re still not finished with your Christmas shopping. It’s true that Kris and I are big believers in home-made gifts, and it’s also true that my family only exchanges inexpensive Christmas presents, but there are still a handful of gifts I like to shop for. And every year, I put this shopping off until the last minute. Part of the problem is that I want to find the perfect thing for…

  • That’s a Wrap: Some Alternatives to Traditional Gift-Wrapping (140 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving. Looking for a greener Christmas? Re-think your gift wrap. According to Stanford University: If every U.S. family wrapped three gifts in repurposed materials, the gift wrap saved would cover 45,000 football fields. If every family reused two feet of holiday ribbon per year, the ribbon saved…

  • Ask the Readers: How Much Do You Spend on Gifts? (126 comments)

    As Kris and I near the end our trip to Peru, we’ve begun to make preparations for our return home. That means shopping. I spent some time today buying books, for instance. Keeping in mind my recently-drafted guidelines of what to buy, I picked up a couple dozen Spanish translations of classic novels and popular children’s books. These books are all tiny (about the size of a religious tract) and cost only S/1.50 each, which…

  • How My Generosity Got Me $8,000 in Debt (105 comments)

    This is a guest post from Logan Sachon. Her piece originally appeared at Bundle.com. I am in debt: $8,000 on two credit cards, to be precise. The debt occurred over several years, and includes a few periods when I was living off the cards because I was in between jobs. Perhaps $1,000 of the debt was spent on plane tickets to visit my parents on the East Coast, my job on the East Coast, or…

  • 10 Ways to Build a Gift Closet That’s Both Deep and Cheap (109 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes a personal finance column for MSN Money. She also writes about frugality, intentional living, and life in general at her own blog, Surviving And Thriving. The holidays are about six months away. Why wait until the last minute to shop? Answer: You shouldn’t. And you won’t have to if you have a decently stocked gift closet. Some people I know keep their eyes open…

  • Learning to Give (221 comments)

    For years, Get Rich Slowly readers have given me grief over my charitable giving. Or, more precisely, my lack of it. I was raised in a home that gave neither money nor time to help others. As I struck out on my own, I never picked up the habit of giving. At first, this was because I had myself to worry about. I was deep in debt. How could I afford to help others when…

  • Ask the Readers: What Are the Moral Implications of Spending? (241 comments)

    Most reader questions I share at Get Rich Slowly are meant to solve a problem — somebody has a financial dilemma they’re hoping you folks can help them fix. But Rita sent a different kind of question. She doesn’t want to solve a problem — she wants to stir debate. Rita writes: I ask myself “How much is enough?” several times daily. My husband and I make good money — over $100,000 in combined income…

  • Getting The Most From Your Charitable Deductions (33 comments)

    This post is from staff writer Sierra Black. Sierra writes about frugality, sustainable living, and raising children at Childwild.com. Charitable deductions can be a complex and confusing area of your tax return. Understanding what you can deduct and what you can’t deduct can be confusing. Documenting it properly adds yet another layer of difficulty. To help sort it all out, I talked to Kelly Erb, (a.k.a. Taxgirl), and Kay Bell (of Don’t Mess With Taxes)….

  • Follow-Up: Thrifting for Holiday Gifts (16 comments)

    As I mentioned earlier this week, I get a lot of requests for follow-ups to reader stories and questions. People want to hear how things turned out. Because I want to know how things turned out, too, I’m going to start a semi-regular feature at Get Rich Slowly. Whenever I hear back from a previous poster, I’ll share an update so that we can all know what happened. Note: I suspect most of these will…

  • Christmas Gifts That Make a Difference (63 comments)

    This is the first post from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality, intentional living and lifeitsownself at Surviving And Thriving. Grandma probably doesn’t want another scented candle, but she could very well use a ride to the store. Your underemployed nephew would likely prefer a little help filling the pantry instead of a jokey T-shirt. And the sister who’s…

  • Giving Away, Not Selling, My Stuff (86 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. Ever since I cleaned out my closet, I’ve gotten more and more ruthless, editing more and adding less. The result of deleting items from drawers and hangers is two large brown boxes taking up floor space in the closet, overflowing with castaways. The boxes have grown into mountains, and I can’t walk to the back of my closet anymore. My intention was to sell these items,…

  • Using Consumerism for Social Good (24 comments)

    This post is from GRS staff writer April Dykman. When I shampoo my hair, I’m helping buy bicycles for girls in Togo to get to school. According to UNICEF, in Togo, a small nation in West Africa, about half of the women 15-24 years old can’t read or write, and the numbers are higher for those in rural areas where there’s no access to transportation. Children have to walk 5 to 15 miles, and girls,…

  • Book Review: Banker to the Poor (40 comments)

    This post, from GRS staff writer April Dykman, is part of Book Week at Get Rich Slowly. When J.D. announced that this week would be Book Week at GRS, I was excited about a set deadline for tackling a book from my ever-growing reading list. Since micro-finance and micro-credit have been of interest to me for the past four years or so, I decided to read Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and The Battle Against…

  • Reader Story: I Quit My Job and Joined the Peace Corps (43 comments)

    This guest post from Bon is part of the “reader stories” feature at Get Rich Slowly. Some stories contain general advice; others are examples of how a GRS reader achieved financial success — or failure. These stories feature folks from all levels of financial maturity and with all sorts of incomes. I’ve always been a bit of a capitalist so to speak, so when I decided to join the Peace Corps several years ago, not…

  • Social Capital: More Valuable Than Money? (63 comments)

    I’m back! After ten days boating through southeast Alaska (and two days of recovery), I’m ready to think about personal finance once again. Actually, it’ll probably come as no surprise that I never stopped thinking about personal finance. Even while we were skirting among ice floes, pulling up prawns, and admiring whales, my mind never strayed far from the topic of money. (I’m not saying this is a good thing, but it’s the truth.) It’d…

  • Give Your Wealth Away: An Argument For a Secular Tithe (145 comments)

    This is a guest post from Sierra Black, a long-time GRS reader and the author of ChildWild, a blog where she writes about frugality, sustainable living, and getting her kids to eat kale. Previously at Get Rich Slowly, Black told us about sweating the big stuff and the pitfalls of buying in bulk. My mother’s family is Catholic. They’re working class people from Buffalo: nurses, drugstore clerks, steel mill workers. Even though they never had…

  • Don’t Just Thank…Act! (15 comments)

    This article is by staff writer Adam Baker. Baker has recently come to realize that there will always be an excuse not to give if you look for one. As the holiday season approaches each year, we’re reminded to reflect on those things we’re most thankful for. Some of these remain consistent from year to year. Occasionally, a dramatic life experience — either positive or negative — will stir things up, adding new items to…

  • Giving to Receive: What Legacy Will You Leave? (46 comments)

    This is a guest post from Tyler Tervooren, a long-time GRS reader. Tyler is a practical environmentalist who writes about the overlap of money, sustainability, and personal development at Frugally Green. Have you accepted yet that you’re going to die? Have you? Honestly? We’ve been doing it for thousands of years but, for some reason, most of us won’t figure out how to deal with it until it’s too late. This is something every one…

  • 9 Ways to Give — Even When Times Are Tough (91 comments)

    This post is part of the “The Spectrum of Personal Finance”. In this one-day event, comic-book nerd Brian from My Next Buck, will discuss eight different emotions (taken from the Green Lantern comics) and relate them to personal finance. Here at GRS, Brian looks at Compassion. One of the most rewarding parts of personal finance is being able to give back. Giving is powerful, and it’s contagious. But maybe this year times are too tight…

  • The Personal Finance Hour, Episode 28: Thanks. Giving. (6 comments)

    Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It’s the least-commercialized major holiday, and the one whose message I most appreciate. On today’s episode of The Personal Finance Hour, I’ll join Jim from Bargaineering to discuss two aspects of this holiday season: the things we’re thankful for, and the importance of giving. This show will air live at 3pm Pacific (6pm Eastern). It’s much more entertaining for everyone when you call in to participate. We’d love to hear…

  • Daily Links: Sisters of the Road Edition (13 comments)

    Many GRS readers have urged me to take a more active role in charity and giving back to my local community. So when my friend and colleague Chris Guillebeau asked me if I’d be willing to help with a local cause, I decided now was a great time to make the leap. On Friday, October 23rd, Chris and I will attend a benefit dinner and auction to support Sisters of the Road, a local non-profit…

  • Why Do You Want to Be Rich? (78 comments)

    I’m not the only one who has been thinking about the relationship between money and meaning lately. This is a guest post from CJ at WiseMoneyMatters.com, who is trying to live a rich life even as he works to pay down debt. “Wealth and riches are not synonymous. Wealth will get you riches, but riches will never make you wealthy.” – Dr. Edwin Louis Cole I love this quote from Dr. Edwin Louis Cole because…

  • Why Charitable Giving is Even More Important During an Economic Downturn (39 comments)

    This is a guest post from Debbie Dubrow from Delicious Baby, a blog with advice about traveling with babies, toddlers and kids. Previously at GRS, Debbie wrote about how to track travel expenses and stick to a vacation budget. The U.S. government has officially announced that we’re in a recession, but for those balancing our own budgets, it’s not new news.  Even if you haven’t been affected yet, you are probably cutting back and setting…