How to be generous with money

How to be generous with money when you don't have a ton — that's a major question. Here's how one Get Rich Slowly contributor, Lisa Aberle, discovered some essential truths about money, friendship and giving.

An ice storm was coming. The last time we'd had an ice storm we were childless and lost power for five days. The romance of sleeping in front of the fireplace quickly cooled off along with the temperature in the house. If we lost power again, 39 degrees just wasn't going to be acceptable with two kids.

That's why my husband took a trip to the shed to get our generator ready.

Shows home during ice storm

Except he couldn't find the generator. After a few minutes of brainstorming (Did I put it somewhere else?), he called someone who frequently borrows our stuff.

“Your generator?” said The Borrower, “Yeah, when you were out of the country last year, I let somebody borrow it. I'll give him a call.”

And then a few minutes later, The Borrower called back. “There is a small problem. He has the generator, and it works. But … he thinks it's his. So best of luck to ya. ‘Bye.”

So my husband made a second phone call. Sure enough, the other guy thought the generator was his. But the strange thing was that he thought it had been his for years. This is an old friend of our family, so we decided to preserve the relationship and ignore the problem pf the questionable ownership of the generator. The ice storm didn't materialize that time or any other time during the long winter. Crisis averted, relationship preserved.

But winter's coming again. “We really need to have a generator before winter hits,” my husband said recently. He priced a new one. A new generator will set us back $700.

Seven hundred dollars. Seven hundred dollars has a way of making me irritated with the whole situation all over again.

Related Content: Saving for Emergencies

There are so many things wrong with the story I have shared. I feel stupid that we haven't really addressed the issue, perplexed that this happened with someone we've known for years, and just plain annoyed that we don't have a generator. And let's not forget that we didn't even lend it to someone in the first place.

Do “nice” people finish last financially?

I am sure if you look back at your life, you can remember scenarios in which you spent money when you didn't want to, or you gave money when you didn't want to or couldn't afford to, or you bought some Tupperware at a friend's home party because you wanted to be nice.

My hand is raised.

When You're Too Nice

I'm a recovering nice person. I actually try not to use “nice” when addressing any behaviors of my children. I don't say, “Be nice to others” because it reminds me of a doormat who has issues with boundaries and other things. When you're too nice, you may spend money you don't have to help someone who may not even need your help. Instead, my word of choice is “kind” or “kindness.”

Differentiating between the two words has made a huge difference to me.

Related Content: How My Generosity Got Me $8,000 in Debt

See, before, I wanted to help people. Maybe I tried to help them by giving them money, or buying something for them, or buying something from one of the home parties I hosted. Many times I spent more than I should have. And when I did that, I sometimes felt stressed. And when I felt stressed, I became resentful of the person I had wanted to help in the beginning. Doesn't that sound messed up?

Can You be Generous Without Being Nice?

I still want to help people. But now I help them without any feelings of resentment (unless someone gives away our generator … sigh).

Here's how:

1. Stay within your budget. Does it really help someone if you buy a Pampered Chef gadget that you really didn't want so they could get $5 more in free products to pick out? But if you don't buy the $40 gadget, you'll still have $40 instead of spending $40 on something you didn't really want or need in the first place.

2. Save the guilt. For myself, I keep running lists of things that I want. Maybe it's a magazine subscription. When a niece or nephew send me information on a school fundraiser that includes magazines, I look at my list. If there is a magazine I want, I will order. If not, the information goes into the trash. Same with invites to home parties like Tupperware or Pampered Chef. If I haven't been wanting to buy something, I just don't go at all. I don't feel a bit guilty or resentful.

3. Give money away. I have found that consistent support of a handful of charities has been helpful. I know that if I spend budget dollars in other places, I won't have enough to support the causes that I am really passionate about. That helps keep my focus on what's really important to me.

4. Just say “no.” As I get older, I appreciate openness and honesty more than ever. My friends and family still love me, even when I say no to certain things that I don't feel align with my spending values.

Be Generous; Just Don't be Nice

I believe that being generous is important. I have experienced the generosity and kindness of others more times than I can count. So be generous!

But be generous because you want to be, not because you feel you have to be. If you feel resentful of someone else for something you chose to do, you probably are being too nice. And that should inspire you to look at yourself honestly and ask what needs to change.

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Lance
Lance
5 years ago

There is being nice and there is being run over. You need to be nice to yourself and your family as well. Having an uncomfortable conversation is not being unkind it is the right thing to do for your family. Is it unkind to ask for a raise if you deserve it at work? No. Avoiding conflict doesn’t help anyone out and enables others to continue to do wrong things and no one has learned a lesson. Just like with children if parents do everything and don’t let their children fail a few times (trying to be kind to them)… Read more »

Millionaires Giving Money
Millionaires Giving Money
5 years ago

Nice post Lisa. You’re story really IRRITATED me just out of the sheer frustration that someone can just claim a generator that’s worth 700 dollars. While you have preserved a relationship it still means you need to fork out 700 dollars on another generator. I guess this has been a learning curb and stories like this reinforce me belief that you can be nice without opening your wallet.

Danielle
Danielle
5 years ago

What do you suggest someone do for school fundraisers? I don’t have kids, but live in a family neighborhood and it seems like every week a different kid is asking for money for something!

Mr. Frugalwoods
Mr. Frugalwoods
5 years ago
Reply to  Danielle

I’ve seen a couple of good strategies: 1) Make a budget, stick to it, and explain it clearly to folks who come to you after the budget it exhausted. 2) Don’t buy the crap the kids are peddling, but instead offer to grossly overpay them to rake your leaves or shovel your driveway. At least you’ll be getting something of value back, if it’s not really a good deal. I mean, how much wrapping paper does one house need! 🙂 3) Randomly (coin flip before you open the door) decide whether to buy. This way you don’t become the sucker… Read more »

Danielle
Danielle
5 years ago

I really like #2 – thanks for the suggestions! I guess I struggle with when they’re raising money for something, but not selling something. If they’re selling, I only buy the thing if it’s something I need/want or will use. It seems that more often they’re raising money for the arts, and I’m not quite sure what to do about that, beyond setting a budget for those things (and determining which of them are important for me to support).

Janette
Janette
5 years ago
Reply to  Danielle

I have stopped purchasing anything at all. Instead I hand them a $5 bill and tell them to apply it to someone else’ order or “it is a donation”. I help the cause without the $30 can of popcorn (of which the fundraiser gives $5 back).

Amanda
Amanda
5 years ago
Reply to  Danielle

I say no unless its something I’ll use. I don’t like subs and sandwiches, so I don’t buy them. But I love coffee and sweets so when those fundraisers come around I buy I alot, because it won’t go to waste. Perhaps give the neighborhood kids the “Box tops for school”.

Carla
Carla
5 years ago
Reply to  Danielle

Interestingly enough, I have no problem saying no. I really dislike being “pushed” into purchasing things I don’t want or need. Since I do give to charity with both money and a lot of time, I don’t feel guilty.

Jenna
Jenna
5 years ago
Reply to  Danielle

I like Mr. Frugalwood’s #2 suggestion about not buying the crap they are peddling, but do not like the idea of overpaying kids to do something. Let the market forces ride – if you like what they are selling and it’s a fair price, buy it; if not don’t buy it. I think it’s important for children to learn that they may hear “no” and it’s ok, go on to the next door when it comes to sales. It teaches you a lot. Give money to the charities to support a good cause, not buying junk because the neighbor asked… Read more »

Mr. Frugalwoods
Mr. Frugalwoods
5 years ago

Clear expectations can really help in a lot of these scenarios. I never lend tools without putting my initials on them. A simple sharpie does the trick. Not so much to prevent someone from claiming it belongs to them (heck of a story, I’m not sure i would be so kind!!) but more to gently remind the person that they should return it immediately after use. I used to “lose” tools all the time. Now it’s a rare event AND I feel more comfortable lending tools out. Win/win for everyone. But saying No is an important skill to have. Saying… Read more »

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

I second this idea! My mom does this with her baking pans when she’s preparing for a bake sale or taking someone food. She also labels her tools when she’s taking a class (painting, sewing, etc.) We also used brightly coloured nail polish on our camp plates and utensils. (For girl guide and scout camp). It doesn’t wear off with washing or use, and who has nail polish remover when they’re camping? My dad also had an engraving machine, and kept track of serial numbers on things. (A habit he picked up from work because he tracked what computer equipment… Read more »

Tina in NJ
Tina in NJ
5 years ago

Good points and an elegant solution to “lost” tools. My hubby labeled his tool with duct tape.

Beth
Beth
5 years ago
Reply to  Tina in NJ

Oh, I forgot about that one! I did that with my tools when I was in university (hands-on courses). When everyone has the same hammer, it’s easy to accidentally pick up someone else’s if it isn’t labelled.

Caron
Caron
5 years ago

I use a similar system for when I lend books to others. On the inside cover, I put one of those pre-printed address labels, so that it is a “gentle reminder” of who the book belongs to and it gives me a fighting chance of getting it back even when I have forgotten that I lent it out!

RNR
RNR
5 years ago

I have a simpler method when it comes to loaning tools. I don’t. My father and brother were professional mechanics. I know the value of the right tool, in the right place, at the right time. There is only one other person I would loan my tools to, and he is like a brother. And when I loan the tool, we are usually working together. So getting it back is not an issue. As to the generator story … got a receipt? The owner’s manual with Serial Number? I would take them to the acquaintance with a smile. As to… Read more »

Alice
Alice
5 years ago
Reply to  RNR

@RNR
If I were in that situation and had the owner’s manual and serial number I would consider just taking it to the person who thinks they own it and make a gift of it to them. There is no better way to teach someone a lesson than to be bigger than they are.

Can you imagine how that would make the other person feel? I think they might return the generator with a deep apology and try to make amends.

RNR
RNR
5 years ago
Reply to  Alice

Excellent point, Alice.
I would really, really, really make sure the “lendor” at least saw it, and if refused to come along to make things right, would suffer some serious consequences.

Avoidance is one thing.

Being someone’s doormat is another.

Although, by the sounds of things, there is no receipt, no owner’s manual.

Ray
Ray
5 years ago

Someone thought a ‘borrowed’ $500+ generator was his… Oh please.
Inform the thief that you will
1) Call the police.
2 ) file a claim in small claims court.

P.s. Shame on you.

Scooze
Scooze
5 years ago
Reply to  Ray

Seriously, the guy you lent it to just said “tough luck, don’t have it”. And you let him get away with that?

It’s not your job to find out where the generator went. It’s your job to tell your neighbor that you need your generator back. He acknowledges that he borrowed it, so it’s up to him to figure out how to get it back or replace it. End of story.

getagrip
getagrip
5 years ago
Reply to  Ray

I think people who are always nice want to be perceived that way and really either are afraid of conflict or overly concerned about others perceiving them in a positive light. On the other hand I think most people will always get burned to some extant. We are always susceptable to try helping family or friends who then end up disappointing us. We are very likely to let our egos and wants sway us to less than ideal financial decisions. The biggest issue though, is what do you learn from each occasion? Some people get burned and never go back.… Read more »

Laura
Laura
5 years ago
Reply to  getagrip

getagrip, you nailed it. This is exactly the issue.

And I’m with others who suggested putting your name on every item that might be loaned out.

Carole
Carole
5 years ago

I can’t help but wonder what kind of mind tricks the person is playing on himself to believe that your generator is his. I know these things happen, but don’t understand it. I would not let someone else have the run of my house and property when I’m away. Tactfully get your key back from your friend and find a new person to look after things when away.

RNR
RNR
5 years ago
Reply to  Carole

Don’t get the key back.
CHANGE THE LOCKS.

R Gearhardt
R Gearhardt
5 years ago

1. ““Your generator?” said The Borrower, “Yeah, when you were out of the country last year, I let somebody borrow it. I’ll give him a call.”” This guy and you need to have a talk. Either he’s getting you back the 700 or he’s having a convo with the guy who has your generator. He’s also not to lend your stuff to other people. “You don’t get to lend my stuff to other people. Your borrowing privledges have been suspended. You screwed up.” Secondly do you think this guy does not know that the magical generator fairy did not just… Read more »

Sara
Sara
5 years ago

Do you still have the manual? Warranty paperwork? Receipt?
Anything that proves it’s yours?
I can’t get over the friend who loaned it out won’t back you up and remind them of the time they had haul it over there. It was only last year, that’s a short time to forget when and where you bought something that large.

Susan
Susan
5 years ago
Reply to  Sara

This is what I was thinking. For our generator, we have the receipt (with the serial number indicated on it) and the manual. Does this guy have this? Of course it will be an uncomfortable conversation to have, but I’d be willing to have a really uncomfortable conversation to get my generator back. 🙂

It’s possible the guy really thinks it’s his, but when confronted with this paperwork, he really has no option.

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

Regarding the generator — get out your receipt, proof of ownership, warranty information (whatever has the serial number on it) and show it to the guy who has your generator to clear up this “misunderstanding”. Take the guy who lent our your generator with you too. He took an item without your permission — he’s the one culpable of theft. IMHO, there’s a difference between being a contributing member of your community and being a pushover. Lending out stuff to people is nice, but in the future maybe getting a receipt or an IOU might help protect your property. Keep… Read more »

Lisa Aberle
Lisa Aberle
5 years ago

The generator story feels more complicated to me than when I reread the original article. A little more of the back story: When my husband was in a high school small engine repair class, someone gave him the generator for free. It wasn’t working, but my husband fixed it as part of a project. So we didn’t pay for it (so we don’t have any paperwork), but a replacement would cost around $700…unless someone gives us another one. Anyone? The lender of our stuff is a very close family member – I think that complicates things. And it’s a conflict-avoidant… Read more »

Jessie
Jessie
5 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Is it possible that the gentleman with the generator, who is older by my math, was the one that gave the generator to your husband years ago to fix in school. Just a long shot. Or possibly had a similar one in the past and has forgotten what happened to it? Having older people in my circle helps me to understand how this is possible. Be Kind always, but mark your tools from now on.

Cherie
Cherie
5 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

I understood on my original read that this was complicated as a family issue. I understand that it is clearly your choice to preserve a relationship and lose the generator. However, I think it’s clear that you need to have a conversation with the conflict-avoiding family member. ‘Watching your home’ is not ‘lending out your belongings without telling you.’ This is not hostility – it’s truly stupidity on their part for just giving away your things and your part for allowing it. Change the lock on the shed if need be, and don’t give out a copy. Go reclaim your… Read more »

Barb@livingrichlyinretirement
5 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

Family member or no, you need to make sure that your items CANNOT be borrowed by friends or family without your permission. That may mean a shed and a good lock-do it now. I know no one who would borrow my items without asking and I share a large house with a family member which is rented from another family member-who would never enter or come without calling except in the most dire emergency. Nice is a state of politeness. It’s nice to smile and say hello as you walk down the street or are talking to a sales person.… Read more »

Sarah
Sarah
5 years ago
Reply to  Lisa Aberle

I think you’re right, this could be a symptom of dementia. Usually a personality change or strange behavior are the first signs. It is kind of you to handle the situation with delicacy. Having seen a family member succumb to dementia, I wish now I had been more forgiving of strange behaviors and sought help for them sooner.

CCH
CCH
5 years ago

Wow this is a timely post for me! I empathize with your situation, and understand your dilemma. I know you want your generator back, but you also value the friendship you have with the guy that borrowed it and subsequently lent it while you were gone. Is the friendship worth more than $700 to you? You’re not going to take him to court over something this petty (although Judge Judy makes millions off of situations like these) because you don’t want him to resent you and ruin the relationship, but you should sit down and have a talk with the… Read more »

R Gearhardt
R Gearhardt
5 years ago

How Borrower guy handles this is going to be really key. It’s going to taint the friendship either way unless you are really able to be compassionate and all that stuff I have not yet mastered. “That’s the fool who cost me $700 dollars.” Would be going through my head each time I saw them. I spend a lot of time teaching my patients how to limit set. Investing in a friendship is a two way street. It sounds very one sided. You have stuff, borrower borrows stuff. “Bonasera, Bonasera. What have I ever done to make you treat me… Read more »

Amy B
Amy B
5 years ago

I would put the pressure on “The Borrower”, not the supposed current holder. He admitted he went on to your property and took your possession. Makes me mad!

Carole
Carole
5 years ago

My mother always said “neither a borrower nor a lender be”. Following that philosophy would save a lot of grief. Of course the writer didn’t loan it, someone else did. Family relationships can get so sticky.
As far as selling parties go, I always bought the cheapest thing I could use. Sometimes the social aspects of these parties are worth spending a little money.

JoeM
JoeM
5 years ago

Nice is fine, stupid (or let’s be nicer – gullible) isn’t.

This situation you weren’t being nice.

sarah
sarah
5 years ago

I don’t think that letting people steal from you is “nice.” You need to take this up with the guy who originally borrowed it. Either he gets it back for you, or he replaces it. You don’t loan out stuff that isn’t yours. In answer to the larger question, I think that people who are ungenerous and cutthroat probably do come out ahead financially, and that’s one of the problems with our world. A lot (not all) of the people running the show are just plain unscrupulous. But in general I think one can be kind, generous, and respectful and… Read more »

Paul
Paul
5 years ago

It was at least 20 years ago when my mother asked for money to help her pay for my younger sister’s wedding. I can’t remember the amount, but it was somewhere in the neighborhood of $3-5,000. Mom used the word “borrow”, but I knew I’d never see that money again. She was horrible with finances. When she died she had nothing. I later found out she also “borrowed” money from one of my older sisters to help pay for that wedding. Ironically, my younger sister whose wedding it was, is now divorced.

Ely
Ely
5 years ago

Ugh I hate lending things and my husband has no problem with it. We lent some costumes of mine to his theater group, but being disorganized they lost a few small items. My husband could not fathom why I was upset. Just lately he lent one of my favorite dvds to a friend, without asking me. I haven’t said anything, but if that dvd doesn’t come back he’s replacing it for me (approx $50), and either way he’s not lending my stuff anymore.

E.B.
E.B.
5 years ago
Reply to  Ely

I dislike lending things too. A friend of mine borrowed a CD from me about six months ago. When I’m in his car I see the CD and ask if he’s done with it and he says no. He likes the artist more than me so I’m inclined to just let him keep it, but I think maybe that’s what he’s hoping I’ll do, and I don’t want to give in or he might pull the same stunt again. Thankfully, he lent me all of his Nintendo Wii games last winter when my kids were getting cabin fever, and the… Read more »

Mike
Mike
5 years ago
Reply to  E.B.

Its the 21st century, tell him to burn it digitally to his computer or itunes or make a copy of it for 30 cents and stick on another cd, make a copy for him.

Beth
Beth
5 years ago
Reply to  E.B.

Is it possible he’s pulling the same stunt on you — not giving you back your CD until you give him back the games you borrowed more than six months ago?

I might be missing something, but you have far more of his property than he does of yours, and you’ve had it longer.

Mike
Mike
5 years ago

Uhhhhhh–

Given the purpose of a generator, to be available for an emergency that you won’t know exactly when it will happen, if I ever bought one, it would never be allowed to leave my house unless I was with it, because it wouldn’t be serving its purpose as a generator.

-Besides, who is this guy that frequently borrows stuff, the first person, it didn’t say you lent it to him, it sounds like he borrowed it without asking, if so, he would be cut off from then on.

El Nerdo
El Nerdo
5 years ago

It’s not about nice/not nice, it’s about knowing how to keep healthy boundaries.

Does that mean sometimes you’ll have to raise your voice or act hostile in order to protect yourself and yours? Hell yes.

Recommended reading: Bertolt Brecht’s “The Good Soul of Szechuan”

Beard Better
Beard Better
5 years ago

There is a huge difference between being nice and letting yourself be taken advantage of, so much so that the story relayed in the article can be considered totally irrelevant. A more appropriate question for that story would be: do people who let others steal from them without consequence finish last financially? To that, I give a resounding answer of “Absolutely!” It is an unfortunate situation, but as JD first wrote several years ago “Nobody cares more about your money than you do”. You can demand your property back from the third party, demand payment for the lost property from… Read more »

R Gearhardt
R Gearhardt
5 years ago

There is a difference between soaking 20 dollars on a CD and 700 dollars on a generator.

700 dollars is real multiple week takehome pay for some people. That’s about what I took home every two weeks in payroll when I was driving a van.

If you are struggling with this that much then also you never want to become landlords or work in Psych.

Sam
Sam
5 years ago

I have given a printer to one of my closed friend who kept it for 3-4 months. When I asked him for return, he told me that it is non working due to some power fluctuation at his place. Even though he is a close friend of mine, I asked him to get it repaired and then return. And guess what…. he did. (I am glad) So to maintain a relationship, it has to be a two way approach. If it is one way then the other person is just capitalising on the relationship. And earlier you realize this, the… Read more »

Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
Emily @ Simple Cheap Mom
5 years ago

We’ve definitely been nice and taken the hit. It’s something I’ve been working on and I think focusing on kind might help, thanks!

Janette
Janette
5 years ago

I think you and your husband made the best call possible. What I am hearing is the borrower is probably a parent and the second borrower is “Uncle Joe”. Both are on the edge of elderly. You live in their neighborhood? Uncle Joe is probably mistaken, but there is nothing you can do to change that. Possibly he was the one who gave it to the school- being nice- and your husband fixed it? He might even have the paperwork for the machine and forgot that he gave it to the school- thinking instead that your first borrower borrowed it… Read more »

Grace @ Investment Total
Grace @ Investment Total
5 years ago

The best way to combat this is to manage money. It is good to be generous, however you must balance and manage your finances. Being nice won’t guarantee you to succeed financially, but the “law of reciprocal karma” could help you when the time comes that you needed the money most. Is it better to give or to receive? They are both important in terms of money.

superbien
superbien
5 years ago

Yikes, there’s a story! It’s unfortunate when friends take advantage financially – I have a friend who is on her way to being a “friend” over money. Sigh. I used to feel guilted into buying into those little charity fundraisers – the $1 for abandoned dogs at the pet store, the $3 for starving kids at the grocery store – or not want the cashier to think I was cheap or heartless. And then one day I realized that I vet my real charities carefully (overhead %age, trustworthiness) but have no idea about random-charity-at-the-till. And I have an annual charity… Read more »

Another Beth
Another Beth
5 years ago
Reply to  superbien

Ugh, I hate those charities at the till, too. Especially if the clerk says something like “Don’t you care about blind cats/the homeless/cancer patients?” Yes, I care, but like you I no longer wish to hand over money to a random organization just so someone thinks I’m “nice.” My mother is someone who will do just about anything so people think she’s “nice,” much to the detriment of her finances, her health and even her personal life. She has given up a rare evening at home so she could help someone out – because otherwise, people won’t think she’s “nice.”… Read more »

Tricia
Tricia
5 years ago

A similar situation happened to us. Good friends had a flooded basement and put out an SOS call for dehumidifiers. We had just purchased a BRAND NOW one and decided to be nice. Fast forward a few weeks when the crisis was over. We went to pick up our dehumidfier and it was gone. Our friend realized that another friend of his had come for pick up first on his (very old junky) loner and had taken ours instead. Honest mistake? Probably not, but we let it go. It still irritates me. In our case, I think our friends would… Read more »

Beth
Beth
5 years ago

The more i think about this, the more I think Lisa was right in some ways. It’s just a piece of stuff — is that more important than relationships? Sometimes you learn an expensive lesson about what not to do. (Like put your name on something — yes, it’s happened to me too!)

I think the situation becomes even trickier with estates. We’ve heard some horror stories about families fighting over who gets what. I think people are the real legacy.

getagrip
getagrip
5 years ago
Reply to  Beth

Estates are a whole other story where often the dieing family member is the linch pin keeping a tight lid on the emotional pressure cooker and once they’re gone the lid blows off and years upon years of pent up emotions spew out in irrational justifications and requests. I’ve seen it a few times and the issues have nothing to do with money and are about past hurts, bruised egos, and altered perceptions that end up being played out in “I should get the silverware” or “I deserve the heirloom necklace”.

FindX
FindX
5 years ago

I commented yesterday, but I guess my comment didn’t pass moderation. I wonder why? I’ll try again and say what I said yesterday. You chose to right off the generator as a loss a year ago and went through a phase where you were upset. I wonder why you didn’t at that point start a generator savings fund. It would have only been about $60 a month for a year. Then you wouldn’t have to be upset about it all over again. Well, maybe if I were in your shoes I would still be upset. But my point is you… Read more »

Marie
Marie
5 years ago

We have a household policy of not contributing to any type of fundraisers, scouting, et cetera. There was a time when there were two substitute teachers in our family at once, working at a total of nine school districts between us. Think of all the clubs/activities/societies that fund raise, then multiply the begging by nine. We were going broke two dollars at a time. When we finally started to keep track of the outflow, we nearly choked at how much money it was: more than fifty dollars a week at some points. Now we refuse all of them. It’s the… Read more »

Eddy Ferreira
Eddy Ferreira
5 years ago

Hi Lisa,

thanks for sharing, your story truly helped me see things more clearly. It’s a good feeling knowing ‘you are not alone’ and things like this happens to others too.
At least now I can put a label on it, I shall become a recovering nice person immediately.
Best of luck for the future!

Brenda G
Brenda G
5 years ago

2 years ago I loaned a friend a large amount of money to clear her debt. We asked a reputable businessman to witness our written agreement. Everything looked and felt great at the time, a ‘nice’ feeling knowing you have helped someone. There have been all kinds of issues along the way, missed payments, job loss, reduced payment amounts, more debt created in her life which she promised would never happen again. My decision to be nice has caused me so much stress and sickness over time, BUT….. I decided to change the way I look at the situation. Instead… Read more »

Steven Gressley
Steven Gressley
5 years ago

I love this post! Being generous is a great way to live, but it is important to be careful about giving so much you cannot take care of yourself or your family.

I have always believed we are to give to those in need, family first, and then to charities. However, you can give to a charity that helps others, of course.

B Warned
B Warned
5 years ago

We once loaned camping equipment, got back junk. Now we do not Loan. In fact we don’t let others know what we have or where we keep it. Letting someone have access to your stuff in storage is like giving them signed checks, eventually it will cost you. Now days we help people who need it, downed tree – I’ll be right over with the chainsaw, need a lift to the airport – when do I pick you up? Car need fixin – I bring my tools. Borrow something – We don’t loan anything. If we have it and don’t… Read more »

Rich Harris
Rich Harris
5 years ago

With the follow ups, it has become a good story illustrating how tangled the web of ownership can be in friend/family relationships. I would offer one suggestion that I didn’t see offered regarding the older borrower who now thinks it’s his. Go to his family members, explain the situation, and then give a written receipt, and say “I have decided it’s better to just let X keep my generator for now, but without being morbid, I want it understood by the younger folks. That is my generator that I am loaning HIM. When the time comes, I want it back… Read more »

Lina
Lina
5 years ago

I used to be that person who said yes to the Tupperware parties, Wild Tree, candle, 31, and Mary Kay parties. I didn’t want to disappoint my friend so I would go and OF COURSE buy something I didn’t need. Now, I just say no. Since most of these invites come via FB, I just hit the “not going” button and be done with it – no explanation needed. As I’ve become older, I just flat out tell people we don’t have the funds to do things. – Recently told friends I would rather have them come over for a… Read more »

Alex
Alex
5 years ago

Kind or nice or whatever you want to call it, bottom line is you were ripped off. I’d have gathered hubby, the moron who loaned out my property without permission and the police if needed and with my generator sales receipt in hand, I’d have gone to confront Mr. “It’s my generator” I may have come home with a friend or two less but by golly I’d gotten my property back!

Mustard Seed Money
Mustard Seed Money
3 years ago

I definitely don’t let friends borrow money. I figure once it’s gone that I won’t ever get it back. In terms of letting friends borrow things. I always put my name on the item somewhere in nail polish, usually somewhere that’s easy to find. This ensures that it’s incredibly difficult to remove and won’t be mistaken for someone else’s stuff.

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