Why do you want to be rich?

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 it gives me a heart check. It helps me understand my motives for doing what I'm doing.

You see, my goals are to become completely debt-free. I'm getting closer and closer to that goal. Within the last few months, I downsized my house, doubled my income, and was able to pay off all of my debts except for the mortgage. So now all I have left is about $100,000 to pay off before I am completely debt-free.

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More about...Giving

Why Charitable Giving is Even More Important During an Economic Downturn

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 aside money to weather what may be rough months ahead.

For some, charitable giving might seem like the easiest (and first) expense to eliminate.  But giving is even more important this year, and I believe you should consider increasing your efforts now instead of cutting back. You don't need to be wealthy to make a big difference in the life of someone who lives in poverty.

People on the "edges" are impacted more
People who are already struggling are impacted more by rising costs or the loss of income.  You might feel like you're barely making ends meet, but chances are that if you're reading this, you are not sleeping in the back of a van with your kids (like a family I saw here in Seattle last week), or raising children in a part of the world where clean water and electricity are a distant dream and low-wage work represents your only opportunity to put food on the table. Continue reading...

More about...Budgeting, Giving

A DIY budget Christmas: 99 great gifts to start right now

Thoughtful gift-giving takes time, especially if you are going to make the gift yourself. So here is a list for you, in plenty of time, so you can get started planning budget Christmas gifts this year.

Food Gifts with Wow-Factor

For the most part, food gifts can be made individually or in batches if you want to give something small to a large number of people. Obviously, with food items, you should wait until much closer to Christmas to make them, but it's a great idea to start looking for the other items you'll need for these gifts like mason jars, baskets, and ribbon so you can buy them on sale.

Of course, if you want to get some practice in so you can perfect your gifts, it's much better to start now anyway! Many of these gifts are great for other occasions too, by the way. Recipes for most of the food presents can be found on Pinterest and elsewhere, but here are some ideas to get your taste buds thinking.

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When Is It Okay to Give?

This is a guest post from my friend Kris, an American writer living in India. She and her husband recently arrived in New Delhi to participate in an educational exchange program. The juxtaposition of cultures has been interesting for Kris and Jeff: every day, their hosts bring ample meals to their rooms, but just a few blocks a way, people go hungry. Kris comments, "We're from a small, rural community in the United States. Poverty is a real concern there, and we feel its impact every day. But it looks very different in this urban setting. Seeing so many street-dwellers on a daily basis is an intense experience for us."

At the head of our road is a major intersection leading toward one of Delhi's commercial hubs. Traveling in our direction takes you to cultural centers and schools, while to the north is an international five-star hotel and to the south a number of large, colonial-style homes.

So a lot of traffic converges here, at the stoplights, in the dedicated turn lanes, and so on. Indian and international tourists also pass by on foot, coming and going between the hotel, metro, banks, restaurants, and shops.

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