Every time I look at Facebook there's a new person plopping ice water onto their thick skulls. That wasn't meant to sound aggressive. It's just incredibly difficult for me to jump onto social media trends, you know, because I'm so punk rock. Somehow though even with my Scrooge-like postings about this challenge I was still called out by TMS' Jeremy Allen to participate. From what I understand, either you do the challenge or you donate to the ALS Association (most likely you do both). I had a lot of conflicting feelings about it. On the one hand, it's great to create this kind of awareness for any worthwhile cause - especially the ALS Association who are doing such incredible work for ALS. Yet, is this really something that Keri and I should be spending our money on?
One of the things we talked about when creating our budget was how much we should be saving to give to charities or causes we support. These opportunities come up a lot more often than you would think. There's a friend doing a charity run, there are kids selling raffle tickets for their soccer team, there's Indiegogo campaigns and Kickstarters and Crowdrise funds and so many other things that pop up throughout the year. Without noticing you can easily spend hundreds of dollars on supporting these causes. Which, if you have the funds to do so, isn't a bad thing at all. The way I see it, if you have the means to help then help.
Sadly, we can't give all of our money to help others because we too have to live life. You have to pick and choose, and you have to make sure to set aside some cash for these situations if it is something you feel like you need to do. One thing you should always do though is be smart with your charity giving, do research to make sure you're donating to a worthwhile cause. For example, I would never give money to the Susan G. Komen foundation, not because I don't think cancer is worth the time and money (research totally is) but honestly they don't need our help, and also because I think they're kind of a horrible foundation. Pink ribboned KFC buckets, come on guys...
There are ways to give back without breaking the bank. Throughout my entire professional career I have only worked for nonprofits and I can tell you from experience that sometimes what these organizations need more than your money is your time. By volunteering your time you are helping these organizations save money that can be reallocated to actually helping rather than paying salaries. You're also helping them build a team of dedicated people willing to help fight for their cause.
If you have some dope professional skills you can sign up for Catch A Fire, a service that matches your skills with a nonprofit in need of those services. Another thing to do is think about where you do your shopping. Thrift shop at Goodwill and Salvation Army, use Amazon Smile, donate yer blood dude! You're not going to use it all!
We find that as selfish as we are being right now and scrooging our money for ourselves, there are ways to help that won't jeopardize what we are working toward. We choose to look at it this way: once we are completely debt-free we'll have that much more income to donate to these charities, that's pretty rad right?