This time of year, we think a lot about New Year's resolutions, and what we can do to improve ourselves — and our lives. While these resolutions can be helpful in improving your financial situation and your lifestyle, you might be surprised at what you can accomplish in your own life if your resolutions focus on someone else.
Giving can be a great way to help others, while at the same time improving your outlook on life. As you contemplate the way you want your life to look over the course of the next year, consider making a resolution to give more:
The easiest way to give more is to donate money to a cause or a charitable organization. Look around your community and see if you can find worthy recipient of your money. In some cases, it might be as simple as increasing your regular donation to your religious congregation, or upping your donations to the local food bank. In any cases, being generous with your money helps your own finances in a couple of ways:
- Increased contentment: One of the interesting effects of giving money away to good causes, or even to help loved ones, is that you tend to look at what you have in a new light. When you help the less fortunate, you are reminded of what you already have — and it can help you feel more contentment with your situation. The more content you are with what you already have, the less you feel the “need” to buy more stuff to augment your situation.
- Better money management: A regular policy of giving forces you to better manage your money. If charitable giving is a financial priority, then you have to properly manage your finances so that you can meet your regular obligations while meeting your goal of giving.
And, even though many people don't give with the tax deduction in mind, it's still a consideration. You can reduce your tax liability through charitable giving.
You don't always have to give money, though. Some of us just don't have the resources we'd like to write big checks to our favorite charities. Instead, you can consider giving some of your stuff away. Look for friends and family who might need the stuff, or give it to charity. Chances are that you have a few things, in good shape, just sitting around, not fulfilling any purpose. Give it away, and someone else could get good use out of it, and, on top of it, if you get a receipt from a charity, it can also count as a tax deduction.
Many charities just need your help. Make a resolution to volunteer more often. Go once a month, or every two months, or whatever you have time for. Helping others can provide you with a healthy mental state, and it can also give you something worthwhile to do. Your time is a valuable commodity, true, but you might find that you are making a good investment by volunteering your time, expertise or talents to those who could benefit.
What are your New Year's resolutions? Are you planning to give more in the coming year?