Budget, Giving, Gratitude

A beautiful thought

Ralph Marston wrote, “Every time you interact with someone else, you have the opportunity to give that person some kind of value. Whether it is a thing, or a thought, a gesture or a kind word, the most powerful gifts are those that come straight from the heart.”

Isn’t that a beautiful thought?

And it’s true.

Scientific research provides compelling data to support the notion that giving one’s time, talents and treasures is a powerful pathway to finding purpose, transcending difficulties, and finding fulfillment and meaning in life. Being in a position where we can give monetarily to someone without having to think about it, is an amazing gift.

Right now, you may not be in the position to give very much monetarily and that is ok.  But something I do want to say, is that you should be giving something – even if it’s just 5 or 10% of your income to a charity, to your church or some organization that you hold near and dear.  And the reason why I say this is that giving has the power to transform, not just the person you are giving to, but it has the power to transform you!  Giving can actually make you a better person.  Don’t believe me?  It’s in the research.

The Paradox of Generosity, a book by sociologists Christian Smith and Hilary Davidson break down a study of how giving affected 2000 people over a 5 year time period.  The study found that Americans who volunteer their time are happier than those who don’t;  that those that give have lower depression rates, are more likely to be in better health, and have healthier relationships.  In many instances, just the very thought of being generous affects your overall attitude which affects your overall happiness, according to an article in Time Magazine.  Yet, according to a Science of Generosity survey only 3% of American adults give away 10% of their income.  

When you create your budget, do you put 10% of your income toward giving?

According to Dave Ramsey and Rachel Cruze giving should be the first line item on your budget – even before you pay yourself.  In fact, they say you should have it as the first line item in your budget even if you are in debt.  That probably makes little to no sense to someone who is in serious debt or having trouble meeting their obligations but it is part of their program Financial Peace University and is one of their principal foundations when setting up a workable budget.

Do you give?  Do you take 10% of your income every pay period and give it to charity or to your church or to an organization of your choosing?  If not, I am going to challenge you to consider doing this with your next pay check.  If 10% makes you nervous, maybe try a smaller amount – 3% or 5% at first and then work your way up to 10%.  If you do give I’d love to hear how giving has brought happiness to your life.