Trim the Fat Tuesday: The Charitable Giving

As I mentioned before, moving into the second quarter of the year means having to make some more difficult choices, now that most of the easy cuts to the budget have already been made. I don't really love doing this, but I've decided to

Limit our charitable donations to one gift per month.

For us, this means cutting our budget from $75 per month to $50 per month, since $50 is the size of an individual donation for us. The $75 line item in our budget is based on past spending in this category (by the way, that was super easy to figure out because we use a software program to track our bank accounts).

Our (former) pattern of giving was to just write a check for $50 whenever our favorite charity asked, as long as we had a nice cushion going in the checking account when we received the mailing. We would also write a check on the spot for charities our friends were raising for (think of walkathons and stuff like that). We didn't really keep track of the budget.

Well, now that I'm paying such close attention to our budget, it seems like an easy step to more closely monitor our donations as well. It makes good sense to just decree that we'll write one $50 check per month to a charity — and that will be easy to keep track of.

Also, locking down the cash contributions doesn't mean we can't donate stuff (we typically give a lot of clothing to the Salvation Army as the kids outgrow things, for example) or time (building scenery for the kids' plays and stuff like that). So hopefully we aren't turning into terrible misers so much as clear-eyed budget-watchers.

Savings per month: $25


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