When you’re on a tight budget, it’s easy to rule your spending with an iron fist- a clenched tight, iron fist. It seems counterintuitive to give back when you’re broke, but if I had one piece of advice for finding more abundance in your life, it is to give often and give when it is the most inconvenient.
We live in an age of social media showoffiness (that’s a word now, feel free to use it). I’m not sure if you feel the pull like I do- but often I scrolled through Facebook feeds of people who seemingly lead perfect lives, and thumbed through Instagram images of shiny, happy perfection. The average household is $7,800 in debt– so one must pause when they see Christmas trees brimming with gifts underneath and people who seemingly have it all.
Typically though, what we don’t see as much and what we don’t even get a chance to double tap on social media, is philanthropy during the holidays and new year.
For years, when I was living on $800 a month and really feeling poor (especially compared to some of my other college students who were living off hefty student loans or were funding their habits with credit cards, something I couldn’t do) I learned that no amount of shopping could make that feeling go away. The odd thing about desire- the desire to have more stuff, more money, more power, it’s a bottomless pit. The more you throw into it, the well of wants never really fills up. It just makes the echoes of your effort feel all the more fruitless. You can pursue all kinds of “things” to fill up the void you feel- new clothes, new toys, fancy dinners and it never lasts.
What does last though, is taking pause to give back. To unclench a fist and allow it to share what it’s holding. You will find more abundance when you take time to give back and even if you only have a small slice of the pie, it tastes better when shared with someone else.
Each holiday season, I participate in toy drives. There were times I couldn’t even afford to give much more than a $10 teddy bear, but being able to give something, anything, was like a deep breath of fresh air during a holiday season that sometimes felt stiflingly selfish.
I go out and buy many of my toys on clearance the day after Christmas, and I will look for deals on toys using apps throughout the year- so I often get presents for kids in need at 40-70% off. I have a blast looking for toys and scoring a good deal on them- and at the start of the holiday season, I am thrilled to pull out a stash of toys along with my Christmas decorations to give back to kids. It is really the best present haul I have put together each year!
In 2015, you know you should save more money and pay down debts and my biggest piece of advice, if you’ve tried and failed many times, is to take time to give. Donate your time, your blood, your old clothes. Volunteer your heart and you’ll find that the bottomless pit of “wants,” fills up and you find you need less simply because you’re giving more and the impulse to shop subsides.
This year, I hope you’ll join me in giving more, saving more all throughout the year. It’s going to be one of the most fulfilling resolutions you’ll work on, I promise!
At SunTrust Bank their purpose is lighting the way to financial well being. They help you get organized, make a plan, and stay on track so you can get and stay in control of your finances. When you are confident about your money, you can save for your goals and splurge knowingly on what matters most to you.
What is your money personality? Find out here. To find advice, tips, tools and motivation to start your new year click here. This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of SunTrust. The opinions and text are all mine.