5 Things I Kinda Feel Bad About

Leukemia & Lymphoma nickel donation
I started this post in November of 2009, but for whatever reason it seemed I didn’t want to finish it (not one of the things I feel bad about, btw ;)).  I think it had to do with not thinking these were all that exciting, mixed with really feeling guilty. And probably more so on the latter. (Who likes admitting to thousands of people they aren’t perfect?)

Lately though, I’ve been having some flashbacks and figured it was about time to bare my soul. Not that they’re really all that horrible, just pretty annoying to think about. And something tells me I’m not the only one who does these ;)

5 Things I feel bad about doing:

  1. Never tipping my tattoo artist 10 years ago. To this day I cringe at the very thought of this – I’m a huge believer in tipping!  Always at least 20%, and usually even more for extreme service.  I was just a wee lad trying to survive New York City at the time though (off $8 an hour too, if you can believe that) and the thought never even occurred to me.  From what my friends have told me, I’m lucky the artist didn’t mess up on purpose! (You usually pay and tip first. Although that could be NYC rules, not sure)
  2. Throwing away our tithing envelopes. As a Catholic, we’re supposed to be giving 10% of our income back to the church.  Truth be told I’ve never been able to get on board with this.  I donate a few bucks at every mass, but I have yet to own up and fulfill this tithing requirement.  I think part of me doesn’t understand why we should be doing this in the first place, and the other part of me doesn’t want to do the research and find out ;)  I’m a bad boy, I know.
  3. Keeping all those “free” St. Jude’s stickers. You know, the ones with your address pre-printed on them so you never have to write another return addy again because you have 500+ of them?  That will last you 150 years? Unless you move? And every time you peel one off your heart leaps for joy, yet at the same time saddens you because you never even donated even a dollar? Those ones.   But I swear it’s kind of evil marketing that puts you on the spot ;)  It’s a good thing they’re doing it for a good cause.
  4. Taking all those nickels from The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. My thoughts are pretty much the same as above, only I give them extra points for the personal finance lesson they throw in w/ their request: “You and I both know a single nickel won’t go far in the fight against blood cancers. But even nickels can quickly add up!…” This is true!
  5. Never writing thank you cards this past Christmas & Birthday (they’re back to back) :( My mother would KILL me if she knew this! College aside, I’ve written them every single year of my life. And I really have no excuse for this other than the fact I don’t really like getting them myself (I always get excited someone is writing me a honest to goodness letter, and then get my hopes dashed when it’s just a boring thank you.  I know people are thankful to get it because they told me in person or over the phone already.  And then I feel bad that they had to sit down for an hour or two to pump these all out when they could be using their time elsewhere enjoying themselves.)

I feel bad about a lot of other things too over the years, but these are the ones most tied to money. And here’s what I’ve learned from it all:

  • Tipping: I’m not going to forget this next time!  And there will most certainly be a next time!
  • Tithing: I need to find a way to get better about this. And it starts with researching, even though I don’t want to.
  • Stickers & Nickels: I’m not going to start donating to them, but it has reminded me every time I see these in the mail that I need to donate more.  But I am getting better! I just donate directly to causes and people that affect me more.  And I’ve come to terms with the fact you can’t give your money to every single charity out there, so I stick to the ones closest to me. (Getting on board w/ Kiva will also help with this!)
  • Thank You’s – My guilt is too much, so next time I’m writing them the very next day. I’d write them all up now – 9 months later – if I knew I wouldn’t come across as cRaZy, but I’m pretty sure everyone’s forgotten anyways ;)

How about you all? Do you steal stickers and nickels and not tip your tattoo artists too? Or are you perfect little angels? (Hah!)

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  1. Melissa September 27, 2010 at 8:57 AM

    2011 (for the first time) will be my year for charity. My United Way pledge has been established (taken from my direct deposit) and I’m going to sign up for the EFT at church. While I’m not giving quite 10%, it’ll actually be a consistent amount that can be planned around. Now I just need to work on actually going to the same church every weekend rather than whichever mass fits my schedule (schedule determined by napping and food.)

  2. Kevin @ Thousand-aire.com September 27, 2010 at 9:02 AM

    I agree with Melissa. Once you set up with the church to just pull the money out of your account, you never have to think about it again.

    However, I recently decided to stop donating money to charity for one year, and then double my donations the next year so I have enough to itemize my deductions and get a tax break. It’s sneaky, but I like it. :)

  3. KC September 27, 2010 at 9:18 AM

    I think the point of tithing is to support the institution. There is a cost to maintaining the Church you attend, utilities, up keep, staff, in addition to whatever charitable programs they have. If you use these institutions, or think that they worth maintaining, then you support them, because if someone doesn’t, they won’t exist anymore. I think the 10% guideline is a good one, it allows you to be generous within your means and recognizes that God has provided all that you need, including the ability to be generous. If you don’t give to an organized religion, then I do think you should commit to giving somewhere, to those causes you do believe in. Never be afraid to ask any organization you are considering giving a donation, to show you their operating budget. If they using your money wisely, they won’t have a problem sharing it with you. Seeing how expensive building maintenance and insurance is, what the day to day operations cost, might make you feel more comfortable handing over 10% of your income to them. I think being educated and responsible with our money includes being knowledgeable about the organizations we are donating to. Not only our spending, but our giving, needs to be done responsibly.

  4. Bonnie September 27, 2010 at 9:27 AM

    J$, don’t feel bad about using and keeping all those little address labels from charities! They send them out for that purpose. Even if you don’t send them money, you are still putting their name out there and helping them advertise. Everyone who sees that piece of mail will be a little more familiar with the charity and will be more likely to give money next time they get that little packet in their mailbox!

    About tithing, I think there’s somewhere in the Bible that specifically talks about the whole 10% thing, but I can’t remember where off the top of my head…. But we have our tithe autodrafted from our bank account, so I never think about it until I get my giving statement in the mail, and then my only thought is to feel good about what we’ve been able to give to our church and the community. The autodraft took the pain out of parting with that money and replaced it with a good feeling, so just do it!

    PS, I love this blog and read every single post. Please keep up the good work :)

  5. Karmella September 27, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    I am like 2000% anti-tithing, especially by some kind of auto draft, so nothing further on that for me! :)

    I need to get better on thank yous, and I have some birthday ones that are recent enough I can do them now and be happy – so thank *you* !

  6. Leslie September 27, 2010 at 9:42 AM

    I have no idea what the address labels and nickels are. Charities just send you free address labels in the mail? I am totally lost on the nickels as well.

    I was never taught to write thank you letters and hadn’t even heard of the tradition until college. No one ever hated me for not sending them a thank you letter all those years so I see no reason to start now. However, since gifts are very rare nowadays, I always call the person to say a personalized thank you.

    I feel bad for not tipping my hair stylists enough when I first started paying for my own. This was something that was never discussed and I really had no clue how to address it. Since you give it to the person directly, I never really saw the exchange as a child – not in the way that you see your parents leave a few dollars on the table at a restaurant.

  7. Lulu September 27, 2010 at 9:58 AM

    Oh J you are SO going to burn in the fiery pits of the great down below (and I don’t mean Texas) for not donating to the sticker people!!!!!! LOL. Dude you are making the effort now and don’t they say better late than never?

    I have been bad about writing thank you letters as well because I thought they were a big chore….BUT they can just be a simple Thank you NAME for ACTION on DATE. I appreciate it and wish you well in the future. SIGNATURE.

  8. Dawn September 27, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    J Monee–
    I do believe tithing is important to give back, and especially in the pursuit of wealth. I will go all “new agey” on you here and say that when we put money “out” to the Universe with the thought that there’s more than enough wealth to go around, our generosity comes back to us.

    Having said that, tithing does not have to be to the church, Catholic or otherwise. Find a cause YOU believe in, and donate 10% of your earnings. Do it as automatically as you do savings. My philosophy is I pay myself first, and “the Universe” second. I have a handful of charities I rotate with. (I won’t share, as it doesn’t MATTER which ones they are… but they are as diverse as my interests and belief system).

    There are programs that educate inner-city kids about financial management … I bet you could find a cause like that you could get behind to “tithe.” If I misunderstood and you are already doing this, I commend you. :)

    Also, think about the tax deduction! “Tithing” is just plain smart finance!

    Thank you for sharing this thought provoking post. My list would be completely different, interestingly!

  9. Dawn September 27, 2010 at 10:04 AM

    Ah, just read all the way through to the part about donating to causes YOU believe in. :) Good for you!! :D Sorry for not reading all the way! (Guess I should add “Not reading blog posts all the way through before commenting? to my list of sins?) LOL

  10. Shena September 27, 2010 at 10:28 AM

    A great book for you to read about tithing is called, “The Blessed Life” by Robert Morris. It’s a quick read, really entertaining, and lines up with a lot of things I think you already believe.

  11. Michael Senchuk September 27, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    I’d like to think I’m known as a pretty generous tipper. I’ve had too many friends that were waiters/bartenders/et al to do anything else. That being said, some things aren’t very clear as to whether you should tip or not. I have one tattoo, my wife has two, and, although maybe it’s different where I live, I didn’t even think about tipping. Huh.

    I made a point of contributing a monthly sum to one of my favorite charities about a year and a half ago, and haven’t stopped since (they actually do it through paypal). Very convenient, and even though the monthly amount isn’t huge, by the end of the year I’d like to think I end up being a pretty major contributor.

  12. Brandon September 27, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    @J Shoot me an email and we can take a look at the tithing thing. I’m not Catholic (Church of Christ), but I’m well versed in the Bible enough I can show you where it comes from.

  13. Lynn September 27, 2010 at 11:39 AM

    I was never taught about thank you notes growing up either and find it very hard to do now. The thank-you notes for my wedding took me forever because I tried to make things personal…these days people send preprinted ones that they have made up and don’t even sign them. I’d honestly rather receive nothing.

    As far as the tithing thing goes, I am completely against the autowithdrawl thing. It makes it so impersonal like you are paying a bill. Even as a christian, I don’t believe in tithing in the literal sense (10%). I have serious problems with my pastor giving a sermon telling me I have to give 10% of my gross income to my church when he is making over 125K+benefits. I would rather give money willingly (no matter the amount) than be guilted into doing something. I give some money to my church and numerous charities and causes that mean something to me. Never would I give 10% to one place to encourage large salaries and wasteful spending (sounds a lot like taxes and government – LOL!)

  14. rubyruns September 27, 2010 at 11:45 AM

    Tip before a job is done?? NO way. Maybe you should have afterwards, I’m not sure, I don’t think tipping should be expected other than for those who only make like $2/hr like waiters/waitresses. I don’t even like to put my change in the tip jar at Starbucks until I get my drink. What happens if they take foreverrrr to make my drink (when there is no logical reason for it to take long) r get it wrong? Can I take my tip back??

  15. Dirac September 27, 2010 at 11:46 AM

    One quick note…before choosing your charity, look at charitynavigator.org. No offense, but the United Way is a very bloated organization that really does not deserve money. There are hundreds and hundreds of charities that need money and use it efficiently without being a top heavy organization. I am sorry about this if it seems negative but your money will go a lot further to help in the world if you do some research. Thank you.

  16. Julie F September 27, 2010 at 11:59 AM

    I try to donate a *total* of 10% to all charities combined, and I mix up the players each year. Of course, there are a few standards that always appear on my giving list, but I like to be open to giving as needs arise.

  17. Rob Bennett September 27, 2010 at 12:29 PM

    I have always felt bad that, when the Hey Jude/Revolution single came out, I thought that the Beatles were dumb beyond belief for having put “Hey Jude” on the “A” side. Over the years, I came to see that “Hey Jude” really is the better song. It matters to no one but me but this rash judgment (I felt strong about it at the time) has always bothered me.

    I’ve obviously done lots of worse things. But I have never forgotten this and try to call the experience to mind when I think I am sure that I am right about something.


  18. Rachel211 September 27, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    This is what I found on a quick search – nowhere does it quote God or Jesus saying to give money back. It was basically what I expected – that the church came up with the idea.

    Question: “What does the Bible say about Christian tithing?”

    Answer: Many Christians struggle with the issue of tithing. In some churches tithing is over-emphasized. At the same time, many Christians refuse to submit to the biblical exhortations about making offerings to the Lord. Tithing/giving is intended to be a joy and a blessing. Sadly, that is sometimes not the case in the church today.

    “Tithing is an Old Testament concept. The tithe was a requirement of the law in which all Israelites were to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew to the Tabernacle/Temple (Leviticus 27:30; Numbers 18:26; Deuteronomy 14:24; 2 Chronicles 31:5). In fact, the Old Testament Law required multiple tithes which would have pushed the total to around 23.3 percent, not the 10 percent which is generally considered the tithe amount today. Some understand the Old Testament tithe as a method of taxation to provide for the needs of the priests and Levites in the sacrificial system. The New Testament nowhere commands, or even recommends, that Christians submit to a legalistic tithe system. Paul states that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church (1 Corinthians 16:1-2).

    The New Testament nowhere designates a percentage of income a person should set aside, but only says it is to be “in keeping with income” (1 Corinthians 16:2). Some in the Christian church have taken the 10 percent figure from the Old Testament tithe and applied it as a “recommended minimum” for Christians in their giving. The New Testament talks about the importance and benefits of giving. We are to give as we are able. Sometimes that means giving more than 10 percent; sometimes that may mean giving less. It all depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. Every Christian should diligently pray and seek God’s wisdom in the matter of participating in tithing and/or how much to give (James 1:5). Above all, all tithes and offerings should be given with pure motives and an attitude of worship to God and service to the body of Christ. “Each man should give what he has decided in his heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Corinthians 9:7).”

    Personally, I don’t enjoy being ‘preached’ at for half the sermon about how I am a bad person if I am not giving the church 10% of my income (THAT IS A LOT!! A lot of us don’t even save that much!) so THEY can chose what they do with it. I personally know that the church we attend is extremely republican and I am not, so I don’t even know if I would agree with what they donate to.

    Plus – we have probably 200 members. If every one of those families gave 10% to the church that would be a huge amount. Let’s see – if say there are 100 families giving 10% of, say, $30k = $300,000 per year just in untaxed donations. And our church shows us an operating cost of about $6,000 a month. That would leave $228,000 left over each year for them to decide what to do with all on their own. That is a lot of green that you are ‘obligated’ to fork over that you have no say in where it goes. And its untaxed for them. Just knowing that the Pope is technically one of the richest people in the world – I don’t always trust that my church will do the best work with that money unfortunately.

  19. Maggie September 27, 2010 at 12:45 PM

    I’m in the camp of giving tithing 10% total. What works for us is giving roughly 5% to our parish, some to the diocese, and then some to other charities that we like to support or requests that pop up throughout the year.

    I’m also not a fan of the United Way. I prefer to support pro-life charities with little overhead, like Catholic Charities.

  20. Stella September 27, 2010 at 1:07 PM

    I tip my tattoo artists–although AFTER they’ve performed the service. Pay upfront, tip afterward–although now I wonder if the process would be less painful if I’d have tipped first.

  21. Steve September 27, 2010 at 1:08 PM

    #3 is using psychology as a marketing tool. It has been proven that people are more willing to part with something if you give them a physical gift first, even if it is something of little monetary value like some return-address stickers.

    Having attended a Catholic high school, I cannot fathom tithing. The school provided for all of the wants and needs of the clergy; many of them lived more richly than those who were sending their children to the school. I don’t see how giving them money helps them live in poverty, as they once vowed to do. Then again, I haven’t been to church regularly since I left that school.

  22. Pat @ DNW September 27, 2010 at 1:18 PM

    It seems like tipping has you really down. I’ve faced the opposite problem– tipping too much. There have been times where I simply tipped too much money for service that wasn’t worth it. Do you think it’s possible to tip too much?

  23. Bonnie September 27, 2010 at 1:57 PM

    Wow, I’m amazed at how many people are so against the idea of tithing… If you don’t like the way your church spends money, get involved with your budget committee or find a new church that you do approve of. Of course don’t just give your money blindly! But there are ways to get involved instead of just handing over a check and being done with it. Also, no one is forcing you to give any money at all to your church–obviously that is between you and God :) but churches provide valuable services for both you and your community. Don’t withold funding those programs just because you’re hung up on the idea of this whole 10% thing. There’s my two cents (which is way less than a thithe, of course) :)

  24. jennifer September 27, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    Regarding tithing and donating money, if you can’t give 10% of your income then try to give the give of time. While in college, I helped out as a CCD teacher at my parish since I had a limited income. When there are life events that don’t allow me to donate 10% of my income I donate my time. I enjoy volunteering at my local senior citizen center, at my church, soldier’s angels and the USO. I’ve grown so much by volunteering so I recommend it to everyone. I even met my husband by donating my time!

  25. Rachel211 September 27, 2010 at 2:34 PM

    @Bonnie –

    I do agree that you should give back as much as you comfortably can to who you choose – but I think that most churches are by far the most pushy about it. If the American Cancer Association calls me up or comes to my door and I don’t give them anything – they don’t proceed to tell me that I am a bad person or that I’m going to hell. The sad fact is that if I told a priest/reverend/pastor that I gave all my charity to an organization of my choice – I truly believe that most of them will say, or at least think, that money was obligated to them.

  26. Bonnie September 27, 2010 at 2:49 PM


    I completely agree with you. I don’t like those high pressure sermons either, which is why I found a church that doesn’t give them. I know those churches can be hard to find, and I’m not a Catholic, so I can’t say how I would feel about tithing in those cases. But as a Methodist, I’m asked to just pray about what I can give, which is total goal 10% of my time and/or money, so I do feel like it’s a blessing to be able to prayerfully and budget-responsibly consider what I can give. But any church that tells you you’re going to hell over money has seriously lost their way and needs some good people to get involved to stop that. I do completely agree with you…it’s your money, so if you don’t agree with that person judging you, get the heck out and give your money to someone who appreciates it!! Maybe I’m oversimplifying because I have a really great church, but I looked really long to find it, so I know they exist :)

  27. Jenna September 27, 2010 at 3:36 PM

    I send a payment to St. Jude’s every time I get address stickers. However, I don’t usually send money when I don’t get something in return. That is something I feel guilty about.

  28. Christine September 27, 2010 at 4:11 PM

    Everytime I donate money to a charity…it seems I get a whole slew of other charities asking me for a donation. The charities I have donated to, and just miscellaneous other ones I’ve never even heard of! Thus I get a looottt of address labels!!! Hehe and I do use them…but don’t feel guilty about since I do donate, and then they pass on my name and address! It actually tends to make me not want to donate to those charities that keep sending me mail.

  29. Alice September 27, 2010 at 5:57 PM

    You can call St Jude and other charities and asked to be removed from their list. Its their decision to market heavily which goes against my desire to save the earth’s resources. I donated to them but after being bombarded with mass mailings asked to be removed from their list and now still donate ( I believe in the cause) but now do so in the form of an anonymous money order, not a check.

    As far as tithing, I go to a Catholic church and have never been told I MUST give 10%, its suggested as is stewardship, but everyone doesn’t do it. I do not and have not given ten percent, but give what I can. I believe in the charities the church supports, as well as the school it is associated with. I like the suggestion to get on the church’s budget board. I’ll look into it. I also give the gift of time by volunteering.

    In order to give to charities you believe in, look for ones that have a great operating budget, usually small, local ones like shelters, crisis centers, and food banks, and donate where you believe. Some people also collect food and personal items (shampoo, etc.) and donate that. All those CVS and coupon deals for the needy work.

    Good luck letting go of the guilt,

    A constantly guilty Catholic :-)

  30. J. Money September 28, 2010 at 11:28 PM

    Thanks for all the great info & links guys!!! Really didn’t expect to see so many comments and ideas here. This is so cool, you have no idea :) I’m going to use all this to learn and get a better understanding, so thanks!

    Have a blessed week all, here’s to success!

  31. Derek October 6, 2010 at 2:11 PM

    Hi J. Money,

    Sorry I’m late to this conversation. There are 5 precepts of the Catholic Church (ref. CCC 2042–2043, http://www.vatican.va/archive/catechism/p3s1c3a3.htm#II): 1) You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor. 2) You shall confess your sins at least once a year. 3) You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season. 4) You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church. 5) You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church.

    That last one is explicitly vague (both location- and amount-independent) because some people will be able to provide less than others, some closer and further away. Just letting you know this so you don’t think there’s something wrong if you can’t manage 10%. “Ten percent” tithing is not a Catholic thing, per se.

  32. J. Money October 7, 2010 at 11:07 PM

    Thanks dude, much appreciated :) I actually REALLY need to work on #2 also – I haven’t confessed my sins in years! Although I do pray about them a lot… don’t think that “counts” though. Thx again for dropping in!

  33. Thom October 10, 2010 at 9:57 PM

    Don’t worry about the tithing thing. There is no god, and the Catholic church has enough money anyway.

  34. dude October 10, 2010 at 10:18 PM

    Okay, I think some of the earlier commenters need to take a deep breath. I don’t judge people who choose to spend their money on video games or fancy shoes or anything else, and I don’t think people should judge me — or J. Money. If J. Money finds his religious institution valuable enough that he parks his behind in a pew every Sunday morning (or Saturday evening) then that’s his choice.

    At the same time, they don’t charge admission and leave the responsibility to individuals (or families) to decide how much to contribute toward the cost of basic expenses such as maintaining that very pew, as well as greater costs such as programming to help the poor, support parish schools, etc. There are some religious organizations (ones that rhyme with Schormon) that won’t let you be a full member unless you’ve paid your dues, and the Catholics aren’t like that.

    Some people over on the Consumerist post said the Vatican should take a vow of poverty and divest itself of its belongings. What, they should sell the Pieta before asking people to contribute?! That’s like saying the Smithsonian should sell all its holdings to settle the national debt. I’m sure that Judy Garland’s ruby slippers would bring in a couple of million, but there’s something known as cultural patrimony … the Catholic Church has a responsibility to preserve these works of art. Selling them into private hands? Ridonkulous.

    But contributing to an organization you believe in? That’s just common sense — and I wager you can make your contribution in either money or time.

  35. joye October 10, 2010 at 10:32 PM

    IF you can afford it, it is selfish not to give to your local church. Whenever you attend church, you are using the services of that church. There are the salaries of the people who work there. There is the upkeep of the building, including heating, lighting, repairs and more. Then there is all the good work that the church itself does. Remaining purposefully ignorant about this is not good for your conscience.

    If you genuinely can’t afford it, there is no shame in that. But if you can, you should give at least your fair share, and if you can give more, that helps pay for those who can’t afford it.

    Don’t complain if a church cuts back on services or keeps the building freezing or whatever if you’re not giving to the church.

  36. Anthony October 11, 2010 at 6:44 PM

    Look up ‘Tithe’ online. It literally translates into “tenth part”. So a tenth is what I am asked for, and a tenth is what I give. I don’t even look at it like I’m giving the church a tenth. The way I figure it, God gives me 90% and asks if He can keep 10%. That seems fair. :) After being a full tithe payer for the last decade or so, I don’t think I could survive without the blessings I get from it.

    Malachi 3:10 (New King James Version)

    10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse,
    That there may be food in My house,
    And try Me now in this,”
    Says the LORD of hosts,

    “ If I will not open for you the windows of heaven
    And pour out for you such blessing
    That there will not be room enough to receive it.

  37. J. Money October 14, 2010 at 9:37 AM

    I like the way you think :) God does give us a lot!!!