Aspiring Goal to Shoot For: Spending More on *Donations* Than *Wants*


Before we get started on this, just have to say I really enjoyed all your feedback the other day on our Fortnite post. And many of you brought up an excellent point on it that I completely missed:

Gaming is a great way to spend *time* with friends and others!

And it’s not unlike other ways we spend money to hang out with each other either, such as meeting over lunch or coffees or spa days, vacations, etc, etc.

So I take back all my snarkiness on those V bucks, and I say if it gets you to stay connected with all your loved ones, great :) Though I still might poke fun at you for buying all those dance moves and digital clothes, lol…

Back to today’s thoughts though, been marinating on something a reader sent over at the end of last year that’s really got me thinking on how I prioritize my spending…

And more specifically, how I’d love to prioritize it in THIS way presented if at all possible!

Here’s the full note from Moneybee below in response to our New Years Resolutions post in December (how are those going, btw???? ;)) and while the entire passage is chock full of ideas, it’s the line that’s italicized that really got my wheels turning:

My goals for FY 2019 are to have a positive net worth (on track), have my total spending on gifts and donations be more than my total spending on myself (on track), spend the same or lower percentage of my income on myself as I did last year (not on track), and keep my total number of transactions below a certain number (same idea as no spend days, but you can’t game the system by doing lots of spending on the same day)(not on track). – Moneybee

“Have my total spending on gifts and donations be more than my total spending on myself

Mannnnn… What a challenge! Can you imagine spending more on OTHERS than you do on yourself throughout the year? What a goal to strive for!!

And while it might sound unrealistic at first, what she’s actually alluding to I believe is “spending more money on gifts and donations than your ‘wants’” – which is a lot more achievable vs your entire BUDGET, haha… At least that’s my interpretation of it. You’d really have to up your game to give over half of EVERYTHING you spend on unless you don’t have a house/car/stomach/kids!

But if you just strip away your “wants” here and compare that to your monthly giving/gifting, it’s a much more achievable challenge to take on. And perhaps you’re already closer to it than you might think?

I have yet to go through my records and track it all down to the penny, but I DO know I’m currently donating to 11 places right now that are near and dear to my heart at $20/mo each (with an ultimate mission to get to 100 one day!!), which means we’re already at a solid $220 on that front and doesn’t include any other random $$$ or gifts I give away as part of my “have to say YES” strategy.

As far as the “wants” side – if we’re strictly speaking of stuff I buy for ME and no one else in our household like our million kids – there’s actually not that many things that siphon my money as they once did. I basically only spend in 4-5 categories every month, neither of which would break the bank:

  • Coffee (4x a week while blogging)
  • Books (1 every two-three weeks?)
  • Local events (festivals, art shows, get togethers, etc)
  • Clothes (only a recent thing as I stumbled across the BEST thrift store in my town and severely need to upgrade my holey attire! Minimalism has done a number on it!)
  • Eating out for dinner (2x/mo)

(Notice you don’t see old coins or currency there?? That’s because I only use money from my own collection I sell off or when I get a commission for helping others liquidate theirs. If I don’t keep it self-contained like that I’d get in major trouble! ;))

So we’re probably looking at $50 + $20 + $30 + $20 + $40 = $160, and then let’s say we’re missing another $30 or so since I’m too lazy to double check everything right now, lol, and that puts us right around the $190 mark.

Which is just under the $220 of donations! Didn’t even realize that until now – wow!! I might actually already be pulling this off!

I’ll have to sit down now and really track the numbers, but in either case it’s a helluva mission to take on and had to share it with you in case you get inspired by such things too :)

And maybe you’re doing this without even realizing as well?! I bet it would make you feel super proud of yourself if you are! And possibly less GUILTY about spending on *yourself * too as I am now feeling, lol.

In any event, major props to you Moneybee for even THINKING about this and then implementing it (you guys are so good about putting others first!! I always have to remind myself!), and I thank you massively for planting this seed inside me as well :) It may look like I’m doing well *financially* in this, but I still have a ways to go *mentally* and all this helps me get there that much closer.

Now who wants to join us in this?! Maybe try it out for the rest of March and see how you do! Or hell – try to accomplish it just over the weekend! :)

You make just one extra gesture and you really can’t go wrong… But if all goes well, who knows – you might just enact some positive change! And our world needs as much of that as we can get right now.

A very blessed weekend to y’all! Thanks for always reading and encouraging! 🙏🙏

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  1. Jacq March 13, 2020 at 7:45 AM

    I’d have to calculate my wants, but with a set amount target to charity per month, plus target spend for Christmas and birthday for family, it will be interesting. I treated myself to t shirts earlier this year and got myself flowers to celebrate a landmark. I turned in some credit card points for a Dunkin giftcard but also got some for other people too. I think those come out even. :) Thanks for sharing!
    Have a great weekend!!

    1. J. Money March 13, 2020 at 1:09 PM

      You too!

      Love that you got yourself flowers, haha..

      What type? And what was the landmark if you’re allowed to share?! :)

  2. Brian March 13, 2020 at 10:19 AM

    For your books habit… have you ever considered just getting a kindle and then using your local library app to check out books? It’s a decent upfront cost, but it really saves long term and my wife does this and loves it.

    1. J. Money March 13, 2020 at 1:12 PM

      Nope! Only *physical* for me over here :) I’m in front of screens enough during the day so when it comes to reading time it’s strictly paper and ink! Which always *feels* better reading anyways, at least for me? Though I do hit up the library at least once a week with my kids too as I’m not an animal… ;)

  3. Moneybee March 13, 2020 at 11:11 AM

    It me! (am I too old to say that?)

    Update if you’re curious: positive net worth is dicey because of the markets (until they went bonkers I was set to do it this month), gifts and donations do indeed total to more than my ‘me’ spending (and I should point out that not only is ‘me’ spending only wants, eating out and takeout don’t count unless I was alone– if I counted eating out with coworkers and my partner things would be very different!), ‘me’ spending is now tracking at a lower percentage than last year (yay!), and I’m *exactly* on track for transaction number. So overall looking pretty good!

    1. J. Money March 13, 2020 at 1:16 PM

      Thanks for the update, friend!!

      And for INSPIRING this post – and new seed – inside me!

      It really has changed my view on giving, and now I want to keep seeing what *other* categories I can beat out too! :) Such a cool mindset!

  4. Revanche @ A Gai Shan Life March 14, 2020 at 3:12 AM

    I don’t think I thought of it as a goal but I’ve been doing this for almost ten years now. PiC and I used to give ourselves an allowance in our early years of marriage and I always ended up spending my allowance on giving instead of buying for myself. It just happened to generally be more important/satisfying to support causes than to pick up stuff for myself. This was very much aided by the fact that I had no time and no physical ability to enjoy the expensive stuff I would have liked to spend that money on

    It would have been much harder for me to do as a healthy person who could enjoy a wide array of hobbies. I’d like to think about pushing that trend upward so we are donating multiples of what we spend on ourselves in future years.

    1. J. Money March 16, 2020 at 6:43 AM

      You always inspire me over there!!

      And love that we’re still connected over the past 10+ years now!! :)

  5. SWFL Financial Coaching March 14, 2020 at 7:12 AM

    “with an ultimate mission to get to 100 one day!!”

    I have read that giving more to a few charities can be better than giving a little to a bunch of them. What’s your thoughts on that? I’m mixed on it, except for being on all the mailing lists.

    1. J. Money March 16, 2020 at 6:55 AM

      I think it depends on what goal you’re trying to accomplish :)

      If you’re trying to have the biggest impact with your giving (“effective altruism”), then going with fewer places but larger $$$ might better do the trick (and making sure to pick the *most effective* orgs as well). But if you’re just trying to support the places you love and let them know they’re appreciated, then spreading it around more might accomplish the goal like how I’m doing it. (And don’t forget that while the amounts are low ($20), they recur *monthly* so eventually they will be similar to larger one-time amounts!)

      I also think it depends on how you derive *joy* from it too. For me giving one place more money doesn’t excite me nearly as much as giving 10 places less money, so that has to be a factor in it all too so you have a better chance of continuing it.

      Def. no right or wrong answers to it though. All giving counts in my books!

    2. Christine March 16, 2020 at 9:03 AM

      I also have heard that numbers of donations can matter at least in some circumstances. No idea! I personally like to choose a charity/organization or two in each of a few key issues important to me. I do love the feeling That my money is going to make a difference.

  6. JJ March 14, 2020 at 3:04 PM

    This is my favorite post you’ve done. Inspiring me to change my behavior with significant recurring donations to orgs I love. I’m in. Thanks.

    1. J. Money March 16, 2020 at 6:57 AM

      Awesome!! That makes me so happy to hear!!

      And yes – I tend to agree with you on the *smaller* places… 90% of the orgs we donate to are tiny local places compared to the more mainstream ones – which makes it all that much more enjoyable to me personally :)

  7. JJ March 14, 2020 at 3:06 PM

    Also, I strongly believe that giving to small local nonprofits can have a much deeper impact.