I’ve been trying something new lately where every time I have to spend money on something – whether a need or a want – I try to look at it as I’m “supporting” the place my money’s going to vs. “I’m spending my hard earned money” there.
The effect to my wallet usually remains the same, but what I’ve noticed is that I’m starting to appreciate these transactions a lot more, and not only that – but in some cases even enjoying it!
A great example of this was the other week when it was time to pay dues at our local coin club. The membership fees are literally only like $12/year (or $1.00/month), but we were starting a new *lifetime membership* option where for a one-time fee of $150.00 you could actually become a member for life.
Now, $12 and $150 are drastically different paying attention to price alone, but what I noticed was that a number of people started whipping out their checkbooks right there on the spot for these new memberships. The same people who graciously donate coins to our monthly door prizes, or who volunteer their time and expertise to present to us throughout the year. To them, it wasn’t about the “cost”, but more about the love of the hobby and wanting to support it however they can.
That night 4 people became lifetime members on the spot, including myself :)
(Of course later I ran the numbers to see where the break-even point was because we’re nerds like that (12 1/2 years), but whether I attend the meetings for that long or not, I felt proud to support something I believe in too. I doubt that would have happened had I not consciously changed my thinking.)
This works in other areas too:
- $5.00 for coffee? Your baristas thank you for giving them a job!
- $75.00 for groceries? Way to help the cashiers, managers, night stockers, and even cleaning crews
- $100.00 for insurance? Thanks for protecting my family and finances, insurance company!
- $875.00/paycheck for taxes? God bless America and our roads, schools, libraries, outreach programs, and the men and women who protect our laws and safety every day
In all cases they’re still normal expenses, but thinking of them in terms of how they provide for others or society ON TOP of it is a pretty powerful (and often overlooked) feeling. Not unlike the concept of “voting with your dollars” by shopping at the places/stores/services that match your values, and staying away from those which do not.
It’s spending, but it’s also very much supporting.
This new mentality has also affected the way I give back too. I started thinking about all the other hobbies or organizations I could be supporting more just like with the coin club, and came up with three of them right off the bat:
- The Sundara Fund – I’ve loved this organization since the moment I learned of it two years ago (they recycle gently used soaps that the hospitality industry throws away every single day and re-uses them to prevent disease and death among kids in poverty-deep countries), and realized the last time I donated to them was almost just as long ago.
- 516 Project – A newer project launched by a friend of mine who goes around fixing up old and broken down homes of those who can’t afford to have them fixed themselves. I gave to them the day they launched and then promptly forgot.
- And then there’s our very own Rockstar Community Fund – where I initially funded it with $500 to get it going and help spread the GOOD around our community, but have since stopped contributing financially purely out of forgetfulness. And this is my own project!! (Of course, I spend gobs of *time* towards it which is worth much more than any donation (or else it wouldn’t exist! haha…) but financially speaking specifically, I was still slacking)
I went back to that same “lifetime membership” concept and decided to give $20/mo to each of these organizations. All very much new “expenses” to me, however when looked at in the light of “support” shines much differently.
And I’m actually pretty embarrassed that I didn’t think of it earlier?! Of course I should have made it automatic to make sure my money was going where I wanted it to!! That’s Personal Finance 101! :) Despite the disconnect though, it’s already feeling worlds better now, and I’m already looking for more places to pledge my support to so I can make it an even $100/mo across the board.
We’ll see what the future holds with this new thought experiment, but I wanted to share it with you while it was hot on the brain and my encouragement levels sky high, haha… Maybe you already think of your money as voting dollars and supporting your community, I don’t know, but the more ways we can feel empowered by our spending, the better.
Give it a shot today while you’re out running your errands or picking up food/paying the bills, etc, and then come back and let us know how it felt.
Think about everyone you’re supporting with each transaction you make, and see if it changes anything. You’re already going to spend the money, might as well feel better about it! :)
I’ll follow up after a few more months as well…
PS: For all those who missed last month’s batch of #GivingCards through our Community Fund, we’re giving out another twenty-five $20 cards right now for anyone who still wants to participate. All you have to do is use it for GOOD! And I guarantee you’ll enjoy spending that money too :) Sign up for one here.
[Heart photo by Oleksii Schastlyvyi]