Here are some tips for helping your family live generously.
Breaking down financial barriers to be free to live generously
1. Live within your means
Save up for purchases and pay cash rather than buying on credit. If you do use credit, pay the whole monthly balance so that your resources aren’t drained away in interest.
As soon as they are old enough, give your kids an allowance or let them control some of the gift money they receive. Encourage them to live within their means by saving for desired items. Working for an allowance and waiting to be able to afford something helps kids understand the real cost of an item and curtails frivolous purchases.
2. Get out of debt
You are not free to give if you are overwhelmed by debt. If you give on credit, you are really giving away someone else’s money. Once you are free to give, here are some tips for weaving benevolence into the fabric of your family life.
Tips for Giving Freely
1. Plan to be generous
Set measureable goals like donating 5% of your annual income or $5,000 per year. Share your goals with your kids and update them on your progress. Review your actual giving at the end of the year and set new goals for the next year.
2. Focus your generosity
Corporations often have clearly defined priorities that help them focus their giving. Some donate to charities that help disadvantaged kids while others support organizations that care for the environment.
Talk about what you value as a family. Are you passionate about animals? Do you know someone with Multiple Sclerosis, cancer, or some other medical condition? Do you want to alleviate poverty in developing nations or support Bible translation? After identifying the good you want to do in the world, look for reputable organizations that share your values. Focus your giving on a small group of charities rather than donating less money to more agencies—your gifts will have more of an impact.
3. Don’t wait to give
Even if you are currently in debt or have limited resources, you can still give your time. Any holiday is a good time to help your local food bank collect and sort food or to serve a meal at a local drop-in centre for people who are homeless. Look for opportunities to serve with your kids. As you model a generous lifestyle and involve your kids in sharing, they will develop a life-long giving habit.
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