It is easy to forget the gift of giving in times of economical uncertainty. In scarcer times, we all tend to worry a bit about our own ability to get through the challenges with “enough.” Many of us have trimmed our grocery lists, extra curricular activities and a myriad of other things we consider “extras.” Even if we are in somewhat stable jobs, we have likely tightened our budgets “just in case.” As reports on the economy rise, fall and fall some more, we may be inclined to “give less” until we are more sure of its overall recovery.
What does it mean to give anyway?
Charitable giving is usually defined as giving money to those less fortunate than ourselves. We often do this in exchange for nothing more than the good feeling we get when we support someone or something that we find valuable or worthy. Most people make donations with their “extra” income, rather than use the money that is marked for “necessities.” Some, on the other hand, practice tithing, which means that they give ten percent (or other amount) of their income to their church, community or a combination of other organizations, and then live within the means of what’s left.
Giving, however, is not limited to money, as we all know. We can give material objects, food, time, service and so much more. We can give from the heart. In fact, the urge to give is our essence.
Whether we chose to tithe, offer food to a homeless person, or spend time and attention with someone in need, giving makes us feel valued and helpful. It regenerates our soul and creates good will in the world. This is the gift of giving for ourselves, but the gifts we bestow upon others are truly priceless.
When the stressors of your personal economy begin to squeeze you, perhaps you look around at all you have and breathe in gratitude. Sure there are those who have more, but unfortunately there are far too many with significantly less. While breathing in gratitude, you will feel more centered and abundant. Allow yourself to see all the “extras” in your life. Notice all you can spare and choose to give freely, not from guilt, but from your heart. Gift yourself the gift of giving.
Here are a few ways to give that respect your budget: