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I think most people are generous in nature and want to help others. Around this time of year, many are looking to give more to the causes dear to their heart. Perhaps they have a goal of giving more next year than they were able to this year.

However with finances squeezed for some families, how can couples and the rest of the family give more in 2013? I have a few ideas to get you started.

Finding a Charity That Fits You and Your Family

As a couple, finding a cause to financially support without breaking your budget is not only doable, but something that can draw the two of you together.

You can use free services like Mint to help you review your actual spending habits this year and come up with a doable number. It’s easy to use; it took us about 20 minutes to set up our accounts and we were good for the rest of the year.
Some wonderful organizations that could use your support include:

  • Camp Sunshine: Camp Sunshine offers children with life threatening illnesses and their families a retreat from the strain and toll that these diseases can cause. Services given at the camp include medical, counseling, accommodation  and meals. The camp also offers families recreational activities.
  • Feeding America: With a network of over 200 food banks around the country, this hunger-relief charity maximizes your donations. For every dollar you give, it will go towards getting $8 worth of food to someone in need.

If a big donation is out of your budget right now, perhaps you can go ahead and sign up for a smaller monthly subscription instead.

Including Kids in the Giving

Not to be overlooked when giving is helping your kids to appreciate that they can also help out. For some parents, they’ve found including giving as a part of the family budget has encouraged their children to include giving in theirs.

For children to know how to set aside a little something each month, it helps for parents to include them in the family budget meetings, perhaps reviewing what they gave the previous month.

You can then ask your kids if they want to give. Having a list of a few organizations and what they do in the community can help start the conversations. You may be surprised at how quickly your children can come up with ideas.

One online project that may get your kids excited about supporting is DonorsChoose. It allows you to choose which classroom projects you’d like to fund and support. For some families they may want to help other children with literacy programs or others would like to lend a hand for the arts. It’s by the classroom so it feels a bit more personal.

We’ve funded some projects ourselves and we’ve been so touched at the thank you cards and updates received from the kids themselves.

You can sit down as a family each month and decide which projects(s) to give towards. Perhaps each of your kids can list their favorites and you divide the money among them.

Thoughts on Including Giving to Charity into Your Budget

I'd love to hear from you about your plans to give more in 2013. What are some causes that are dear to your heart? How will you support them next year?

Join Betterment's Giving Better Series!

About Elle Martinez

Elle Martinez helps families at Couple Money achieve financial freedom by sharing tips for reducing debt, increase income, and building net worth. Learn how to live on one income and have fun with the second..

6 comments add your comment

  1. Love that you mentioned FeedingAmerica! Hunger is a cause I support throughout the year. I volunteer with my local Backpack Buddies program to send food home over the weekend with kids who might otherwise not have a lot to eat.

    I agree it’s important to find a charity that’s important to you. If you are passionate about a cause, finding money to give or ways to help is not a chore – it’s something you happily do because it makes you happy to know you are making a difference.

    I linked your article up to mine about Little Ways to Give During the Holidays & Throughout the Year.