Every once in a while me + The P.I.C. allocate a little cash to give away. It's an extension of our "Happy Money" practice--feeling thankful for everything down to pennies that cross our path, and in turn, giving a little back. I've heard certain money mentors and motivational entrepreneurs say that charitable amount should be 10% of what you make, but as with everything, the amount we give should never be decided by anyone other than ourselves.
I've had many moments with only a smattering of change in my pocket to put in my gas tank or waiting until my credit card payment went through so I could get groceries. Even in those scraping-by times, I'd stop for those at traffic lights and pass along some coin, looking them in the eye and wishing them well. I've never felt like a savior for it, or even an especially charitable person--it's just become automatic. And, it's reminded me that no matter how broke I've been, I always have something to give. Clothes and home goods--we donate to thrift stores, some of which support people or animals in need. Books--go to the library, where I've bought many a bestseller in excellent condition for fifty cents, and rented countless DVDs for free (even the subscription services don't have exactly what you want to watch sometimes!). I recently found a site where people freely request and give items, all for free. Which, BTW, is even more proof that the saying - "Nothing is free" - is bullshit.
Awhile back, The P.I.C. made change for a ten so we could each have five dollars to hand to someone who looked like they could use it. My bill sat in the console for over a week until one day I was driving around and I became aware of it again. I really wanted to use it for myself. I really could have used that money at that time. I felt annoyed that we had set it aside to be given away. Its presence made me feel starved and desperate. I wanted to blow it on a dollar menu somewhere or add it to my secret stash I tried to grow but regularly depleted. Then I came up on a light, and a man was there with a sign I couldn't read and didn't need to. I rolled down the window and gave a wave, handing him the five with a smile. It felt like a big give in that moment and I had freed myself from the guilt I would've shouldered keeping it. It felt good, just like giving does, even when we need and want more for our own lives. I'd like to think it welcomes more in, by instilling pause and reverence for how much we do have, and every bit that serendipitously comes our way, just like for those on the receiving end of what we pass along. It frees us up from clinging so hard, gripping every dollar like we'll never have another, when always something more is on the way.