On Sunday, my Dad and I chatted about fun ways to be generous over a delicious lunch of chicken taco salads and enchiladas. Our pastor just preached a very refreshing message on generosity. (Zero guilt or pressure to donate, imagine that!) The average American donates between 3% to 5% of their gross income to charitable and religious organizations. We wondered why it wasn’t higher, because giving is so much fun (not to mention, good for both your physical and mental health)!
Here are 4 Fun Ways to be Generous
1 – Leave Big Tips
Leaving big tips for your hair stylist, restaurant staff, nail tech, babysitter, or valet is fun! One of my daily mantras is this: “I’m a generous giver and a gracious receiver. I’m known as a BIG tipper!” I purposely carry around at least one $50 or $100 bill at all times, specifically for this purpose. Why is it fun? You can change someone’s entire day by leaving them a big tip! By the way, tipping 100% on a $10 tab counts as a big tip!
While staying in Florida with my Dad last winter, we inspired a “Big Tip Challenge” among the other diners at our communal table at Bonefish Grill. I asked our amazing waiter, “What’s the biggest tip you’ve received here?” He said, “$75.” I told him I predicted he would best his record that night. I tipped him $100 cash and the two other parties at our table each tipped him at least $50. Honestly, we all had a fun time making that young man’s day.
2 – Spoil Someone You Love
Giving gifts is one of my love languages! During the times in my life when my finances were lean, I missed being able to spoil people with amazing gifts. So, one of my favorite things to do now that I have plenty of money is to shower my friends and family with amazing gifts and experiences.
My Mom recently turned 74 (Happy Birthday, Mom!!) In the past, I would have taken her to lunch, and given her a $50 Macy’s gift card. Not this year! I went overboard on purpose. I sent her flowers to her house on her birthday. The following Saturday, I took her out to a fancy lunch at Cooper’s Hawk Winery. I bought her a bottle of wine to take home with her, then off to the high-end shopping mall we went. She found a pretty silver bracelet she wanted, so I got her that, too.
I remember being in my 20s and struggling to scrape up enough money to buy my Mom a birthday card. If the two of us went to lunch, she had to pay for it because I couldn’t. (Otherwise, we’d be eating at Taco Bell!) Now that I’m doing really well financially, it’s my privilege and my pleasure to spoil my Mom!
3 – Sponsor a Child
My husband and I are child-free by choice. Our fur babies, Marvin and Miley (6-month-old kittens) are sufficiently spoiled. Seven years ago, the church I attended introduced me to Compassion International. Compassion matches children in need around the globe with sponsors who commit to supporting them with $38/ month until they turn 18. Since these children need extra resources (which we have) to live healthy and happy lives, we decided to sponsor a child in Nicaragua named Angel.
Why is sponsoring a child fun (and meaningful)? The letters and drawings you get from your sponsored child are worth their weight in gold! I always get a thrill when I open the mailbox and see a letter from Angel sent through Compassion International, written with the help of his teacher. Knowing that our sponsorship means so much to both Angel and his family is precious. We enjoy it so much, we decided to sponsor a second little boy in Nicaragua three years ago named Jose. I hope that one day, I’ll get the opportunity to see Angel and Jose in person and give them each a huge hug.
4 – Solve Someone’s Problem
I’ve heard it said, “If money will solve your problem, then you have an expense, not a problem.” Of course, if you don’t have the money, it certainly feels like a big problem! Occasionally, I’ll be talking to someone who has a problem that can be fixed with money, and I’ll feel led to help them. Maybe it’s an unpaid medical bill, a car that’s being held together with duct tape, or worries about making the rent payment on time. If it’s a larger expense, I might take time to think and pray about it.
My friend, James Lenhoff, CFP, recommends creating an “Abundance Fund” with the express purpose of blessing others. Decide on the monthly amount to put into the account. When you encounter someone with a need, you can bless them by solving their money problem! The times I’ve done this, the person is super grateful and I feel blessed that I’m able to be generous and relieve them of their problem.
Waiting until you die to give away a bunch of money isn’t fun, because you never get to see the impact. As John Maxwell says, “Do your giving while you’re living, so you’re knowing where it’s going!” Which one of the four fun ways to be generous is your favorite? Is there another way you like to give your money that’s fun? Please let me know!
P.S. Want to get your personal finances in order so you can be more generous? My Financial Dignity® on Demand Course shows you how. Take a look and see if it’s for you!