We give to political causes. We give to donorschoose. It’s just so easy to spend when you’re hitting all the obvious savings goals.
When I got my paycheck, I was seriously contemplating putting 10K of our savings into taxable stocks (note: my paycheck is not 10K! We had some additional excess in savings from reimbursements etc. after the unpaid summer was over that gave us close to 10K over my target for cash). But then we lost a tree and then another tree and DH decided it was time to replace all our fluorescent light fixtures with LEDs (including the ballasts– which we had an electrician come out and do) and those little emergencies/home repairs ate into our excess so we no longer had 10K to move.*
Which makes it easier to donate to political stuff even if it’s a black hole (hopefully it isn’t!), because we have the money. Because there’s money just there wanting to be used.
And then we talked to DC2’s first grade teachers and thought we should give them visa gift cards like we gave the kindergarten teachers last year.
Since we’ve been meeting our tax-advantaged savings goals and aren’t really aiming to move to paradise anytime soon (we really don’t have enough money for that), I can’t really think of a better use of our money at a time like this than to give it where it is needed more. There are a lot of things we could be spending money on that people spend money on, but we’re good with our house and our cars and not having personal assistants or housekeepers (I’m not sure we could comfortably afford those anyway) or fancy vacations… so the money we could be spending on those things just kind of builds up. It’s a nice feeling. I feel a little powerful knowing that I can give $1K (anonymously) to DC2’s teachers without it being likely to impact our bottom-line in the future.
We don’t yet give until it hurts. And it’s crazy to me how much we can just give away without it hurting. My Catholic upbringing tells me to feel guilty about this, but my pragmatic academic training tells me that good causes prefer larger amounts of money that don’t hurt to smaller amounts that do. (My Catholic upbringing then tells me that charities would prefer even larger amounts that do hurt. I tell my Catholic upbringing to shut up and maybe I’ll be more generous when I’m dead. Then I feel guilty. Because. Well, you know why.)
The trade-offs we’re making are for some unknown future. 10K in the stock market will bring us closer to being able to move to paradise or to weather a permanent job loss or to flee to Canada or to even to pay for someone to travel to get an abortion should that become necessary. 10K spent now eases suffering now and may help the fate of our country come January. Giving now seems to be the right choice.
*If we don’t come up with better ideas, the next couple of money Mondays will probably be about our spending on home repairs/improvements… we are slowly inching down DH’s repair list to the kitchen remodel, but we’re not there yet because things keep breaking, as things are wont to do. Of course, kitchen remodeling is another way to feel artificially poor and to use up money that would otherwise be going to taxable stocks or good causes.