Thursday, July 23, 2009

Money Well Spent

"Two dollars means a snack for me, but it means a big deal to you," - "Mr. Wendal", Arrested Development.

This has been a really tough recession. It has left us with less money, dramatically reduced retirement accounts, and even worse, has caused many people all over the country to lose their homes and jobs. Not only has this recession been tough on the average American family, it's been even worse for society's vulnerable. Agencies and organizations that were already tapped for resources are now really struggling to help all the people in need.

Despite the bad, there is definitely a lot of good out there. I started volunteering at the Humane Society this week, and I was struck by the generosity of one couple who came in. They spent a half hour playing with the kittens and then came up to the front desk to donate $50 just because. They wanted to do something and couldn't have an animal at home, so they wanted to help as best they could. It definitely gave me the warm, fuzzy feeling and inspired me. Earlier today, a girl I mentored for over 4 years called me up and told me she was getting an apartment on her own. She's 18 and had been in foster care most of her life, so this is a really big step for her. She said she had enough money for half of her deposit, and without a thought, I offered to give her the other half. I was so proud of how far she's come and understood that she needed a little help to get on her feet. It was the best $50 I ever spent.

So I challenge you. Think about how you're really spending your money. Sure, you might really like that new pair of jeans, but do you NEED it? I feel people would be a lot happier if they spent their money on helping others instead of adding to their piles of "stuff". Need ideas of where to send your money? I recommend food banks. Two meals and snacks are provided to kids during the school year by their schools, and with school out, food banks take on feeding more people during the summer. Or donate to an agency you are passionate about. I guarantee that money will be greatly appreciated and you'll remember it much longer than those jeans will last.

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