It was required by the church my husband and I were married in to attend pre-martial counseling sessions. At first the idea of marriage counseling seemed weird. Wasn’t that for already failing marriages? We hadn’t even started ours and we were already required to go. As it turns out it was more beneficial than either of us imagined it would be.
The sessions were designed to bring up different scenarios that might cause stress within a marriage and to make sure we were on the same page before we sealed the deal legally. I have been told many times that money can be a huge stress factor within a marriage, and our pastor must have heard the same.
Our pastor shared with us an 80, 10, 10 approach to our finances. 80 percent of our income was to be used for our day-to-day expenses. Food, bills, gas and other daily needs come out of the 80 percent. 10 percent was to be saved. And the other 10 percent should be given away to charities. Some might say it’s a ploy for the church to get your money. However, our pastor was genuinely interested in sharing the joy of giving.
We decided we wanted to try to live our lives by that financial philosophy. Justin and I still haven’t joined our checking accounts, but we both committed to saving some money each month to give to people less fortunate than us. Unfortunately purchasing a home, paying for undergrad and graduate school, and other first year of marriage expenses didn’t allow us to save a full 10 percent. None-the-less we had fun giving what we could. I don’t share this information to gloat or because I expect a pat on the back. I just wanted to share the charities we decided to focus on this year and to hopefully inspire others to give as well.
Justin had the most fun with spontaneous giving. He made sure he had cash available whenever he walked by a Salvation Army
bell ringer. He also donated coffee beans from Caribou Coffee to local food shelves and had cash on hand to donate to local schools bagging groceries at our local grocery store as well.
He also got excited when we were out Christmas shopping and the Saint Paul Police K-9 Foundation
was having a fundraiser. It was a unique charity for him to support especially since two of my uncles were K-9 cops.
I didn’t take on the same spontaneous giving approach. Instead I decided to take most of my money and put it towards a few charities that I believe in. It didn’t take me long to determine where I wanted the money to go.
I spent the summer of 2010 volunteering at the Neighborhood House. I co-taught a beginners english class to English language learners. It was amazing to see what the Neighborhood House was doing for surrounding communities. I knew I wanted to donate what I could since I haven’t been able to donate any of my time recently.
The Minnesota Humane Society
I wanted to donate to the MN Humane Society in honor of our puppy Selby. People who work for the humane society and every person who has rescued an animal before deserves the support.
Minnesota United for all Families
Minnesota United for ALL Families is an organization with one mission. That mission is to defeat the proposed amendment that could ban same-sex marriages in Minnesota. If my donation can educate more people on why they should vote NO…well then it was money well spent.
Overall, Justin and I both enjoyed giving this holiday season. We hope to do it annually and make it a tradition that our future children will be excited to participate in as well.
“We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give.”
Sir Winston Churchill