Author Topic: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch  (Read 4414 times)

FlorenceMcGillicutty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« on: May 30, 2013, 07:23:16 PM »
I'm really curious to hear about others' views on gifts and donations. We're high earners/high spenders and taking steps to improve right now. I'm evaluating expenses and seeing that we spend more on gifts and charity than many other mustachians. Charitable giving and gifts are important to us so I don't regret where we are, but I'd like to hear others thoughts.

A couple of examples: 1) We pay for monthly cleaners for my grandmother because she's not well enough to clean herself. We started paying for this after we visited her house and saw mice and rat droppings in many places. This is about $115/mo. 2) Our nanny's house just got broken into a raided. We gave her an unbudgeted cash gift of $250 to help. I'll use the FSA to reimburse for this, but that's a lot by MMM standards.

I honestly would be happy to work another year or two if that's what it takes to provide these types of gifts. But I'd love to hear from the peanut gallery about their approaches too. 

mlipps

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1144
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #1 on: May 30, 2013, 07:32:18 PM »
Well I don't think many people here will hold paying for your grandmas cleaners against you. We budget $125/month for gifts, which might be a little unnecessary, but giving to others bring us a lot of joy.

meadow lark

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4835
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #2 on: May 30, 2013, 07:46:25 PM »
I believe in being generous.  And I agree I would rather work more, so that I can continue to give at the level I am comfortable at.  I do think it is a little complicated though.  I do try to be aware of generosity's less appealing side, our desire to show how successful we are, or how good we are.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6923
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #3 on: May 30, 2013, 08:36:18 PM »

I don't see a problem with this at all.   If you had to choose between medicine or feeding your kids, that would be different. 

We have a mentally handicapped, adult daughter and a state-paid caregiver for her while we are at work during the day.  That lady isn't just a paid caregiver, she's family.  She treats our daughter like her own grandchild.   The rest of her family does, too.(Wish her "real" grandparents did!  Or, for that matter, even a vaguely friendly acquaintance...)   

We started giving her a $1000 to $1500 bonus at Christmas two years ago, after we paid off our house.   It's money well given.

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2881
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2013, 08:41:02 PM »
I also believe in being generous. I do think it comes back to you - call it karma or reciprocity or even just the good feeling you get because you are in a position to be able to help someone who desperately needs it.

I feel a little different about huge charitable organizations that may or may not be spending the money wisely. I always prefer the more direct approach.

Helping out someone you know and love is more of an investment in a relationship which will offer far, far higher returns in the long run then money sitting in a bank - Why strive for FI if not to spend more time with those we care about?

Now there is always the chance you will be taken advantage of and offering financial support should always be examined on a case by case basis - but I have never once regretted helping out someone I cared about who needed it.

FlorenceMcGillicutty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2013, 07:47:13 AM »
Thanks peeps. It's good to hear that others prioritize gifts as well. I think my new approach may be to try and make more of an effort to cut back elsewhere so these gifts feel more meaningful than they already do.

FlorenceMcGillicutty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #6 on: May 31, 2013, 07:50:20 AM »

I don't see a problem with this at all.   If you had to choose between medicine or feeding your kids, that would be different. 

We have a mentally handicapped, adult daughter and a state-paid caregiver for her while we are at work during the day.  That lady isn't just a paid caregiver, she's family.  She treats our daughter like her own grandchild.   The rest of her family does, too.(Wish her "real" grandparents did!  Or, for that matter, even a vaguely friendly acquaintance...)   

We started giving her a $1000 to $1500 bonus at Christmas two years ago, after we paid off our house.   It's money well given.

I love this. It's how we feel about our nanny. She's hugely important to us. We also provide cash gifts for her birthday and Christmas. As we are realigning our spending priorities, this one will stay at the top.

mustachecat

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 398
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #7 on: May 31, 2013, 07:56:23 AM »
I don't think any of the examples people have given here are worrisome, but I am an overly generous gift-giver, and my personal situation is problematic. I tend to overspend on gifts because in many ways, I still see "not caring about price" (which usually means spending a lot of money) as a way to demonstrate how much I care about the gift recipient. But this can cause all kinds of negative feelings if I then feel like the recipient doesn't appreciate the gift or reciprocate... which is ridiculous because I'm the one who keeps escalating the gift arms race!

Villanelle

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3544
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #8 on: May 31, 2013, 07:59:18 AM »
We too give [what we like to believe is] generously.  However, we have no debt, other than property mortgages.  If that weren't the case, then generosity would have to be cut back significantly.  Actually, that's not really true.  *Financial* generosity would be cut back, but we'd try to ramp up the other ways in which we give.  We'd clean grandma's house monthly ourselves, for example, or scour Craiglist to find cheap items to help replace those lost by the nanny for well less than $250.

So to me, it all depends on your current situation.  The fact that you brought it up at all suggests that maybe you are having some doubts, in which case I'd encourage you to look for cheaper or non-financial ways to give.  A unexpected day off for the nanny likely costs you nothing, but is still a meaningful gesture.  Cooking some meals that are easy to reheat and putting them in grandma's freezer costs very little but likely adds tremendously to her quality of life. 

FlorenceMcGillicutty

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 116
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #9 on: May 31, 2013, 08:16:25 AM »
We too give [what we like to believe is] generously.  However, we have no debt, other than property mortgages.  If that weren't the case, then generosity would have to be cut back significantly.  Actually, that's not really true.  *Financial* generosity would be cut back, but we'd try to ramp up the other ways in which we give.  We'd clean grandma's house monthly ourselves, for example, or scour Craiglist to find cheap items to help replace those lost by the nanny for well less than $250.

So to me, it all depends on your current situation.  The fact that you brought it up at all suggests that maybe you are having some doubts, in which case I'd encourage you to look for cheaper or non-financial ways to give.  A unexpected day off for the nanny likely costs you nothing, but is still a meaningful gesture.  Cooking some meals that are easy to reheat and putting them in grandma's freezer costs very little but likely adds tremendously to her quality of life.

Thanks for this. What I found potentially worrisome was the sheer amount we give vs the lines I see in others' budgets here. It's good to hear other perspectives.

As far as my grandmother, I would LOVE to be there to clean myself and cook for her. The problem is that we live in another state and don't see her often. The last time I saw her I realized how much she needed help, hence the cleaners. I also hear you on our nanny. I thought about finding things for her on my own but when I started to I realized how awkward it is to furnish someone else's house for them.... It just didn't feel right. She's very frugal so I ultimately felt the money was better spent in her hands. I know you're offering up examples but I wanted to say that we did think through other options in both cases.

jat9449

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 67
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #10 on: May 31, 2013, 08:33:23 AM »
My grandmother has early-dementia and the state pays for her cleaning lady to come once a week. My grandmother doesn't think it's 'necessary' but it's been very helpful (not only cleaning wise but as additional company since my grandfather passed away). I am only mentioning this, because maybe there is a state/fed. program that your grandmother would qualify for? 

PantsOnFire

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 141
  • Location: PA
Re: Gifts and donations vs. a face punch
« Reply #11 on: May 31, 2013, 08:52:42 AM »
Charitable giving and sensible gift-giving yields a return on investment that is incalculable.  I think if I were to try to put a dollar figure on it, it would exceed any other investments I make. 

Just remember that taking care of your own financial security is paramount, otherwise you'll have nothing left to give.