Saturday, January 23, 2010

How to help on a budget.

Did I say I was going to tell you about Mark's job situation...? Oh yes about that... well... Yeah, I'll get to it. For now; read this!

Remember my series on "ethical consumerism" looks like I'm going 'round that mountain again.

There are people all over the world, who starve. Everyday. We know this. We understand the global crisis we are in. My hope is that each family commits to meeting the needs of the victims of this crisis on a regular basis. But sometimes, something happens. Something big enough to grab the whole worlds attention and inspire the more fortunate to help the less fortunate. Sometimes, it takes something as terrible as an earthquake, hitting a country so poor that every structure, barely standing in the first place, is reduced to nothing but rubble.

It is nearly unimaginable to think of a country as ill equipped as Haiti to deal with a natural disaster of this magnitude.

So, we step in.

If you live on more than $2.00 a day, you are among the worlds richest 20%.

When you put it that way, donating funds to humanitarian efforts in Haiti seems like an easy task.

But then you start paying bills…

And suddenly, you realize that you’re spent.

You want to help, but how?

I’ll start out by saying this, Haiti doesn’t need your old stuff. See the article affectionately called No one needs your old shoes, how not to help in Haiti

The only way to truly be of any help at all is by prayer and monetary donation. But if you’re like us, a young family with one income and a few little kids, you’ve got a pretty tight budget to adhere to.

So what do we do? We juggle. We give something up, because right now, in this instance, it means love.

Have you ever heard the stories about what people at home in the States did during the world wars? They did things like flatten their rolls of toilet paper so that they could fit more rolls in a box and save on shipping costs. They did things like eating fish instead of beef so that the government could ship more grain to the troops instead of using it to feed cattle. They had civilian rations. They gave something up, because everyone had to do something.

What can you give up?

We have started small and I have a feeling it’s going to grow. For now, we’ve halted all eating out, including the “grabbing a snack to eat at the grocery store” habit that I’ve been wanting to snub for a while now. (Like I said this is a small start because our idea of “eating out” is ordering a medium pizza 2 or 3 times a month.) Also, I’ve been slowly savoring the bag of chocolate chips in the pantry because I know, when that’s gone, the only time I’ll eat chocolate is when I’m offered it somewhere outside of our home. I’ve also pulled out all of my cheapest and longest penny stretching meal ideas that I’ve ever had. At the end of the month, we’ll see just how far these little changes have brought us. Any and all money that we’ve saved will then be donated to World Vision. We trust this charity and have been a part of their efforts for many, many years.

I encourage you to think about your spending habits. Look over your budget and see where you can juggle a little, choose something to give up for a while. And commit to actually donating the money you saved. You’ll be glad you did.