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Do You Give Money to Your Alma Mater?

holiday donations

Since almost a third of charitable contributions happen in December, it’s no wonder our mailboxes and inboxes are full of pleas this holiday season. I get it. I’ve served on nonprofit boards in the past, and I know first hand how much end of year donations mean for next year’s funding. Over the years, we’ve been fortunate to have the ability to give back to a variety of organizations, but one place I’ve never given a penny to is the universities I’ve attended. Do you give money to your Alma Mater? I have no issue with either of the higher education institutions that educated me and laid the foundation for my career. My undergraduate work was at Western Kentucky University, a medium sized, state school that is actually in the south central part of Kentucky. Western was kind enough to give me a full ride through college which allowed me to come out of undergrad debt free. Southern College of Optometry traded a doctorate degree in exchange for $60,000 in student loans. I actually don’t regret borrowing that money, although I probably could have gotten by on less. Obviously, SCO prepares students pretty well because they have had a zero ...

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My Trip to the Food Bank

Laurie at The Frugal Farmer wrote a post a while back about how her mom worked really hard but just didn’t have enough money for groceries at one point. That post really stuck with me, and I vowed to find out more about the food banks in our community to see if there was something I could do to help. After I read an article in the local paper that asked for food donations,  I knew it was time for action. While I wasn’t really looking for a cheap route, I found out that giving food to the needy is actually one of the least expensive ways you can give back to the community. Clean Out the Pantry First I started with my own pantry. We’ve been doing really good about eating things we already have on hand, but sometimes you find food in your cabinet that you know you’ll never eat. I’m not sure why I had four jars of pickles. I also found a package of pre-made Spanish rice, a can of soup in a flavor we’d never eat,  and an unopened box of cereal that no one in my house likes. It makes me wonder if goblins ...

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Is There Ever a Reason to Blow Your Christmas Budget?

As you may know, I am working very hard toward paying off debt and staying within a budget for the first time ever. We’ve been doing really well. We haven’t gone overboard with Christmas presents and have used rewards points, bartering, or baking for most of what we’ve done so far. However, I went out to lunch with a co worker this week and what I saw caused me to blow my Christmas budget. First of all, since I don’t go out for lunch, I was terribly excited to get to go to my favorite lunch place, Once Upon a Sandwich. It was even better that I had to meet with my insurance biller to discuss end of the year details. It was a business lunch and didn’t cost me a thing. Our table was by a Christmas tree that had one lone ornament. The “ornament” was actually a piece of red construction paper cut out in the shape of a stocking. On it was written: Boy Age 14 Fallen /DC or Graphic T-shirts Size M/L Jeans 30/30 The tree was for selecting a child to adopt for Christmas. This particular one was for children in foster care, and this ...

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Charitable Giving: Your Time Is As Valuable As Money

Donating your time to charity

I think I first paid attention to the power of charitable giving when I was in junior high school. My mom’s best friend was battling cancer, and they got involved with the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life Event. When you put a bunch of Southern women on a project, you can bet you will see results. Our tiny little town with a population of 3,000 raised over $100,000 for cancer research. Although, there is still no universal cure for cancer, seeing those numbers and the pride those ladies took in raising that money really took hold. Since then, I have been involved with some charities that deserve as much attention as a Best Buy ad the day after Thanksgiving.  The best thing about my favorite charity experiences is that my time was as valuable as my money. If you are trying to get out of debt, save money, or just keep you head above water, you certainly can give of yourself without spending a penny. Big Brothers/Big Sisters My first real charity work without family involvement began with Big Brothers/Big Sisters when I was in college. I certainly had no excess money to donate. My time was about all I had other than my ...

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