Taking stock of your total expenses and spending is all well and good. You can finally see where you tend to spend all of your money. Once you know that, what next? Is there a next step or something that this knowledge helps you see?
All over the United States and your local city or community, there are organizations and people that could benefit from money and/or time donated from others. Not only in the United States, but all over the world. There are organizations that help dig fresh water wells in other countries to provide easier access to healthy water. Food banks collect and distribute food to various organizations helping them to feed those they serve. Other organizations exist to guide and help women through pregnancy during crisis periods in their lives.
I know of a great local organization that trains volunteers to watch foster and special needs children while the parents get a few hours to themselves to go to the store or just have a date.
Have you felt challenged to support one or more of these worthwhile causes? Has the thought of supporting them financially been a stressful experience?
Knowing where all of your money is going can help you evaluate if some of those things are good for you and your family. If not, we are still sometimes hesitant to make changes because we are comfortable where we are. I know that I spend too much money buying snacks. However, I can challenge myself to do things differently by asking a question. Which do I want more? Do I want the momentary and fleeting feeling of sugar and carbs? Do I want to help make a lasting impression in the lives of others?
As you make your budget for August (yes, it should be done before August begins), perhaps you can evaluate where you might plan generosity into your budget. Ask yourself the question above if you find yourself stuck on reducing or eliminating certain categories.
After planning and giving away the money, you may be surprised at how you feel.