Needy or Greedy budget this Christmas season?
Christmas is fast approaching and there is no doubt that everyone gets into the spirit of giving during the holiday season. Did you account for that while budgeting? If not that is okay. It is always good to give but make sure you can afford it. I always encourage my clients to donate;
Items considered needs. (food, toiletries and so on) (A TV Doesn’t count)
Why do I say cash last? For one cash flow is king when it comes to running a business or your household budget and secondly, don’t you ever wonder where your cash is going? I had some interesting conversations last week that made me wonder; when it comes to Christmas hampers how many people are needy and how many are greedy? Are they asking for wants or needs?
The topic came up when a client and I were chatting about a Christmas budget and how incorporating giving into that is important. The client proceeded to tell me about a situation last year when the business they work for decided to adopt a family. Everyone in the office contributed and this client of mine was the one that would go do the shopping with the wish list. The list was for a small family with 2 younger boys. My client was shocked when they received the list. The first few items were all $100 video games (for a new gaming system) and other considerably expensive brand name items. My client exclaimed to me “I don’t even budget that much for gifts on my family!”
I then asked a few other people that I know who have adopted families over the years and I was surprised to hear much of the same result. I personally adopted seniors last year and their lists were quite simple and practical. It never even crossed my mind that some people might be struggling with the lists they are given.
On the other hand if you put yourself in that person’s shoes, what types of gifts would you ask for? Extravagant things you know you would never be able to afford? Would you ask for practical everyday items? As a parent would you just want your kids to feel normal and get the same type of gifts other kids get?
I reached out to a local charity to inquire about the process of becoming a family that receives a donation hamper.
I was told that all you need to do is come down with ID, proof of address, proof of income (bank statement, paystub or child tax form), and proof of your monthly expenses (Gas, hydro, rent or mortgage information). Then I asked about people that have higher incomes but have the high expenses to match, she said it is really just done on a case by case basis. (Not a yes, but not a no either)
This worries me as I know quite a few people with low bank account balances that earn a really good income. These people just mismanage their money, overspend and don’t have a budget! Does that mean they can qualify?
After hearing all of this I’ve decided in joining my client to donate money to animal shelters this year. I’ve chosen a local charity, Prince George Humane Society. After all the little critters don’t have a voice or proof of income!
This doesn’t’ mean I won’t donate to families in need. It just means that I will donate my time, food items and other items that are considered needs to local organizations.
What do you think? Do you have any experience from either end of the spectrum?