During this time of the year, most of us are caught up in a frenzy of chasing deals and buying presents for friends and family. But today, you've got an excellent reason to pause with all the gift hunting and think about how you can tap into the true holiday spirit of giving — because today is Giving Tuesday (also affectionately known on social media as #GivingTuesday), an annual holiday that celebrates supporting and donating to nonprofits and communities that need a helping hand.
This year, why not bring your focus to feminist charities? There are so many inspiring nonprofits out there that are either founded and run by women, or dedicated to bettering the lives of women everywhere, such as Femsplain, The Global Fund For Women, and #HappyPeriod. Tangibly supporting these organizations is a great way to put your money where your feminist mouth is, because our actions speak louder than...well, you know how the saying goes.
There are a lot of different ways to support feminist charities, too — it's not just about cash. You can volunteer your time to events and fundraisers, donate the sections of your closet you never wear anymore, and spread the word about their work on all your social media accounts.
Of course, contributing financially to feminist organizations is a fantastic way to ensure their services reach as many people as possible. No matter how much we want to give, though, we sometimes convince ourselves we simply don't have the funds to make it happen. The truth is, you probably do (and if you just don't right now, that's OK, too). Often, all it takes is a little bit of effort to find the extra dough.
Here are five tips to actually find the money to donate to feminist charities.
Psst! Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017 starting Jan. 1. Right now, tweet @bustle about how you plan to make 2017 the best year yet. Use the hashtag #2017IRL, and your tweet could be featured on our app.
1. Start Tracking Your Spending Habits
You won't know how much you can comfortably give if you don't first know how much you spend on a regular basis. If you've never kept a close eye on your bank account before and you're a little scared about what you might find, don't be nervous — you might not be spending as much as you think. Studies actually show that millennials spend less every week on eating out than the generations before us, and we're less likely to slap purchases on our credit card willy nilly. Additionally, it's proven that more millennials are tracking their money flow than baby boomers, so you might as well jump on the bandwagon and watch your finances for a good cause.
Use a smartphone app to track your spending habits, like Mint or Goodbudget. These programs will help you budget everything — student loan payments, electricity bill, daily lattes — so you know exactly what you have leftover to use for the holiday season. You'll probably be surprised to see that you do actually have some extra wiggle room to donate to a feminist charity. And if things are looking tight, all it might take are a few extra budget changes to free up some cash.
2. Pick Out The Things You're Unnecessarily Spending On
When you take an honest look at what you spend your money on, you'll almost definitely find a couple areas where you could afford to cut back. Maybe you could start packing a few more lunches to work each week, or you could cut back on all the extra accessories you keep purchasing on the weekend. These are such small sacrifices that you can barely call them sacrifices at all — but next thing you know, you've saved a couple hundred bucks, and you've got plenty of room to budget in a donation that will help improve women's health across the world.
3. Try To Pay With Cash More Often So You're More Aware Of What You're Spending
This is a simple trick that will leave you with no choice but to face how much you're dishing out every day: Ramit Sethi, financial advisor, entrepreneur, and author of I Will Teach You To Be Rich , has recommended living a cash-only life for 30 days so you can get a solid grasp on your financial habits. Ditching your credit card temporarily makes you a more conscious spender; you know exactly how much you're paying for things you really need, how much you're squandering, and you'll think longer and harder about each purchase.
Meanwhile, keep in mind the reason you're trying to save up. Imagine the nonprofit you support and the change you wish to see implemented in the world. That will help you think twice before you whip out another few bucks to buy your third coffee of the day.
4. Set Aside A Physical Jar To Collect Money
Now that you're working with cash more often, it may be easier to intentionally set aside any extra moola you've got in your wallet at the end of the day. Tucking money away in a jar or bag that's pretty much a glorified piggy bank sounds old school (and might feel a little juvenile at first), but having a visual of how much you're saving up will inspire you to keep putting aside money on a regular basis. If it helps, label the container with the name of the charity you're planning to support. Before you know it, you'll have plenty of money in that jar to give a sizable donation.
5. Set A Specific Yearly Goal Regarding How Much Money You Would Like To Donate
Just as you set goals or New Year resolutions in any other part of your life, it's a good idea to set your mind on a financial donation goal for 2017. Pick a date on your calendar and jot down how much you'd like to have donated by then, and you can keep track of how much you're saving along the way. Rather than just holding a faint idea in your head about how much you want to give, a concrete aim will drive you to find the money to donate, no matter how big or small that amount may be. Remember, in the fight to make life better for women everywhere, there is no wrong amount to give — so don't get mad at yourself if you don't end up hitting your goal, either. Every penny counts.
Check out the "You IRL" stream in the Bustle App starting on January 1 for daily tips on how to have an empowering 2017.
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