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Make charitable donations a part of your budget

Posted by Andrew Chan  November 27, 2008 02:30 PM

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According to the Giving USA Foundation™ charitable giving for 2007 exceeded $300 billion dollars for the first time in history despite the tough economy. Historically, a large majority of these donations occur during the last three months of the year. There are many good strategies to ensure that your donations are being made wisely and being used for your intended purpose. However, spontaneous and unplanned monetary donations can sometimes lead to giving beyond your means.

One strategy that can help to prevent this, especially during these difficult economic times, is to include your intended donations in your monthly budget. You can start by setting aside a certain amount of money each month that is earmarked for the charities that you will donate to. Once the money has been set aside you can let it accumulate and make the donation all at once or you can set up a periodic donation to the charity.

Including your charitable donations in your budget allows you to effectively treat it as a planned monthly expense. It spreads out the impact of giving over the entire year rather than just during the holiday season. This gives you better control over the timing and amounts of your donations while still letting you accomplish your charitable intentions. Regardless of the method you choose, you should make sure you still keep good records in order to receive the tax benefits for making those gifts.

Keep in mind that monetary gifts are usually best for charities because it allows them the most flexibility to accomplish their goals but donations of non-monetary items such as goods, services or your time are also excellent ways to give back.

Happy Thanksgiving!

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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Local finance professionals share insights and advice on issues such as budgeting, managing debt, and retirement planning.

About the contributors

D. Abraham Ringer is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER practitioner and a Financial Adviser with Morgan Stanley Global Wealth Management in Boston. He is registered in MA, NH, NY and several other states to which his articles are directed. For more information please visit
Financial Planning Association™ of Massachusetts has 900 members who specialize in the financial planning process. Many of its members engage in philanthropic pro bono work in their communities, recommend legislation, elevate public awareness, promote financial literacy, and advocate for sound economic and tax policies.
Odysseas Papadimitriou is the founder of, a credit card and gift card marketplace, and, a personal finance site. He has more than 13 years of experience in the personal finance industry, and previously served as senior director at Capital One.

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