It’s time to make giving charity the most important part of our budget and our giving rate the metric we are most proud of.
How to make charitable giving a part of your budget
I talk so much about saving and investing. We all do. It is one of the core tenants of personal finance. Save more than you spend. Save for retirement. Your savings rate (how much money you save a month) is obviously a key indicator of financial wellness.
Money is a tool to be used to better your lives and the lives of the people around you. That means that you do have a moral obligation to help people who are less fortunate than you. This involves giving charity, as much as you can.
Giving 10% of your income to charity
As a Jew, I subscribe to this pretty strongly. There is a Torah commandment to set aside 10% of your income for charity. This, unlike the Christian tithing, is not necessarily meant to go to the synagogue (although you can if you want) but rather to charity- to those less fortunate than you.
Giving 10% of your income (Maaser) has always been a key part of my budget. This is not really negotiable. Even when we were making very, very little money this was always set aside.
My parents were not particularly good with money but they always gave Maaser. I was always instructed to keep track of how much money I made babysitting and other odd jobs so I could give 10% of it to charity. Of course, sometimes that meant I was giving a few cents to charity!
The amount of money that you give doesn’t really matter. It’s the percentage that counts (at least according to Jewish law).