For a long time I’ve wanted to work towards giving away half my income to those who need it more than I do.
The philosopher Peter Singer has had a big role in this goal, especially his book ‘The Life You Can Save.’
He argues that the majority of us in Western societies can give away half our income and not suffer. Sure, we may have to give up three coffees a day or the biggest widescreen TV available, but we still have food, water, a car, a house, and a hospital down the road if we get sick.
The idea is that if there is any needy among us, we should be giving to them if we have more than enough. I can’t argue with this.
Many of us live lives of luxury and excess. There’s nothing wrong with enjoying what we have, but I think there’s something wrong when we forget/ignore/don’t care about those who are in need. I believe we have a responsibility to give to those who don’t have enough, and geographical distance or emotional disconnect don’t let us off the hook.
I am not in need of anything, yet I spend my money on me, feeding my pleasure and comfort. The truth is, I don’t give more because of selfishness. I put myself above others.
So, last year I decided to get active about changing this. Good intentions mean nothing without action. As a full-time student who gets paid by the government to study, I thought giving to those in need was the least I could do.
I decided to give at least $50 to a different charity, cause or person each month, and my goal is to increase this amount each year until I give at least half my income away every year.
Last year I gave to animal welfare causes and charities that help people in poverty. I found that I didn’t miss the money at all; I still always had more than enough money.
This year some of my circumstances have changed and now I have to pay for board. I’m disappointed that it limits how much money I can give away but I still made a decision to give at least $51 to a different charity, cause or person every month this year.
Donating money regularly is one of the best lifestyle decisions I’ve ever made. Having a habit of giving helps me be grateful for what I’ve got and escape the clutches of consumerism and materialism. Now, rather than worrying about the money I have to give up, all I want to do is give away as much as I can. There’s something so freeing about giving!
Written by Juni Desireé