Friday, February 22, 2013


**quick little PSA-- the links on my MUST READS page are up and running again! And Hello to everyone coming over from Story of My Life!**

My husband is a dentist. Now that we've been out of the student stage for a while and he's making "real money" and has the title of DDS attached to his name, I feel like there are more expectations for us to help other people. You've mentioned you have a nanny so I kind of assume your family is making "real money" too. How do you decide who you are going to help and who you aren't?
Do you have any advice?
~Confused Philanthropist

First off- Congratulations, sista! Both of you all have done a lot of work to get to this position and deserve a little pat on the toosh for a job well done!

Being in survival mode and living pay check to pay check leaves a) few pennies to spare in the budget, and b) lots of time to dream about how generous you're going to be when you make it! Somehow, though, when the time arrives that every last one of your dollars isn't accounted for, the whole "giving" part isn't as cut and dry as you dreamt it to be.

I've spent a lot of time thinking about this subject in the last few years and am more than happy to share my thoughts.

2 truths I'd like to throw out:
1) You can't help every person/cause out there
2) Whatever you have to offer, no matter how big or small, is valuable

Alright, so let's get started!

Generosity is a mentality 
We all have different plots in life. Waiting to make it to a certain stage, a certain salary, a certain job title before becoming generous is a mirage. Generosity is a mentality. Last winter my sister in law was dreaming out loud. She said she couldn't wait for the day til she could afford to go out to eat and leave the unsuspecting server a fat $100 tip! AWESOME, right?! But here's the truth-- she doesn't have to wait until she's a baller to do that. Maybe it's not a $100 tip, maybe it's leaving a $10 tip on a $7 bill when you get that urge or when you notice a server is having a bad day. Quantities are all relative. A $10 donation to a needy server is equal to a $100,000 donation to a huge corporation/cause. They both fall under the definition of generous. If you want to be generous, just do it, baby!

Decipher helping as you would an investment
Once you get to the point where your income comfortably covers your lifestyle and you find yourself with excess, all of a sudden your eyes are opened to the hundreds of people in need. Suddenly, drawing a name out of a hat seems like the least stressful/anxiety-ridden way to decide who to help! To narrow this down, I've developed one decision-making strategy I use. I look at the person in need or cause as a business. If this were a business idea, would I be willing to support it, expecting some type of monetary return? Do I support the principles, direction, plan, and goals of this business? If so, boom time, here's my check. However, with people/causes, there won't be a monetary/tangible return for you. The return goes to the person you've invested in. But I still want to agree with the principles, directions, plan and goals before I choose to invest in that person. 
The greatest example I have of this is my older brother. For high school graduation, we all received a gift or "scholarship" from him. Throughout our 4 year college experience, he would pay us for our grades: $35 per credit A and $17 per credit B each semester. Which meant, on a good semester, a $300-$400 check was showing up in my mailbox. HUGE deal for a college student. And a super generous gift for a 25 year old guy. In addition to helping me financially, he was exhibiting a great teaching principle. That being that he was willing to help and support me in ventures that led towards me being a better person, that led toward good. He was investing in me and believed that the return would be me being a better person. I have adapted that principle as I choose where to put my money.
Not agreeing with a person's "business plan" enough to donate financially doesn't mean we won't support them in other ways- checking in to see how they are doing, celebrating their victories, etc.

The way my personality works, I'm not a huge give all type of person. I do respect the value of hard work and am an advocate of supporting those who are also investing something of their own, whether that be a strong work ethic, discipline, and/or some of their own money. Every now and then, I'll do something that doesn't follow that rule, but just because of my nature, I usually don't.

While this still leaves a million and one people I could help, at least it narrows it down and I know which ones are a definite NO! It's a helpful process of elimination.

In short, if I think helping someone is going to result in a positive return of character/experience/opportunity, I'm game to donate. 

Giving without attachment/expectation
Being generous can get tricky. You want to know one thing we're all good at as human beings? ...Spending other people's money! Ha! We look at the beat-up Ford Focus at Wholefoods and deem them stupid for buying groceries there and, by the same token, when we're doing a fundraiser, we know exactly who to call because "they're loaded and can totally afford it." Ahem.... guilty! So when people get an inkling you have a little bit of extra money, they may seem to know right where to put it. 
This tip is more directed for when dealing with friends/family/people you know. When situations come up in these circles, you seem to feel a heavy responsibility- almost obligation- to remedy situations. I try to be very clear about why I am choosing to help someone. Helping someone out of guilt, or pressure, or illogically responsibility is not a good source for making decisions. Get to the root of how you really feel {by dissolving any feelings of guilt, pressure, illogical responsibility}. 
Giving to satisfy another person's expectations is dangerous. Giving should be done without attachment. Meaning their should be no expectations {other than whatever is outlined} when giving. If you choose to give money to someone, it's unfair for you to then critique how they spend their money. If you choose to give money, you should not expect an elevation in relationship status. If you choose to give, you have to detach yourself from the results of that donation. The recipients behavior may determine whether or not you help them again, but once you have made one isolated decision, you have to let it be and not have strings attached. When you choose to give- or not give- it should be done without expectation of a return. This allows for the opportunity to protect and maintain a healthy relationship while also being generous.

It's your money, your choice
Which is awesome! Because in the end, you get to set your own rules! No one can tell you how to be generous. So if there's something you don't want to donate to simply because you don't want to, that is just fine. We can't save the world alone and shouldn't beat ourselves up because of that!  If others don't agree with our choice to not help a situation, the problem lies in their hands, not ours. 

Follow your Heart
Cheesy? Of course. But once you do your homework on the above two things, take a bit of time to listen to what intuition is telling you-- it won't fail you!

Suerte, my friend! And remember....these are good problems to have so don't get too stressed out!

xoxo gizay


Alright y'all, that's what I got. Please, PLEASE, throw in your two cents. We all deal with this near daily...hello Girl Scout cookies, homeless handouts, donate a dollar to Cure for Breast Cancer....any of this ring a bell?!! We're making these decisions on the daily.  How do you make yours?!! Any follow up questions, I'll answer in the comment section.

Keep the questions coming! Is it too forward to admit that I'm absolutely loving this?
Hit me up at, Subject: ASK GAY.

Have a fan tab weekend and party like it's 1999 3012!


  1. When we were struggling college students we always talked about the things we would do when we "made it". We talked about all the ways we would ease the burden for future struggling college students. Now we realize how much we learned and grew through those years and how valuable all those struggles were. We do a few things for a college students that we know but mostly by way of offering them jobs babysitting, tutoring and other odd jobs. I think that it would be cheating them of great learning experiences to give the way we originally intended.

  2. I would also say - involve your kids as much as you can. teaching your children to be giving and kind is a tremendously valuable lesson. Growing up we didnt always have a lot of money but my mom always tried to teach us the importance of giving in a way that we could.

  3. I really like what you said about being generous in any way. I always want to do big grand things, realize I can't, then do nothing. Even if paying for dinner is too much, maybe just pay for dessert! I agree with Kady I always thought the same thing, we learned so much and are still learning so much about money and finances. I also appreciate when we were helped, it is a way to show you care. Getting the kids involved is a great point too!

  4. We are 'small' givers, as in... we'll donate that dollar to breast cancer awareness or donate our change for an illiteracy fund, but we don't believe in hand-outs and we don't believe in giving to those who aren't willing to help themselves first. We just go with the flow, if we can't afford it, we say no. But if a dollar or two isn't going to break the bank and we are at least know about the cause and know it's real, we go for it. No matter how big or how little a donation, it always helps!

  5. ANONYMOUS! That's my favorite way to be generous. Leave something on the doorstep that you know would help, ring the door bell and run!

  6. Also love the giving with the right Intentions vs giving because you can and feel guilty. Even if it is a dollar for breast cancer as I check out at the store. There is so much to be learned when it comes to giving and also receiving.


    I don't know if this is accurate, but makes you think twice about donating to these "good charities" (aka paying their ceo's salary!) If it's those cute kids coming around my neighborhood selling something, I always almost give in because that was me 15 years ago! I feel like they are working for something and I like to support them as long as I can afford it :) If it's family members or friends that are seeking help the situation gets much trickier and is very personal. If you do decide to give, I think it's best to look at that as a gift and not expect anything back, so make sure you have that money to actually give out! If they do give back, great, if not you have no hard feelings or judgments towards them or how they're spending their money. I also love the idea of being generous in smaller ways because I've always been excited to someday leave that huge $100 tip, but next time I can, I'll just make it a smaller large tip!


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