Save while you give

Tis the silly season. It’s a time of gift-giving, office Kris Kringle and overindulging. It’s also prime time for donating to various charitable causes a. because you want to give to others less fortunate to yourself during the festive season and b. because many community organisations do campaigns at this time. While you might be tempted to take a scatter-gun approach to giving this Christmas, digging deep to anyone who asks, focusing on a single charity or cause could make it easier for you to manage your money while you give. Here are four ways to make your giving work for you.

1. Pick one cause

To prevent yourself from going overboard on charitable giving, think about the causes that mean the most to you. Whether it’s childhood cancer, mental illness awareness or saving the whales, channel your philanthropic energy toward that one area. Then, research the charities in line with your vision of giving and commit to donating to one or even just a handful of them. You’ll know you’re helping your chosen causes with your efforts while staying on top of your budget, plus your commitment may mean your money can be put to more use than just a one-off donation.

2. Work it into your budget

Factor your charitable giving into your budget at the beginning of the year or each month. This way you’ll always be in control of your finances rather than if you give to charity in a haphazard way. If you need help to do your budget, check out our interactive budget planner.

3. Make it automatic

Treat your donations like your other bills. Setting up automatic payments for charity donations can keep you on track and prevent overspending while you’re trying to save. You can also spread your giving into quarterly payments to pay out larger increments throughout the year. And remember many donations have a tax deductible component, so you may be able to get a deduction for your generosity.

4. Give something different

Giving isn’t just about cash. There’s no end to the free ways you can give back. You can donate clothes, toys or books or volunteer in a community project for the homeless. Mentor an underprivileged child or train to take calls at a phone help line. Maybe you can get involved in one of the numerous community organisations the Commonwealth Bank helps out. Or, look for an opportunity in your area on SEEK’s Volunteer site.

How do you make giving back work for you?