How to Spend Less on Yourself and Share More with Others (Who REALLY Need It)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Despite my well publicized spending phobia - or maybe because of it - people often assume that the Ultimate Cheapskate must be a mean spirited, selfish, greedy individual.

My wallet anxiety aside, in fact just the opposite is true. Simply put, my goal is to amass a quality of life, not a quantity of stuff. For me it's not just about finding the best values, but valuing the best things in life, which are usually things without a price tag. In short, it's about how to spend less on yourself so that you have more to give to those who really need it. And I'm talking about giving of both your treasure and your time.

Here's an idea: Rather than spend $40 on a six-hour audio tape by some financial pundit telling you how to make a bundle in the stock market, send the 40 bucks to your favorite charity and volunteer for six hours at a homeless shelter. Trust me, spending time with those who are truly needy will do more to motivate you to spend less - and value all you already have more - than any talking head ever will. It'll teach you to spend more time taking stock, and less time buying stock.

"Giving the gift that costs nothing to give, a gift of your time as a volunteer," was the subject of one of my recent appearances on the NBC TODAY Show, and one that's near and dear to my heart. The point of the piece is to present a different perspective on the old adage: "Time Is Money." Sure, that's true enough. So, I say, if you spend less money, you'll have more time --- including more time to volunteer.

If you're interested in finding nonprofit groups near you that need volunteers, try these online resources: (United Way)

Remember that many out-of-pocket expenses incurred while volunteering are tax deductible, including transportation/mileage (See IRS Publication 526 Charitable Contributions). And why not double-down like I do, and donate your tax savings back to the nonprofit organization, since you've already paid for the expense upfront?

Click here to view the Ultimate Cheapskate on the Today Show talking about volunteering:

posted by Jeff Yeager at 8:36 AM


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