I never posted about last year’s Year of Something because I was incredibly lazy, but it’s better to be late than never show up, right? I realize I haven’t even talked about what I’m doing this year, but that’s going to have to wait for another post! Last year, however, was a good year. I chose to donat 5% of my income to charities and join a volunteer group.
I’ve donated before, but never on a regular schedule and only $100 or less at a time. I think it was probably mostly because I didn’t have that much money between school, not being paid much, and my loans/credit card bills. Now that I have a well paying job, no credit card bills, and less student loans I’ve reached the point where I’m comfortable in my life and don’t absolutely need all of my income. It’s a weird place to be, but it’s definitely nice. I realize that there are tons of people who aren’t able to get to that point, or causes that need funding, so I thought it would be a good thing to try. It helped that my girlfriend was doing something similar, so I had a companion who was also donating and volunteering.
Once you budget away the money, you really don’t even notice it being gone since you know it was never yours. I tended to batch a couple of months of pay at the same time so that I could donate a lot more to organizations instead of a little here or there. I felt like that would make much more of a difference to those organizations. The first time I donated over $1000, it felt a bit strange. I’ve been wanting a laptop even though I don’t really need one since my desktop works fine; to donate the money instead of use it on myself felt good, especially because of the response I got from who I donated it to. They were very appreciative, to say the least.
As for the volunteering, I joined Ashley’s Seattle Works team and volunteered once a month on a bunch of different projects ranging from cleaning up and doing odd jobs around Child Haven to weed wacking at a farm in South Seattle to cleaning up old folks’ homes in a community. It wasn’t always fun in a traditional sense, but it was nice to know that I was helping people who sometimes seemed like they were barely scraping by.
Overall I’d say the year was a good experience. I got to help out a lot of people through donating money and volunteering and I’ll definitely be doing both in the future.