13 January 2013

I knew it was only a matter of time. Yesterday I was running errands and at the end of the day when I tallied what I’d spent on groceries, my new Wii remote (so I could get back to “The West Wing” on Netflix, of course), and other various and sundry items, I instantly translated the final sum into my new metric: How many days’ worth of donations had I just spent? 

It’s less than two weeks in, and yet now when I spend money,  especially on something that isn’t essential, I think about it in those terms.  I’m not necessarily looking to make this exercise a zero-sum game, where I somehow find a way to cut expenses by  $3,650 to make up for the money I’m giving away. But I do also see this as a way to think before I spend.  

Many of the charities I’m choosing are organizations that help people far less fortunate than I and that’s made me a little mindful about how much more I have than I need. There are times that I buy something new just because I can and that’s a luxury many people don't have. 

I’m really fortunate to be friends with Derek Sivers. Derek started a company called CD Baby. It was a great business idea and, more than that, it was one that treated everyone fairly.  He sold it for $22 million a few years ago and put the proceeds in a charitable trust for music education. He loves seeing how few possessions he actually needs. He hasn’t taken any kind of vow of poverty. Far from it, but he has absolutely no sentimentality or attachment to material possessions. I don’t think I can reach his level and I probably don’t want to, but, if nothing else, I have a feeling this year is also going to bring about some physical shedding of real baggage that goes along with the emotional shedding of some baggage I’m hoping to achieve. 

In that spirit, today’s $10 goes to Goodwill Industries of Southern California.  I wonder if they could back a truck up to my apartment and I could just throw things straight from my closet into a truck? 

Jan. 13: Goodwill Industries http://www.goodwill.org/


  1. I love what you are doing and I look forward to daily reading your blog. Last year each month, I anonymously gave $80 to a person/place that needed it...what you are doing has re-inspired me and is exciting to me. You are awesome!!

  2. Seven of 7- Thank you! What you did sounds incredible. How did you feel after your year of giving? Did it change you in any way?

    Thank you for reading!

  3. It was a joyful year! It was fun to see how others were impacted and to find the next place/person to give to...I became more of a giver and learned more about money and priority and purpose. I want to say again, I think what you're doing is wonderful..you have inspired me to think of ways to step up my giving..I look forward to continuing to read your blog daily. I would also encourage you, if you would need it..and I would read any book that you wrote.

  4. Seven-- What a wonderful result. I'm very curious to see how it impacts me. Thank you for sharing that...and the encouraging words.