Sunday, 22 August 2010

Generosity vs Frugality?

by Eilleen, Consumption Rebellion

Hello everyone,

I hope your weekend is going well.

A few days ago, I posted in my personal blog about my children's generosity in donating some of their pocket money to help out Olivia, a little girl with cancer.

I have thought about about this incident a little further and thought I'd share. Just a bit of a background. I give my children pocket money as a way to teach them how to manage money - to learn how to set financial goals, delay instant gratification and impulse buys.

So, when my children first took out some of their pocket money to give to Olivia, I have to admit I felt a bit conflicted. While I was overwhelmingly proud of their generosity a small part of me wondered whether I should be encouraging them to continue to save towards their goals first before "giving their money away". I wondered, how can they learn frugality when they make "impulsive" decisions like this?

On reflection, I'm glad I didn't listen to that little voice. For one thing, I realised that as with most things, there will ALWAYS be financial goals to set and reach. However, being rigid on achieving those goals to the exclusion of generosity to others, is....well...rather sad.

Generosity can go hand-in-hand with frugality. One of the things I've learned from the many people here and those who have commented on my blog - that frugality is NOT about being a scrooge - frugality is about making considered choices. Frugality is about ensuring that one has the means to live in accordance with one's values.

So the way I see it, the path to frugality involves a good understanding of yourself and a commitment to your values.

And generosity is about unconditional release of yourself and the sharing of your values with others.

Generosity is an outcome of true frugality.

And in thinking of it that way, I realise that in showing their generosity, my children are already well on the path of learning frugality.

If you would like to know more about Olivia's story, visit this page:


Mrs. Santos said...

"Frugality is about ensuring that one has the means to live in accordance with one's values."

This is great. That is why I try to be so I have more to give away.

Ron said...

Of course, when one is 10 years old and earns $200 by mowing lawns for $5/lawn, and then gives all that money to a neighbor who really "needs" a washing machine while mom and dad encourage... only to watch said neighbor go buy junkfood with it instead... well, it kinda taints the charity thing in general.

But choosing a worthy cause and giving to it is just another expression of making sure those resources count. Exactly what we strive to teach our daughter.


Quatrefoil said...

I think the thing that really moved me about your kids' story is that they really understood the value of the money that they were giving away and they chose to do that anyway. They knew that by giving away that money that they would have to wait longer for the things they were saving for, and they chose to be generous. They understood that the things they were saving for were *wants*, but that the little girl they gave to had *needs* that were much more important. They weren't being spendthrift, they were making a real choice about what's really important. I think you've done your job well, and I'm really pleased that people like your children will be a part of my community.

Cher said...

What a wonderful way to put it! We try and teach giving to our kids along with frugality.. values is what frugality is about to us. A few years back I was a single mom and couldn't afford Christmas in any way, I received help from the salvation army so that the kids could have a nice little Christmas. So when the kettles come out every year the kids and I and my husband make it a point to put our change in them. A way of saying thank you and of supporting other families that are going through a rough time.

My youngest daughter has chosen to give hair. She's growing her hair out for Locks of Love after finding out about a girl who had cancer and lost her hair.. She's 5 and this touched her so much, she has grown her hair out to the required amount already but wants to keep letting it grow through the winter... cut it off and do it again. I love seeing the values we teach our children reflected in what they decide to do...

Sandy L said...

I think being generous is a way to be frugal too. I'm not religious but I do think there is a karma tied to giving. Whenever I give freely, I always get a windfall back shortly thereafter. I don't claim to understand it, but I can attest that it has happened to me on multiple occasions.

Plus, many people who receive things often want to pay you back in some way, even if it's not with money. It all evens out in the end.