In addition to all of the graduation expenses that have hit me hard this month, I've been nickel and dimed quite a bit, too. We started off the month with a Lee Jeans Day for Breast Cancer at work. A $5 donation, and you get to wear jeans to work. This is completely "optional" but I'm also well aware that it is noticed by the powers that be who participates in the various fundraisers. so I participated. Then we also had the United Way pledge drive. And of course I participated in that too --- that will start as a payroll deduction in January. Also this month we have a canned food drive. All are worthy causes, no doubt about it, but those, combined with other things this month are eating into my bottom line deeply. (I have a separate budget category for the causes I regularly contribute to, so these are over and above my normal level of giving).
Next up, we have departmental birthdays. For each person in the department that has a birthday, we each chip in $10 and the birthday boy or girl gets a nice wad of cash. While it is fun to get that wad of cash, basically we are just getting back what we put in over the course of the year (unless of course someone leaves after they've had their birthday so they are no longer contributing) so I really see no point in it. Trading money to me just has no purpose. Each year I try to be the voice of reason, but majority rules. This month we have 2 birthdays, so there goes another $20. Add in 2 funeral plants for extended family members of a coworker and another former coworker and there's another $20.
I know I sound completely UNGENEROUS (is that a word?). But I do give to causes I find worthwhile over the course of the year --- I budget it in. I also give a lot of time to worthwhile organizations over the course of the year, too. Giving, to me, is an important part of a balanced life. I'm just not sure I like this month's "Giving Til It Hurts" phase. We're only 13 days in and I've put out $55 in unplanned giving. (Yes, I forgot about the birthdays this month and didn't include them in my budget!)
And wow, this post sounds SO much more stingy than I intended.... I'm just trying to figure out where I'm going to cut my budget to absorb those things I hadn't planned for --- my "Misc" category was already consumed, and then some, with the graduation expenses! Back to tweaking the budget!