(image from bbc.co.uk)
Coming towards the end of the month [already? Yes!] I can tell that we are not going to make the £750 target for savings this time. Given the circumstances of the month and the extra expenses we have incurred, I am not surprised at all, and have decided to be grateful that I can achieve £500 and be satisfied with that. It is still a sizeable sum, and will help us on our way.
It helped a little this week to be able to insure the FH's little Fiesta for only £160 instead of the £193 originally quoted. I tweaked the quote a little, reduced the annual mileage to 6000 miles, which is very generous for him - he probably does a lot less than that, actually, but that was as low as I dared to go this time - and that generated a better quote. I have both cars on the same policy now with Aviva, and it has saved money over last year's costs, so I am pleased with that.
BUT posts like this one from Ann Voskamp really made me think about our charitable giving this year. Her writing moved me to tears yesterday and really challenged me to consider more carefully what I am doing.
We do give money to charities in a variety of ways. I make an annual donation to the Salvation Army at Christmas each year in memory of my mother - and it is a decent one, not just a pound or two.
We donate in the offering plate to the chapel every Sunday morning, and even if we are not there on a Sunday, I make sure that the offering gets there one way or another.
I make the cakes for the Friday morning Craft groups and the Thursday afternoon get togethers at the chapel, which means that food doesn't have to be bought in.
We regularly donate prizes for raffles and tombolas at chapel.
We supported the Operation Christmas Child boxes last year, and intend to do so again this year, with various items bought and made.
I am helping to support a child through the #ShareNiger project.
We support fundraising at school for our partner school in Africa, for Comic Relief, and Children In Need.
We leave bags of clothes out for roadside collections, and take bags to the local charity shops.
But, do you know what? I realised yesterday that this is all too comfortable, as Ann puts it. It is easy, it is not that challenging, and it doesn't move us out of our comfort zone here in England. I am not going to go on mission trips to Africa or South America or Asia, I am not going to do anything that dramatic.
BUT if I can put aside money each month for our future, surely I should be able to help someone to live NOW?
It seems hard to look through various charities and decide which one to support, but that is what I am going to have to do. Do I go with Plan International, Save the Children, Compassion, Mary's Meals, or WaterAid? How do I choose? I looked at a website just yesterday which was asking me to choose a particular child to sponsor - I couldn't do it - choose one over all the others!
I'm going to pray over this this weekend and try to come to a decision. If anyone has any advice to offer, I'd be pleased to read your comments. Thank you.