From a young age it was clear that I could never be in sales or advertising. Yes, I am fascinated by the marketing tricks that get people to buy things, but only so I can avoid falling for them. While I want to save money, I also want to help other people save. This is probably why I don’t resell, I donate.
I am one of the most frugal people I know. Sometimes I wonder if I cross the line into being cheap. Through all my scheming and planning to save money, there is one thing I don’t do: take money from others.
Be Kind Indeed to a Friend in Need
Not long ago I learned that a friend was pregnant with her fourth baby. I offered her everything I have that I’m no longer using: a like-new infant car seat, crib, high chair, monitors, and various other baby gear. When she asked me how much I wanted, I was taken aback.
If a friend or family member ever asks me if I’m interested in something of theirs and I don’t offer to pay for it, please don’t be offended. The reality is that the thought that a friend or family member would charge me for something would never cross my mind, because I’ve never tried to sell anything to anyone I know.
Looking back through my life, I can’t remember a time I have ever sold anything. Sure, I helped raise money for a charity or organization. But I have never sold anything for personal gain.
How Far Would You Go For A Dollar
It’s disgusting to hear how far some people will go to earn a dollar, especially when they don’t need the money.
When I heard about another pregnant friend whose relative sold her a used car seat, I was infuriated.
First, this was family – how can someone try to profit off a family member?
Second, (and I hate to mention this because although it matters it’s beside the point), the person who sold it was inarguably in a much, much higher tax bracket than the pregnant relative who was already trying to support one child while working as a waitress.
Selling Online and at Yard Sales
Some people make money selling things they no longer use or need. Sure if you need money to eat or keep a roof over your head, this is very sensible. But for someone whose basic needs are met, I couldn’t fathom the thought of taking money from another person.
Never have I ever tried to sell anything online. It’s not worth the hassle of giving out my number and haggling with people over the phone, then meeting up in a parking lot somewhere for a few dollars. No thank you!
Last year I did hold my first yard sale because we actually had a number of furniture pieces we no longer needed and thought it was worth a shot before loading them into the truck. After not selling anything, I decided to give the items (including a leather couch) to charity rather than trying to sell it online.
Usually on yard sale day we just put things (e.g., TVs) on the side-walk with a “free to a good home” sign. Rather than sell, I would rather donate to a charity or give away to someone who can use it.
Thoughts about Monetary Donations
Although I will happily give away anything I am not using, I do not donate money. Some may take this as a sign of cheapness. However, I have legitimate reasons for limiting my donations to needed items.
First, misuse and abuse are sad realities that can’t be ignored. Even churches have abused their power to line the pockets of their pastors with the hard-earned money of well-meaning patrons.
Second, many charities and non-profit organizations have high overhead costs and salaries for their high-ranking staff. Only a portion of each donation actually goes to the people the program purportedly helps, and that proportion can vary widely from organization to organization.
Third, many organizations that ask for donations do not say how the money will be used. Even if the money is being allocated appropriately and going toward the cause, I may not agree with how it’s spent.
After working for a non-profit organization whose mission I was fully behind, I was disappointed to learn where the money went. It did legitimately go toward the cause, but not in a way I would have hoped for. Even though I whole-heartedly believed in the organization, I decided to not give them monetary donations (yes, they even solicited donations from staff).
If you are considering donating to a charity, do your research. Consumer Report has a list of the Best and Worst Charities.
A few years back, a list of the 50 Worst Charities was published, which made national news. Mysteriously, the source article is missing, but the list of Top 10 Worst US Charities (including how much money was raised, how much went to pay the solicitors, and what percent actually went toward the cause) was reproduced in other articles.
What about Donating Time?
These days, I don’t donate my time. I know, everyone is busy. But I truly feel I don’t have time to give at this point in my life. As I write this, I am sitting on my couch leaned over to one side with a 2-year-old lying in my lap a 4-year-old leaning against my back. My husband took the third child to practice. My time is not my own. Once my children are older, I will gladly return to volunteering. But until then, I’m just doing my best to get through each day.
While you may be surprised to hear this from a personal finance blogger, I personally believe it is better to give than to resell.
No matter how “cheap” I may seem, I will always and freely give away anything I am not using to anyone who could use it. And I won’t expect anything in return.
It makes me feel good to help others save money, do something kind, and keep things out of landfills.
Do you donate or resell?