Broke-Ass Financial Coaching: Broke Ass Giving

Updated: Sep 15, 2009 09:34
The Bay's best newsletter for underground events & news

While being young, broke and beautiful is all well and good, some people’s finances are more jacked than others.  That’s why we’ve invited Betsy Crouch (aka Coach $izzle) to come onboard and dole out some much needed advice.  She is a professional financial coach after all.  If you’ve got a question you’d like answered please email her  Maybe your question will be the next one answered.

How much should I be giving back?  – kg

I know some of you are thinking, 'œCoach Sizzle, I’m a Broke Ass!  I don’t have anything, I can’t believe you are talking about '˜giving’ today!'  Well, bear with me, I’ll write about receiving too.

Kg, thank you for your question.  I want to point out, that your question was, 'œhow much should I be giving back?'  Here’s my answer: I don’t know.  Whew.. column done! I can go get some one dolla tacos!

Okay, seriously.  Is the question should I give money to give money so I can feel like I am a good person?  Or is it, how much should I give to positively impact the world? Or is it some other question?  First get clear about that.

So, let’s say you are going to give, how do you decide how much?  Some people would say, “nothing.”  To those people I say, what if the tree decided to not give any oxygen back after it takes your carbon dioxide? Right.  Other people would say, 'œgive everything!' I know there are many of you reading this who give A LOT.  You give a lot of time, money, energy, and love.  To you, I say, maybe you need to practice receiving?

Giving and receiving are both important for an equal exchange of energy. We live in a world of painful imbalances.  We also live in a world of great possibility.  Some magical and positive results come from equal energy exchange.  Don’t take my word for it, the founder of the site 29 gifts experienced miraculous results when she took the 29 day gift giving challenge her spiritual adviser gave her, which lead to creating a global giving movement. We all have a lot to give and it feels good!

So, how much to give? You decide what is right for you.

Ask respected family members, mentors, and spiritual leaders what their opinions of giving money are. Then, ask yourself, what feels right to me?  You could set a goal for the impact you would like to have, a percentage guideline such as tithing, or a monetary goal.

For me what is important is that my giving and receiving are aligned with my values.  Right now, I don’t have a giving minimum or percentage that I shoot for.  I have an intention to give.  I practice giving away things that are really special to me, when I feel someone else would really enjoy it.  For organizations I believe in, I buy event tickets and silent auction items.  I give small donations and encouragement.  How do you know how much money you donate goes towards actual programs versus administrative costs? Look up organizations on Charity Navigator, and see.  Finally, I ask for birthday gifts from family to be donations to organizations I believe in and care about.

What can you give besides money?

Could you volunteer some of your skills or time to someone else or to an organization you care about?

Do you leave food on your plate at a restaurant?  If so, get it wrapped and give it to someone who is hungry.  Don’t let it go to waste.

Give away any clothes in your closet that you have not worn in the last year. Someone else will appreciate what you have.

Would you like to give a gift that keeps on giving?  How about setting up a account and lending $25 to an entrepreneur in a developing nation?  When the money is paid back to your account you can pick another entrepreneur to lend it to. I have a Kiva account and I love that I can help many people with the same amount of money!

The Giving Tree is Brent Sullivan’s favorite book.  Can he read it without crying?

We are all different.  Listen to what feels right to you and honor that.

Like this article? Make sure to sign up for our mailing list so you never miss a goddamn thing!
Previous post

The Broke Ass Guide to Learning

Next post

FREE Kimchi Burgers at New York Hotdog and Coffee

Betsy Crouch - Coach $izzle

Betsy Crouch - Coach $izzle

Betsy hates to brag, but she grew up in Michigan. An unhappy materialist/rabid consumer turned minimalist, Betsy feels right at home in the warm socially responsible arms of San Francisco. With an Economics degree, a basic financial certification, and a range of personal experience, she has developed a unique financial coaching philosophy. She wants you to feel a sense of serenity with your finances and she shares what she has learned from coaching almost 200 people one on one. Betsy wants you to embrace your "sizzle," and for you to become a more confident and empowered Broke Ass.


  1. Laurel
    September 1, 2009 at 9:41 pm

    Awesome post!

  2. Coach Sizzle
    September 2, 2009 at 8:17 am

    “If you had $10 and you weren’t sure whether to give it to charity or not; think about what would happen to that $10 if it wasn’t given. How would it be spent? If the return on what it was spent on (red vines for me while on a diet… negative returns essentially) isn’t as big as the return if given to charity (2 meals for 2 people who are hungry and need calories) then you want to put the funds where there is biggest return (whether it be social or what have you)!

    just another random thought…” – DD

  3. September 2, 2009 at 8:52 am

    awesome! dig kiva and the idea of recycling my donation 🙂

  4. hungrytothemax
    September 3, 2009 at 8:54 am

    I love it! I do have a comment about practice receiving. For me, I practice receiving every time I give. What I receive, you can’t put a price tag on it and so in giving my time, love, energy, and money to those in need, in a way, I am receiving way more than those I am giving to.

    Also, a great way to give is to “randomly” go to a university and find a graduate student, and offer to pay his or HER tuition. : Hint hint. If interested, I will tell you where you can send the check. I would be happy to practice receiving. 🙂

    Sizzle, YOU ROCK!