We all know the saying, “Sharing is Caring.” It’s been embedded in our conscience since early childhood. Does this trendy preschool phrase mean anything to a teenager? More than likely not. But if I were to challenge their rapidly growing, young adult minds, I’d say: Read between the lines. There might just be more to that long-forgotten moment when you had to give up Mr. Potato Head for a playmate after being ever so intent on rearranging its parts.
By some means, you have started earning money, which is awesome! Great job. If you’re interested in taking it further by sharing your money or giving back, this article is for you.
You will learn why sharing money as a teenager is important, how to share your money, when to get parents involved/ask for help, and how you can share more than just your money.
We’ll also provide definitions related to sharing, as well as helpful resources to guide you further along in your pursuit of generosity. You probably should give yourself a pat on the back at some point during this read. Just sayin’.
Why Sharing Your Money Is Important
We tend to look at ‘sharing’ as a good thing, right? Hence the previously mentioned phrase spoken to us since birth. Growing up, we shared crayons, toys, and other little trinkets that were meaningless. But the good deeds are what went a long way. And, over time, it has shown us what truly matters. Fast forward to now, and there is more of an obligatory inclination involved. In other words, money is the new name of the game.
Money is a limited resource that must be continually replenished to pay for just about anything. It solves many of our day-to-day problems, providing personal financial security. When we have it, all is right with the world! Think about when you needed project supplies for a big science fair contest or had to help fundraise for your school club. What about when you planned a small summer getaway with a group of friends? Or even when you took up extra lessons from a tutor for the semester. Money was used in all of these instances. And rightfully so. How about we shift the way money could be spent that would be less of a necessity or interest to you. Perhaps you decide to take away funds you’d typically use to go to a pizza shop every Friday with your friends. After calculating entire months’ worth, you notice that you’d have enough to possibly give out or share. Truthfully, that amount could be life-changing to someone – giving you a leg up on making a difference.
Being generous with money is an important component of financial independence.
So why not get intentional?
Sharing money offers you many other benefits, which we will break down for you. Here are a few solid reasons why sharing money is important.
Brain Power. Money has some serious effects on the brain. Sharing money has been shown to have a positive impact on the brain and promote improved cognitive function. More noticeably, it makes you happy!
World Impact. You can start anywhere, from helping a next-door neighbor in need with a couple of bucks to making a small donation to your favorite global charity. The sky is the limit when it comes to sharing money you have with others.
If you don’t know of any global charities, find one here and start sharing!
Ignite Passions. What is the one thing you are most passionate about? Is it Broadway Musicals? Space Engineering? Music? Culinary Arts? Find a charity related to your passion and donate to them. Unsure of a passion? Consider your talents or the things you’ve always wanted to try.
Encourage Others. Sharing can have an awfully contagious effect on people. You can spur a ripple effect throughout your community just by making a small but mighty difference. If someone is watching, then it’s working. You can also actively encourage by talking to your friends or family members about how important it is to give back and that it’s worth trying.
Tax Benefits. Any charitable contribution you make can give you and your family a tax break every year. You can benefit from the dollars you contributed to a charity for a deduction in your taxable income or from unwanted items that were donated to charity by claiming the value of the goods as a deduction. If you’re a dependent but still help your parents with filing, here’s a charitable tax deduction resource to walk you and your parents through the process.
Money Management Skills. Sharing money adds up; it’s true. That’s why taking time to calculate the money you are making and the money you are spending is important. This will allow you to see just how well you’re positioned to share your wealth. Whether you are earning money through a job or receiving an allowance, portion out a certain percentage of your earnings to practical donations that won’t break the bank.
College Admissions. Everyone loves a cheerful giver. Even the colleges you are looking at getting into someday soon. Colleges want to know that prospective students have philanthropy work experience, whether big or small.
How to Share Your Money
Donating to charity is not the only way to share your money and to help give back to the community.
Donate to Local Food Banks
Create a grocery list and decide on the amount you’d like to spend on unopened, canned, and boxed nonperishable food items of your choice. Buying in bulk is usually cheaper per unit, and you want to play smart when spending. When buying items in large enough quantities, you can use what’s leftover or you may decide it’d be more useful for subsequent donation trips to the food bank when you keep those extra food items stored away.
Family/Friends/Strangers in Need
Whether sharing money with the people closest to you or with distant strangers, the deed is what matters. If you’ve observed a family member or relative who has been going through financial hardship, find out from your parents – they may just be in the best position to know for sure. This will give you the proper green light to assist if it’s within your means. They may think it’s a great idea and chip in with you. If you happen to be walking on a street or in a public place and notice someone who could use help, first check and see if there is anyone else around to help, and then use your intuition to know if they are actually in need. Though you can’t always tell, try your best and leave the rest.
This convenient, no-frills way to reach millions in need is a great option. But whether online or offline, never give to a charity you know nothing about. Do your research. There are several reputable and safe websites to use when looking for who to give money to, like change.org. If you aren’t sure if the one you found is legit, just ask your parents.
When to Ask Parents for Help
As mentioned before, an excellent area for parents to come in and help is during tax season – when filing taxes and making tax deductions. It can get complicated, even for adults. And if you happen to be categorized as a dependent of your parents, which most teenagers are, let your parents lead on this one. This will also ensure that the numbers are punched in correctly, and add up.
You may also find you need parental help with sharing money when:
- Looking for charities. Your parents can connect you with charities that they are familiar with and have been donating to. Find out why they chose that charity and if it interests you.
- Volunteering. It’s always better with a team. Getting your family involved makes a bigger impact and can create a space for bonding and spending quality time.
How to Share More Than Just Your Money
It isn’t all about money. Take action by giving your time and effort. Here are some incredibly effective ways to do so:
- Volunteer at an assisted living facility or local nursing home
- Start your own fundraiser for someone you know in need or for a cause that you strongly believe in. If you’d like to make an impact by speaking up for others, get started here.
- Find local volunteer opportunities at volunteermatch.org
- Hold a bake sale and donate your profits to a charity
- Offer to foster pets in your home or volunteer to help at an animal shelter
- Volunteer at afterschool programs to tutor younger kids
- Get the whole family to sell cold waters on a hot day and donate proceeds to charity
- Volunteer at a Special Olympics event.
- Donate blood. Contact your local blood center for more information.
- Perform chores. If you know someone who needs help with yard work or shoveling snow
- Donate old, used textbooks for younger kids to use, or new, unused books to give away to your local library
Sharing Money Definitions
- Donation: something that is given to a charity, especially a sum of money
- Contribution: a gift or payment to a common fund or collection
- Allocate: to distribute for a particular purpose
- Crowdfunding: the process of raising money from a large number of people in order to fund a project, a company, or a cause
Books You Can Read About Sharing Money
Here are links to some books that may be useful in learning more about what it takes to effectively and responsibly share your wealth (while also building it!) and get you started on the right path to financial independence. Head over to our teen money books library for more great reads!
One of the reasons we give back is to show just how grateful we are for what we have that someone else may lack. Using this journal can help channel your thoughts and feelings about it more expressively and to feel encouraged by listing a few things you are grateful for daily.
Smart Money Smart Kids: This family-friendly book written by a father and daughter duo gives valuable lessons on working, spending, saving, and giving back. They also touch on more challenging issues like paying cash for college to stay debt-free. The daughter’s perspective makes it most relatable to teens and easy to understand.
The Opposite of Spoiled: This book is a strongly recommended read for parents of teenagers like you who are growing mindful of making money decisions. This is worth reading with your parents.
Giving Greatness: Perfect for pre-teens, this storybook provides engaging and practical stories that all kids can relate to that have already started dealing with money and making smart decisions with it.