Post # 1
FH and I donate 10% of our income to good causes, and the conversation of how to do it has been put off until tonight. Last year, we each decided how to donate 5%. We talked about trying to do it more as a couple this year, and trying to figure out a balance.
A little background- I have never wanted to donate 10%, but agreed reluctantly. We had debated on whether to donate based on pretax or our actual income. FH said that due to deductions, it didn’t matter, and we agreed before we got married to base it off our pretax income. Since then we have found out that that only works for federal taxes, and we have been unable to come to an agreement since. An added issue is that FIL needed money several months ago, and we agreed to take the money we gave him out of our donations. Thus, we don’t get a tax deduction on that. The other point that I expect to debate is that we have given lots of clothes, books, furniture, etc. to charity, and I think the value (based on goodwill amounts) should be deducted, and I am almost positive FH won’t see it this way. I really think we should do it based on what we actually take home, and if we get a deduction, that’s our reward for being generous.
Am I being unreasonable on any of these points? If not, any suggestions for how to approach FH? Thanks!
Post # 3
I agree that it should be based on your take home. I don’t know about you but for us it’s really hard to itemize now that we don’t have a house that goes into itemized deductions. Make sure that you can really afford what you are giving. I’m not trying to be selfish there but realistic.
Post # 4
I don’t have specific advice but I found an excellent FREE program to keep track of your annual deductions.
It’s http://www.itsdeductible.com. It tracks everything you give and imports directly to Turbotax if you use that (but you don’t have to). It makes me really happy to check out how much we are giving along the way and very easy to use. They itemize all of your donations too. For example, I donated women’s jeans in good condition and 3 t shirts in fair condition–and it gives you a specific cost for each item.
Sometimes I think, we could have so much more $ to go to our car fund or education savings or IRA if we didn’t give so much, but ultimately I realize it helps us to stay on track in the bigger picture of our lifelong goals and how we want to impact the world with our finances. Hoping for the best and that you work out an agreement to both of your satisfaction soon!
Post # 5
Oh It’s Deductible is great for keeping track of donations made to Goodwill and places like that!
Post # 6
I think it should be done on take home pay, too. But i’d have a hard time with 10% of our joint pre-tax salary…that’s a car, dude. I’m generous, but i can’t be THAT generous, eek! It’s just not an affordable thing for us. Like MissAsB said, make sure you actually CAN afford it and are okay making those personal sacrifices (i’m currently saving for a car so uh, sorry, i’m selfish),. And clothes, etc totally count. I add that to my donation deductions list.
If you aren’t on board with the 5%, how do you feel about donating your time? I’d rather donate my time than money.