Giving Money Away

Last week I wrote about our plan to eventually have a net worth of one million dollars.

This week we are giving money away. $100,000 to be exact, maybe more.

(Read about our one million dollar plan or check out our net worth tracker.)

UPDATE: Carrie and I released a podcast episode called Spontaneous Planned Giving that you might enjoy.

The $100,000 Breakdown

As of July 2014 we currently give $360 a month to our church and we set aside another $100/mo for random, unexpected giving opportunities. Sometimes they show up, sometimes they don’t.

On average we give away $410/mo. That is $4920/year. We also usually give $200 to Affordable Christmas in December. Our total yearly giving is around $5120.

So far during our 4 1/2 year marriage we have given away around $12,000 so we have $88,000 more to go until we reach $100,000.

At our current monthly giving rate it will take 17.1 years to give away $100,000. As our income increases, we will give away more, so it will probably take less than 17.1 years.

The $100,000 Plan

The plan is simple, keep giving money away.

When our income goes up, give more. If it ever goes down, give away less.

When we see a need we can meet, meet it.

The $100,000 Reason Why

Carrie and I give money away for several reasons.

Giving is biblical. As Christians, we are called and commanded to give sacrificially.

Giving helps us to be thankful and grateful for what we have.

Giving money away changes the way we view the money that we keep.

When part of your financial plan includes regular giving, you become financially stronger and more stable yourself. Being strong enough to give can be part of the reason why you are able to make progress.

It’s like a farmer growing more than enough food for his family. That farmer is so ‘strong’ that he will likely never be in need because he has arranged his life in such a way that he has more than enough.

The $100,000 club

What is your plan for giving money away? What are your reasons for giving money away?

If you already have a written plan for giving, great, let us know about it. If you don’t have it written out yet, whip up a sweet post and let us know about it.

Post a comment below with the link or send me the link to your giving plan and I will list it here.

Featured Giving Club Members:

Tim Stevens: @timstevens —

Eric: @narrowbridge & @DenverEric  —

Root of Good: @rootofgoodblog —

FI Fighter: @FI_Fighter —

FI Fighter: @FI_Fighter —

Brian: @debtdiscipline —

Brian: @debtdiscipline —

Jeff Anderson: @acceptable_gift —

Jeff Anderson: @acceptable_gift —

Michelle: @fitisthenewpoor —

Michelle: @fitisthenewpoor —

Mario Bonifacio: @mariobonifacio —

Ree Klein: @ReeCKlein —

Julie Mayfield: @JulieKLMayfield —

Julie Mayfield: @JulieKLMayfield —

Julie Mayfield: @JulieKLMayfield —

Andy Prescott: @ArtofBeingCheap —

Andy Prescott: @ArtofBeingCheap —


*Sidenote about boasting/bragging. I sure hope it doesn’t sound like we are boasting. We aren’t. The difference between boasting about giving and talking about giving is in the attitude. Our attitude is in the right place. Our aim is to have an open, honest, encouraging conversation about money and that includes giving. I think it would be a disservice if we talked openly about most areas of money and then kept the giving conversation covered up. I think most people will get it, some won’t, and I am okay with that. I am willing to be misunderstood by some in order to encourage many others. You can read more about why we talk so openly about money here.

  • J. Money

    I’m a big fan of the “giving randomly” route. In fact, I’ve made it a rule to always say yes to donating whenever asked by a friend/family member. Same if asked on the streets, etc. I find it’s harder to give when you don’t strongly believe in one main “cause” if you will, so by saying yes to other peoples’ causes who believe passionately feels like a big win :)

    Congrats on making this a mission – it’s a damn good one.

    • Derek C. Olsen

      Agree, giving randomly is a big one.

      We can’t see the future and predict what needs will cross our path that we could have the chance to met. That’s why we have the built in $100/mo for random stuff.

      It’s kind of like an emergency giving fund.

      It’s a win-win to be set up financially as well as mentally/emotionally to be able to say yes when asked.

  • Andy @ artofbeingcheap

    Good for you, Derek! Personally, I just give randomly, but part of the business plan of my website (included in the list above) is to give away 10% of revenue. First year was kind of slow and I am only at $41 so I have a long way to go to reach $100,000.

    • Derek C. Olsen


      We have to start somewhere. If we don’t start, we won’t get anywhere.

      Love your plan and your posts listed above.

      Welcome to the club. Keep us posted!


  • Tommy Shea

    Over thanksgiving last year one of the kitchens in Kansas City ran out of food and the workers were turning all the homeless people away. Wouldn’t even let them stand inside… That’s not the giving type. Also during Christmas if you take a stroll through downtown Kansas City you will see all these poor, cold, dirty, hungry homeless people just laying under a bridge. Id really love to open up a HUGE shelter for the homeless in Kansas City. Is provide food, light, warmth, shelter, clothes id do it all… But I need to get started somewhere. And 100,000$? I think that’ll do it. Thankyou for your time

    • Derek C. Olsen

      Hey Tommy, thanks for the reply.

      “But I need to get started somewhere…”

      Very true.

      So, do you have a plan for raising the 100k?
      Let me know and I’ll link back to your site or post, maybe it will help.


  • Becky Bierbrodt

    We currently give $310 a month, which adds up to 3720 a year. We also randomly give throughout the year when opportunities arise if we are able, so I would say our annual giving is probably around 4000, maybe a little less…. We have been married for 7 years (7 years just this Monday 7/7/14) :) Our giving probably wasn’t quite 4000 when we first started out, but I estimate we’ve probably given 18,720 over those years (just a guesstimate based on our income those years and the amounts that I can remember consistently giving). If we continue to give at the same rate, it looks like we will have given $100,000 in 20.32 years from now. It’s crazy now that I’ve done the math to even realize that we have probably given close to $20,000 already. Crazy!!!

    • Derek C. Olsen


      Isn’t is surprising when you add it all up?

      I had never thought about how much we had already given or how much we might end up giving in the future. We plan and plan for earning, spending, saving, and investing, but I had not given much thought to the giving, at least the actual math part of giving.

      When I added up how much we had already given, I was surprised.
      When I added up how long it would take to reach 100k, I was also surprised. I thought it was going to take a lot longer.

      Also, married for 7 years on 7/7/14… That is some pretty odd math!

      Thanks for stopping by. Love hearing your story.

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  • Kim

    That’s a great goal and a great way to look at giving. My goal this year was to donate 5% of my income to charity. I started out great and then our rental building had to have a huge amount of work done, so I’m a little behind and we’ll see where it ends up. I believe I have a post about giving. I’ll have to see how appropriate it is for your club.

    • Derek C. Olsen


      It’s a pretty loose club, so anything about giving is welcome.

      Good luck with the rental, and life in general. 😉


  • Ree Klein

    Hi Derek, I believe giving comes in many forms…the gift of time, attention, a kind gesture and, of course, money. Givers often put giving ahead of taking care of their long-term well being, which places a cloud over the gift in my opinion.

    I had to learn to examine my forms of giving. I’ve shifted some of what I do and now when I give I feel really great about it. It is a genuine gift given without strings.

    I’m new to your blog and look forward to hearing more from you :)

    • Derek C. Olsen


      VERY good points.

      You are so right, money is just one way to give.

      And yes, getting burned-out isn’t good for anyone, the giver or the receiver.

      Thanks for stopping by.
      Stay in touch.


  • DebtDiscipline

    Derek – This is amazing! As we climb out of debt we have given our time mainly, but look to increase our monetary giving as we become debt free. I like the idea of random giving, random acts of kindness, bringing a smile or changing someone’s day unexpectedly is a great gift.

    • Derek C. Olsen

      You are right, there are many ways to give, money is just one way.

      Time, effort, resources, and even being there for others on an emotional level are a few other ways to give.

      Thanks for stopping by, stay in touch.

  • FI Pilgrim

    This is a bold post Derek, I’m glad you put it out there. My wife and I are avid givers, but I don’t write much about it on my blog. I understand your disclaimer, that addresses some of my feelings exactly. However, awareness is important, and there are many reasons we should give our money away, so I’m glad you wrote about it.

    • Derek C. Olsen

      I might be overthinking the possibility of others taking it the wrong way. Although the risk of turning someone off is real, I’m not too worried about it. Like I suggested in the disclaimer at the bottom of the post, that is their problem, not mine… as unfortunate as that might be, it’s not stopping me.

  • Ryan Eidson

    Perry Marshall cited a study in a recent talk that shows the correlation between giving and receiving. Pretty wild. Not that you give just to get, but the more you give, the more comes your way. Listen here:

    • Derek C. Olsen

      Thanks Ryan, I will check it out and maybe link it above in the post.

      True, we should not give ONLY to receive, however, isn’t it funny how things tend to work out for the giver? Something to think about, not an easy thing to understand correctly.


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  • wolfebet

    Derek – great job here with your giveaway. I started a “giveaway a dollar a day” routine recently and basically randomly place a $1 bill each day in a public place. Be it the grocery store, pharmacy, book store, or anywhere I am at. $1 may not seem like much, but I think it seems like a million to those who find it. Anyway, my goal is to give what I can to others to create positive universal karma.
    Best of Luck,

    • Derek C. Olsen

      Very interesting.

      I can see how this practice could also get you into the habit and the mindset of giving.

  • Sherman Gaytan

    I need a used car if some one gave me a thousand I would repay 2000 in payments..

  • Rian

    Im homeless… I want a house. Get it or not this is wonderful what you guys are doing bless you

  • Jennifer

    I would love to be cut a break and get $25,000 dollars to be able to buy a home I have my eyes on. I’ve tried mortgages and my credit isn’t good enough or loan brokers want you to put out more then you can afford in closing costs.