One of the worst parts about being in debt is that I myself am basically a charity.
I’m not free to give a lot (or even a little bit) of money to charities, because most of my money is already claimed by others, whether that be my landlord, my creditors, or just the grocery store.
What little I have left over I feel guilty about hoarding for myself as I work towards saving up an emergency fund, retirement, or paying off my debt. There’s plenty of people who are in worse off situations than me; it doesn’t seem fair that I need to desperately snatch up any and all money I come across like a spoiled brat going Mine! Mine! Mine!
That’s why I was so excited when I heard about the Rockstar Community Fund. This month, they sent out a $20 gift card to anyone who signed up, with one hitch: I needed to use that $20 in some way to better my community.
Our Pick: The Larimer Humane Society
We’ve got three pets ourselves—a dog (Juno) and two cats (Pasha and Beeker)—whom we collectively call The Girls (we wanted to call them The Bitches, but they are all spayed). We used to live in a 1,200 square-foot house on a 2-acre lot with plenty of room for our dog to roam. The girls loved it.
Then we moved to a tiny second-floor, 700 square-foot apartment with no private yard. The girls (and us) hate it. The only reason we live here is because our landlord is OK with us having our pets, and it’s within our budget.
We could live in a nicer place, but we’d have to get rid of the girls. And that’s not gonna happen.
The same can’t be said for the animals at the humane society. Each one of the pets that ends up in the shelter makes its way there in a different way, but they’ve got two things in common: they don’t want to be there, and there are better places for them.
Few things make me tear up like thinking about homeless pets. Call me a sucker; I admit it. It’s why me and Zach have vowed to get all of our animals from rescues or shelters, including our cat Beeker. She’d been left out to freeze as a kitten in -20 weather in Alaska before being rescued by a neighbor who luckily heard her mews before she turned into a kittensicle.
Related: Why We’re Giving Up Our Home
What We Got
Zach is a traitor and prefers cats chose to get something to keep the kitties warm and comfy. We bought six yards of fleece fabric from JoAnn’s. That way, they can cut it down to the size they need for their kennels. Unfortunately, this ate up the entire $20.
I’m more of a dog person (cats are cool too), and I couldn’t let my pup homies go without. We decided to spring an extra $20 for a jumbo bag of rawhides from Costco.
We don’t get to do nice things like this for others very often, and so it felt great to hand over our gifts to the shelter staff. We know that the lives of the kitties and pups there will be just a little bit better thanks to us and the Rockstar Community Fund folks.
Of course, when we got home, the girls smelled the shelter on us and were all instantly suspicious. Beeker’s a reluctant old hand at us bringing home new family members and made sure to give me the stink eye.
What Can You Do With $20?
Even though we donated an extra $20 of our own money, we’re cool with it. We don’t give a lot of money to charity as a rule because we’re still in a lot of debt ourselves, but we can swing $20 every now and then. Once we get out of debt we’re planning on becoming more philanthropic.
If you’re interested in cool stuff like this, you should totally join the Rockstar Finance Forums! You don’t have to be a personal finance blogger to join (although there are a lot of us there), and we’re all cool peeps. At least Katasha Loves Tacos and J Money are (just kidding – I love the rest of you too!). 🙂
What could you use $20 for to make your community better? Did you sign up for the Rockstar Fund—what’d you choose to spend your $20 on? Leave a comment below!