The Full English Accompaniment – Three basic money skills

What’s piqued my interest this week?

In the last Full English I wrote about P2P and included Kiva, the P2P lending platform that offers loans to those in third-world countries that need an opportunity. This prompted a comment from Weenie about my opinion on charity crowdfunding. Dave Ramsey, that financial cross between Jeremy Kyle and Frasier, talks about 3 basic money skills; spending responsibly, saving and giving (1).

Spending responsibly I’m getting a grip on. I’m wired as a spender. I can be thrifty – I don’t instinctively like to flash cash and I have a tendency to do jobs myself rather than get people in, but I like things. Tools, art, books, cars. I get satisfaction from having the right thing for the right moment. Not very minimalist, frugal or FIRE is it?

Number two, saving, I’m also getting a grip on. I now have an emergency fund and I’m paying myself first every month. I was terrible and this is an upwards slope.

Number three, giving, I’m rubbish at.

I don’t mind giving time, effort or my skills. In my head, I make this trade off for my work. I could earn a lot more abroad, in the private sector, or even in another line of work. I don’t, because I like my job and I like to help people.

I don’t like giving things. I’m shit at gifts (Mrs Shrink fully embraces this role). I don’t mind lending stuff out, but I get very grumpy if I don’t get it back promptly. I collect things, that often have sentimental value, and I struggle to extricate the emotion from the object. I am getting better at de-cluttering, giving lots of stuff to charity if I can no longer see a utility.

I’m even worse at money. This is for three main reasons:

  1. Most of the companies which come round asking for your money as a charity are not interested in the giving either. They are businesses, and by giving you are supporting their business model. Only a fraction of what you give goes to the needy cause.
  2. In many cases, the charity model causes more harm than good. Foreign aid to places like Africa usually comes with caveats. The expectations on behalf of the giver deprive the recipient of truly deciding the direction of need. It continues a historic power imbalance. By maintaining dependence it prevent true progress (2, 3). This dependency and strings attached approach is also present in domestic charities. Gifts to the homeless are often tied to religions. Medical research charities have a point to push and a public to please. If I’m giving my hard earned, I don’t want it attached to someone else’s agenda.
  3. A lot of charity work does not address the underlying issues. I spend a lot of time working with people from downtrodden and despairing walks of life. I work with the homeless, addicts, abused and dying. Giving £5 in the street to a homeless person does nothing to lift them out of their situation, it just assuages your own guilt. The charities offer sticking plasters for wider problems, hiding them from society so that we don’t recognise them. Societies problems become the charities problem.

I find myself wondering if these are all ways I deflect and manage my own guilt.  I am buying from and giving more to local independent charity shops recently. Peer to peer charities would seem to offer a good route through problem two and three (although problem one remains). They help communities find their own directions to overcome problems. Wikipedia’s P2P charity page suggests there are 14 operating, although only Kiva and Global Giving I’ve heard of (4). I’ve also been looking at Credit Unions, following the logical track that they, like P2P charities, encourage responsible financial decisions and support independent choice. Credit Unions are also local, and by ‘saving’ with them, you’re offering your pool of cash as a resource to those locally who need it (5). Given most banks are currently offering crap interest rates anyway, what’s to lose?

I’m not sure I’ll ever be as good as MrsShrink, who supports about five different charities each month and always buys a Big Issue if she sees a seller. Kiva and my local Credit Union perhaps offer a route for me to get better. A new personal target for the next year.

Have a great week,

The Shrink

P.S. Since setting up an email link I’ve started to receive offers of guest posts. I’m flattered, but sadly can’t accept. This blog is a window into my own internal mono/dialogue, nothing more. 

Other News

And finally, on Brexit, here’s a great summary of Why (17).

Opinion/ blogs:

The kitchen garden:

What I’m reading (affiliate links):

Food Of The Gods: The Search for the Original Tree of Knowledge: A Radical History of Plants, Drugs and Human Evolution – Terence McKenna – An ethnobotanist explores humanitys’ fascination with hallucinogenics, and the role of altered states of consciousness on the development of human society.



One thought on “The Full English Accompaniment – Three basic money skills

  1. Giving to charity is very personal. Right now, I don’t have time to donate so I donate money. This may change when I no longer need to work full time.

    I currently have 4 standing orders for charities I support – these pay into charity lottos and sometimes I win, usually I don’t but I don’t mind. I’ve had a Kiva account for a number of years and hope that is really helping out.

    I have a CAF charity account which I pay into monthly and this is what I use for my adhoc charity giving, eg the Toilet Twinning, donating to the library.

    In my mind, I’ve convinced myself that at least some of the money is being put to good use and not just being wasted/squandered. Otherwise I would not donate at all.

    I do not give to people fundraising in the street or those who knock on my door. I don’t give to beggars. I do purchase a Big Issue from the seller outside Aldi when I shop there.

    A UK alternative to Kiva (which works with $) is – I might open up an account with them to check out.


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