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Not sure whether to spend or scrimp? How about giving it away?

December 16th, 2008 · No Comments

It seems like every time I go out these days, my pals and random acquaintances are agonizing about what to do in the present economy.

To date, no one is my immediate circle has lost a job or seems likely to imminently, though there’s a lot of worry. So the dilemma becomes, since we are clearly not about to join bread lines but there’s a strange dark cloud hanging over the future, whether to spend or not to spend.

One of my friends said she feels guilty no matter which direction she leans. She feels uncomfortable about spending, because it seems to frivolous in this atmosphere and, besides, who knows what’s going to happen? Maybe she should clutch her piggy-bank closely.

On the other hand, if everyone stops spending, then everyone really will be out of a job. So is it better to boost the economy by continuing on merrily as though every day we aren’t reading headlines that make it sound as though the Middle Ages is about to descend on us.

I think I’ve found a solution. Well, a little one. I have a group of girlfriends who meet for birthdays, Christmases and whatevers and we usually always give each other little presents. We don’t really need to and, in fact, one friend and I sometimes end up giving each other new and exciting containers we’ve found for holding clutter because that’s what we need most in our lives.

So this year, I’m suggesting we give our money to local groups working with the homeless instead. It’s not the first time we’ve done something charitable. I think it was two years ago that Jean convinced us all to pool our money to buy a goat for someone in ? South America? Africa? I don’t know — the picture of the goat was lovely, but I never got the continent straight.

Anyway, this year seems like the ideal time to pool our money for a good cause once again. Charities are having a terrible time, between lower donations and the fact that foundations that give them money are seeing the incomes from their investments shrivel. A couple of years ago, I wrote about the fact that a lot of homelessness groups get a majority of their donations around Christmas time. This time, they aren’t sure that’s going to happen.

While Captain Gregor in Vancouver and Surrey Mayor Dianne Watts are out trying to tackle homelessness, the groups they’re working with are actually experiencing some of their worst times ever.

So how about if everyone gave a little? One thing is for sure — these people will spend in the local economy. They won’t be blowing your donations in Paris or Bangkok, like you might.

Okay, that’s my good deed for the night.

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