Have a Family Help Fund Ready
As people, we live in a community. We have relatives and friends and neighbors around us. Then, there are the underprivileged among us. All of us, at some point in our lives, would need money. It would be great to have some ready funds to help those who are in distress without stressing our existing budget. In our family, we call that our help fund.
Why Do You Need to Have a Help Fund
So why did we establish a family help fund? Here are the reasons why.
There are people who need help.
We are social animals, so that means we rely on each other even in times of need. We just cannot avoid financial pitfalls. When that happens to a close friend or relative, can you just turn a blind eye?
Of course, not. But sometimes, we can also be hard up and end up not extending any help. Sometimes, this can be misconstrued as not wanting to help or you just don’t care. And relationships can get sour. And in the end, you feel bad that you were not able to help your friend or relative.
Teaches us to live simply.
We spend on things we don’t need. A lot of times, we overextend ourselves in terms of food, fashion, and entertainment. While we think that we deserve it because we are the ones earning, sometimes it can become excessive. We don’t have to follow YOLO and FOMO moves.
There is wisdom and satisfaction in frugality as well. For the little amount that you set aside each month from your salary, you know that eventually, it will help somebody go through a difficult time. It is actually empowering.
Teaches the kids to extend help.
If we set up a family help fund, our kids will understand that in this world, we don’t only live for ourselves. There are other people who badly need money more than us. We may not be able to help everybody, but we can help those who are around our vicinity–the people closest to us.
It also helps kids to budget their money.
We don’t want to upset our family budget unnecessarily.
A lot of us save for the things that we need and want. It could be for a car, the family home, children’s tuition fees, your child’s birthday party, or for family travel. You have been saving for these goals for months or even years, depending on the amount and the size of the goal. You haven’t touched these funds, even though you also became in need at some point.
In order to still be able to help and not remove funds from your various savings, you can take out money from your help fund. That way, you will not feel bad that you touched the money that you have worked to save up for so long.
We can avoid giving out loans.
I have a thing about giving out loans. That is because through the years, I have seen people getting burned because of lending, even to people who used to be so close to them.
It’s just so emotional to lend your money to a friend in order get her through a tough spot. But for some reason or the other, she can’t or won’t pay you. Trust is betrayed and relationships are destroyed. And it hurts more if you see her posts on Facebook, flaunting a new purchase or going on vacations.
So I would rather give as much as I can. But I will also avoid lending.
How to Take Care of Your Help Fund
Just like any progressive or living thing, your help fund needs some love and care. It’s living because it grows as well as it gives hope and life to the people you help. So how do you take care of it?
Add to it regularly.
So how do you earn? Are you a freelancer like me or are you a salaried employee? Set aside a part of your income and put it in your help fund. You can start small or delegate a certain percentage of your income to make it grow. Make it a habit, like feeding your children.
Put it where you can easily take it out.
Honestly, I don’t put our help fund inside the bank. If somebody has a need, it is easier to take out. If it’s in the bank, it would be easy for you to deny somebody because it’s a hassle to go to the bank to make a withdrawal.
If you have deposited your help fund along with all your money, you will easily mistake it as your own. If you open a separate bank account for it, you need to spend for the minimum balance. Instead, I keep it at home. It’s not very easy for me to get it for my personal needs but it’s easy enough to take out for somebody else’s need.
Budget your help fund.
My husband and I have to agree where we allocate our help fund. If there’s a need, we talk about it and agree as to how much we are going to extend. Sometimes, our help fund gets depleted but we can’t help it when there are so many needs around us. We have to be “led” towards it. We can give as low as P500 to as high as P15,000 to a single person, depending on the need and the availability of our funds.
Don’t take anything from your help fund for personal use.
This is where you need to exercise self control. It is so easy to tell yourself that you have some idle funds sitting somewhere in the house. So you have to make that decision. Treat it as money that you don’t own anymore because you have already intended it for somebody else.
The Economy of God
Do we worry about our own expenses? We get concerned, of course, especially if there’s a pending big expense like school enrollment or bills to pay. But we do not let worry swallow us. It strengthens our faith when we have a need and God provides for that mysteriously.
Also, we have observed that the more we give, God replaces us with something better and something more. The kindness that we extend comes back to us, sometimes in better form. So don’t worry about giving more. God’s economy is different from our worldly view.