One of the first tips I gleaned from money expert Suze Orman wasn’t about saving or spending. It was about giving. Her words have stayed with me for more than a decade—probably from when I read the first version of her book 9 Steps to Financial Freedom.

Orman talked about making a donation to her local public broadcasting station. This wasn’t while she was famous and wealthy, but back when she was young and struggling financially. Her point was that the act of giving gave her a lot of satisfaction—and a feeling of tremendous strength. By letting go of some of her money, she was signaling both to her penny-pinching self and the universe at large that she didn’t have to hold on so tight. If she let money go to a good cause, she felt confident it would also come back to her in other ways. (Looks like she was right!).

I still love that message. At the same time, giving to charity isn’t always easy. That’s especially true when you’re paying for childcare or tuition, dealing with a big mortgage, or generally just trying to get by financially. And doesn’t it sometimes seem that everyone you know is asking you to sponsor their cancer walk or buy wrapping paper to support their child’s school?

It’s great to help, but it’s also fair to set some limits so you don’t shortchange your own family budget. Today over at Equifax’s Family Money blog, I’m talking about ways to be generous when it seems like everyone you know is asking for charitable sponsorships or donations.

Read about it here.

(Photo by embemama.)