Wednesday, July 30, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

I like to give my money away, but now I find myself in debt

Dear Annie: Is there such a thing as an addiction to charitable giving? I cannot seem to say no to anyone with a need or a hard-luck story.

I give generously to my church, wildlife organizations, cancer funds, fire fighter causes and on and on. I give to a number of animal charities. Most folks will drop a dollar or two in the Salvation Army kettles at Christmas. I’m the one who puts in $20 every time I pass one. I also derive pleasure from handing some stranger a $10 bill and instructing them to have lunch on me. I do this at least once a week. I also tip quite well.

All of this generosity would not be a bad thing, but I now find myself in debt because I give cash away right and left. How do I cut back? — Overdoing the Tithing

Dear Overdoing: An addiction is characterized by an inability to control the desire to keep doing it. Some addictions are more destructive than others. You seem to recognize that you have a problem, and that is the first step in getting better. You are being kind, yes, but your donations are also self-serving. You like the way you feel when you are expansive.

Try setting a strict budget. Figure out what you can afford to give away each month. Earmark some for the charities to which you regularly contribute, and put the rest in single dollar bills that you can distribute however you wish. You are less likely to give a stranger a $10 bill if all you have on you are singles. If you truly want to be a generous soul without breaking the bank, volunteer your time at the local animal shelter or Salvation Army.

Dear Annie: People seem to have difficulty unfriending others on Facebook. I’d like to share with your readers how easy it is to avoid that.

You can limit Facebook friends by making some friends “acquaintances.” You can elect to share posts with “friends except acquaintances.” That way, not everyone will see what you post, but the people in your network won’t know whether they are “friends” or “acquaintances,” and there won’t be any hurt feelings. You also don’t have to “unfriend” someone you aren’t that close to. There are other categories, as well. I have a special list called “family.”

I think sometimes Facebook users are too quick to add everyone who asks to their “friend” list. I also believe it is a good idea when posting pictures of kids to make sure they are not tagged “public” so that you limit who can see them. — Facebook Extraordinaire

Dear F.E.: Many people don’t bother looking into the more complicated aspects of using Facebook and other social media sites, but it’s worth the extra effort to avoid unpleasantness down the road. Thanks for your expertise.

Dear Annie: The reader from “Baton Rouge, La.” said she wishes she could bottle the innocence she enjoyed on TV back in the 1950s. Well, this innocence has been bottled, so to speak.

I loved the television shows of the ’50s, and a lot of them are now available on DVD and on some of the cable TV stations. I regularly watch “Leave It to Beaver,” ”My Favorite Martian” and “Mr. Ed.” Someday I want to buy “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet” and “The Patty Duke Show.”

If she does not have access to cable TV stations that run old TV shows, she can easily pick up DVDs from local stores or online and give them to her grandchildren. — Schenectady, N.Y.

Dear N.Y.: Thanks for the great suggestion.

Dear Readers: Today is Flag Day and the 35th annual Pause for the Pledge of Allegiance at 4 p.m. For more information, log on to americanflagfoundation.org.

Annie’s Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie’s Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254.

Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar

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