3 Lessons from Giving Away my Wife’s Money

I cashed my wife’s $48 check and determined to give it away.

A few days later we found ourselves in line behind a young couple in a department store. She’s holding a small package of diapers. He has a set of jumper cables.


I said, “Those jumper cables don’t look good.”

He said, “We’re traveling to visit family. We can’t get our car started.”

We complained about car trouble.

They looked like they lived on a tight budget and the jumper cables were a stretch. While we’re chatting, I’m having a crisis. “Buy those jumper cables,” I said to myself.

“But, what if they don’t need some stranger buying jumper cables for them? You don’t want to embarrass them.” While my heart was pounding, the cashier said, “That’s $29 sir.” I didn’t step forward.

Finally, I stepped past them and walked toward the exit. In my pocket I found a twenty, a five, and four ones. As they approached, I said, “Would you mind if I purchase those jumper cables?” and stuck out $29.

Surprised, he took the money. She said, “Can I hug you?” We did. He said, “Me too.”

I said, “Merry Christmas,” smiled, turned, and returned to my wife who was checking out with two packages of tinsel.

It’s a small thing. Normally I wouldn’t have done anything. Thankfully, I had some “give away” cash in my pocket.

Lessons learned:

  1. Carry some “give away” cash. A $48 budget freed me to give.
  2. Life feels like an adventure when I have some “give away” cash in my pocket.
  3. Setting a limit eliminates excuses. Boundaries create freedom.

My wife and I laugh about me giving away “her” money. We share bank accounts. I could have just as easily withdrawn cash from the ATM.

I have 10 bucks in my pocket today. I wonder who I can give it to?

What might generosity look like to you today?