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571bf98983f508dd3a0ade9fba94f414Despite any preconceived notions you may have about Ashton Kutcher, this is straight-up truth.

Several people in my life have recently been discussing what it looks like to be generous.

I believe that generosity is not a luxury.

Regardless of your time, resources or financial situation, we should all be generous. I mentioned in my last post that as a 20-something, I am in a stage where I am forming life habits. Generosity is something that I value, so it is something that I’m learning to do now. It is my hope that the older I get, the more naturally I will practice it.

Here are some tips I’ve learned so far about how to be generous:

Be intentional. My parents encouraged me to put a section at the top of my budget for this express purpose. Also, including this in your monthly budget will hold you accountable and help you as you practice this discipline. Even if it’s only $10 that you set aside to give each month, it’s a great place to start. Think of it as three lattes. See, and you thought you couldn’t afford it. So you make your coffee at home, that’s not a big sacrifice.

Be creative. No matter how much money you make, you can always afford to be generous in big and small ways. Notice a homeless man on the freeway off-ramp by your work each morning? Make an extra sandwich or grab an extra piece of fruit on your way out the door and hand it to him with a smile. Know a friend who’s recovering from surgery? Take a movie over and sit with that person and watch it together. Know a couple with small kids who could use a break? Offer to babysit so they can have a night off.

Be sacrificial. Above I mentioned the amount of $10. In reality I believe that most of us should financially give far more than that. You should give till you really notice it. Till it affects you. If this is making you uncomfortable, consider this: If you make more than $34,000 annually, you’re in the top one percent globally. The cold hard fact is that we’re all selfish. Do I really NEED another Lilly dress. No, no I don’t. Do I really need to buy my lunch? No. It’s time to take a step back from ourselves and think about others first. From that place, we should make our budgets.