How can I give charitably? #Charity365

‘God has heard your prayer and remembered your gifts to the poor. Acts 10:30-31

Recently, I checked off a to-do I’ve been meaning to-actually-do for some time: I added two local organizations to my charitable giving to complement my regional and international charitable giving.

I say this with some trepidation because I don’t want to attract praise for doing so–“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full.”–but what I do want even more is to encourage everyone to consider starting to give charitably so that we can help out those who really need it on an even bigger scale. We are wildly, fantastically rich, in all ways, in first world countries, start giving now and you will begin to see all kinds of personal benefits.

Start anywhere. Really, don’t sweat it.

It’s so easy to start. I started giving $10/month to three charities – less than one percent of my income. As I continued, and realized I could give more, I started increasing my giving and expanding the scope of those I was donating to.

This time around I want to focus on the immediate how-to because it’s so easy and so convenient and is so rewarding to know that, yes, while you are incredibly blessed in your country, you do want to help others and you are trying and you have tangible actions that show your heart is in the right place.

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Beware Steam Sale Tactics

Update 2012.12.01: Some advice for getting the best deals during Steam sales: In my experience, Steam will usually have AAA software on more than 50% off but what seem like great deals at 30-50% come early so try to hold out for the over 50% deals. Deals for 75% off happen more often then you think!

I’ve just run into a poor customer relationship experience head on in the past few days with Valve’s Steam, a digital download service. On Wednesday I made a purchase for Max Payne 3 at USD $29.99 and, as you can see now, the price a day later was reduced to $14.99. After requesting a refund or an upgrade for the difference I was told Steam does not provide refunds or exchanges. This is poor, poor customer service and this scenario is why retailers often have ‘price beat’ guarantees even after the purchase up to a certain time period. I like Steam, I really do, I’m a significant customer on their service, but I feel cheated and mislead  so I want to make sure everyone is aware how Steam sales work. They’ll offer a particular set of games at one price one day and then they’ll quite often release a set of those same games later in the sale at a much better deal. So, beware of this tactic and see if you can wait for a dramatic savings. I do not respect Valve for gouging early customers when they’ll be releasing the same games for less later on. This is not how you treat your customers. Valve should know better.