A dollar donated to a cost-effective charity can do over a hundred times more good as a dollar spent on personal
consumption (MacAskill 2015). This might seem to lead to the conclusion that all money not spent on the essentials of life should be donated to charity. However, allowing oneself some discretionary spending may well be necessary to happiness, productivity and commitment to giving. Most members of the community budget reasonable portions of their income for themselves, to stay motivated, prevent burnout, and increase productivity (Kaufman, 2013).
Some members of the effective altruism community suggest setting a “charity budget”: a clearly defined amount of money to be given to charity each
year (Wise 2015). This allows people to make a decision once per year, rather than every time they purchase something for themselves, which can help to reduce emotional distress. Others have argued that self-investment (for instance in respectable clothing) can increase one’s efficacy in many ways, and that therefore it may be worth prioritizing a certain level of self-investment over direct donations (Hurford 2014). Hurford, Peter (2014) You have a set amount of “weirdness points”. Spend them wisely , Effective Altruism Forum , November 27. A discussion of how, for instance, wearing respectable clothes can be a good investment. Kaufman, Jeff (2013) Keeping choices donation neutral , Jeff Kaufman’s Blog , May 11. Wise, Julia (2015) Burnout and self-care , Effective Altruism Forum , October 23. A post on budgeting and preventing burnout.