After an orgy of spending on Black Friday and Cyber Monday - two of the busiest shopping days of the year - can Americans climb back into the ring, and empty their wallets again today on Giving Tuesday?
You bet. Take 2015, where 700,000 charitable givers stood tall on Giving Tuesday, generating $116 million in online donations, according to GivingTuesday.org.
And why not? Studies show that donating to charity can not only make you happier, but it can lower your tax bill.
"For example, if you are in the 33% tax bracket, a $100 donation to a qualified charity can result in a $33 federal tax break, so the donation only 'costs' you $67," says Kay McFarlin, president at TIAA Charitable.
So, what does that mean to you? "If your budget is $100, you could donate more - say, $133 - knowing you may qualify for a refund," McFarlin adds. "Or, you could decide to add another charity to your list. Do the math, and you'll soon see your personal commitment to giving can have a big impact on your tax benefits and charities when you put your tax savings back into donating."
Go ahead and give what you can afford, but do so smartly - using these five tips as a spring board to a healthy, happy and generous Giving Tuesday:
Find the right charity - With more than a million charitable organizations in the United States alone, picking a charity can be a daunting task, says McFarlin. "Certain causes may tug at your heartstrings, but once you've identified your passion, doing a little fact-finding is an important first step to ensure you're giving wisely," she notes." Use TIAA's charity search tool to find the charity that meets your giving needs. The search tool includes rankings and insights into its past performance including tax records and ethical conduct.