Living and Giving

10 Creative ways to give back when you’re on a budget

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Giving Back Doesn’t Have To Involve Money

Ever feel like the world’s on a wild rollercoaster ride? Between China’s economic fluctuations, Brexit drama, the alarming reality of global warming, and the ongoing cost of living crisis, it’s enough to make anyone’s head spin. And when you’re juggling your own worries about job stability or those pesky student loans, giving back can feel like a luxury you can’t afford.

But hang in there! Making a difference doesn’t have to mean breaking the bank. There are plenty of heartfelt and creative ways to give back when you’re on a budget. Let’s dive into some budget-friendly ways you can spread kindness and make a real impact.

1. CULTIVATE AN ATTITUDE OF ABUNDANCE

First, let’s start with our minds. Be courageous and realize that you have more than you think. If you have a bed, shelter, clothing, a job, and family or friends, then you are in a very “wealthy” state. Understanding your own abundance will allow you to see how much you actually have. 

Go over the positives in your life. Write down heartfelt quotes that inspire you. As you fill yourself up with this goodness, you will be able to give to others. This gratitude will not only make us feel happier, but also keep our hearts healthier.

2. DONATE UNUSED ITEMS

Take a look around your home and gather any gently used clothing, books, toys, or household items that you no longer need. Instead of letting these items collect dust, donate them to local shelters, thrift stores, or donation drives. Your unwanted items can provide essential resources to those in need and make a positive impact on their lives.

3. PICK UP THE PHONE 

Instead of being constantly worried about where our world is going, why not pick up the phone and find out how someone else is doing? Forget your concerns for a moment. Instead of calling someone to vent, why not call them to tell them you care?

Calling someone “for no reason” is an important opportunity show them that you are thinking of them. You are taking time out of your busy day to reach out. Everyone needs someone to just listen sometimes. They may be filled with joy or sadness. Be there to celebrate their good news, or support them with compassion.

A side benefit to you is that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer. Remember, listening does not cost anything financially, and look at the good you are doing!

4. VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME AND SKILL

Your time and skills are incredibly valuable resources that can make a significant impact on your community. Consider volunteering at local nonprofits, community centers, or schools where you can utilize your expertise to benefit others.

Whether it’s tutoring students, offering to teach a free workshop or class based on your hobbies or profession, or assisting with administrative tasks, your contributions can empower others and create positive change. Volunteering not only allows you to give back to your community but also provides opportunities for personal growth, connection, and fulfilment.

5. THANK YOU NOTES

While some people enjoy receiving gifts, all of us appreciate a kind word. It is one thing to say it, but it can be even more meaningful to put a note in writing. What if you made a commitment to write a thank you note to someone every week? Since the invention of stamps in 1840, this has been possible. Hallmark really innovated by coming up with the concept of greeting cards. In the early 1900s an aspiring entrepreneur, Joyce Clyde Hall, left Nebraska to sell his cards in Kansas City.  He simply had positive quotes, and put them in the cards. Soon we had cards for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and the like.

Now you can congratulate friends on a new job, express condolences for the passing of a loved one, or simply say you are thinking of them. You can think of any positive reason you like. Handwritten letters are memorable, and heartfelt.

6. GIVE THE GIFT OF PRESENCE

Sometimes, the most valuable gift you can give is your time and attention. Take the time to reach out to friends, family, or neighbors who may be feeling lonely or isolated. Offer your companionship and support by spending quality time with them, whether it’s going for a walk, sharing a meal, or simply lending a listening ear.

Your presence and kindness can make a world of difference to someone who may be struggling. You never know what someone might be going through – a painful divorce, struggling through college, or just having a bad day. Opening up your home will make someone feel appreciated. In addition, it costs less than going out. The leftovers from this dinner can be packaged up for the homeless. That’s double giving and it doesn’t cost a thing!

7. SUPPORT LOCAL BUSINESSES WITH A PURPOSE

Do you have a special skill or hobby that you’re passionate about? Consider sharing your knowledge with others by teaching a free workshop or class in your community. Whether it’s cooking, gardening, or photography, offering to teach a class can empower others and provide valuable learning opportunities for people of all ages. Plus, teaching can be a fulfilling way to connect with others and make a positive impact on their lives.

8. SET ASIDE MONEY FROM A DAILY RITUAL TO DONATE

Giving doesn’t have to mean a life full of sacrifices. We can still buy an In-n-Out burger or get our nails done. But instead of buying several Starbuck’s coffees every week, you can drink one less.  Donate the money you saved: Even $5 can make a difference in someone’s life. In the U.S. it can buy a small lunch, but abroad it can be used to build a library or to buy mosquito nets to prevent malaria. In these cases, your money is scaling to help many people — your dollar goes even further. 

9. HOST A FUNDRAISING EVENT

Get creative and organize a fundraising event in your neighbourhood or community. Whether it’s a bake sale, garage sale, or charity car wash, there are plenty of ways to raise money for a cause you care about.

Invite friends, family, and neighbour’s to participate or donate items, and use the proceeds to support a local charity or nonprofit organisation. Fundraising events not only raise money for important causes but also bring people together and foster a sense of community spirit.

10. PARTICIPATE IN ONLINE ACTIVISM

In today’s digital age, social media platforms offer powerful tools for raising awareness and advocating for change. Take advantage of these platforms by sharing informative posts, signing petitions, and engaging in discussions about important social issues.

Use your voice to amplify marginalised voices, promote social justice, and spark meaningful conversations within your online community. Online activism may not require financial resources, but it can have a significant impact on shaping public opinion and driving positive change.

Remember, generosity comes in many forms, and even small acts of kindness can have a big impact on those around you. By finding creative ways to give back, you can make a positive difference in your community and beyond, regardless of your budget constraints.

Difficult financial times does not mean you’re giving must shut down. Instead, it allows us to examine how our time and money are spent. Do you have time to write that kind note? Have a free moment to make a delicious home cooked meal? There are so many ways to give back that won’t hurt your wallet and will enrich your life.  It takes a different view of wealth. This kind of wealth consists of kindness, patience, and selflessness.   

There’s not a moment to wait – let’s get started giving of our abundance!