Do you have a heart for those in need? Do you sometimes wish there was more you could do despite being on a tight income? John and I are in the same boat. When our church asks for help with a project, we are right there to donate and help out. It’s not always possible for us to give as much as we’d like, especially now that John’s seeking a job, so I came up with 4 ways we can give back on a budget. Can you think of any to add to this list?
Donate your time.
There are events all year long where you can volunteer your time- whether it’s a charity race, a community clean-up, or even events at your church- and you can choose your time commitment. Will you stay a couple hours for the event, or will you donate fresh baked goods, help set up, and stay for the entire event? All of that is up to you and what you feel like you can give.
My church does a few mini-events throughout the year and one big one in the summertime, where we gather 1,000 volunteers to do service projects in our city. It includes things like gardening, picking up trash, painting, organizing… you can be a skilled professional or a general helper; if you’re a body, they need you! The last time I volunteered at one of the mini-events was at a local women’s center in January, where I cleaned every window and glass surface, and it was a fun time of fellowship and knowing I’m helping a center mostly run by volunteers.
Donate your talents.
Do you have a specific talent that you feel you can give freely to those who may need you? Maybe you’re a lawyer who can donate some of your services to your fellow church members; or maybe you own a bakery and can send cookies to parents at a children’s hospital. Back when I did massage therapy, I would donate my services everywhere. If there was a 5k race somewhere, I was there with my massage chair for the end of the race. A free 15-minute massage is always great, and I did get a few clients out of it, but I did it because I loved knowing that I helped people recover from a tiring race.
Make purchases that donate money for you.
I love killing two birds with one stone. Buy an item you need and have money from that purchase donated to a charity! Unilever sometimes publishes coupons in the Sunday newspaper, and what you do is purchase one of their products and give the coupon to the cashier. Every coupon redemption equals a meal donated to a family; when Thanksgiving season comes around again, keep an eye out for those. It’s an easy way to give back with no extra thought.
You can also make purchases online and choose to have some of that money donated to a charity of your choice. I needed more Post-Its for my blog planner, because I use those to easily plan my posts, so I went to GivingAssistant.org to buy them. Giving Assistant is a site where you can earn an average of 5% cash back on over 1,600 different stores online, including my favorites like Amazon, Sam’s Club, Wal Mart, and Target. In addition to getting cash back, Giving Assistant also allows you to donate any or all of that percentage to a charity of your choice. AND, even if you choose not to donate any of your cash back, Giving Assistant will donate a meal through the charity Feeding America.
I chose the charity Spirit Communications, Inc., which funds a local Christian radio station John listens to all the time. There happens to be no cash back option on Amazon, just a 1.5% donation, so part of my purchase went toward Spirit Communications, Inc. It was as simple as visiting the Amazon page on Giving Assistant, clicking their link to take me to Amazon (make sure you do this!), and then making my purchase like normal. No extra effort on my part, and I was able to make a difference for our radio station!
This time was only 8 cents, but it was only a small order, and every little bit counts! If you sign up today, you’ll receive $5.00 just for signing up, and the minimum amount for cashing out is $5.01, paid to you in just days, not months, so pretty much all you need is one purchase to earn that penny to cash out!
Use coupons to donate non-perishables at rock-bottom prices.
Couponing can be used for more than just stocking your pantry! If there’s a brand of toothpaste on sale that you don’t use but can get for free or pennies with a coupon you have, why not buy a bunch and donate them to your local shelter?
One of my favorite times to donate is the Thanksgiving season, because items like canned vegetables, mashed potatoes, and stuffing go on sale for way cheap. Meijer once had canned vegetables for $.25, so I made sure to buy a bunch for the Thanksgiving baskets my church was packing. If you’re not good at finding the best deals, there are plenty of sites that can help you. My two favorites are Kroger Krazy and KrazyCouponLady! They’ll go through the ads and stores for you and pick out the best deals, even including links to the coupons for you to print. Then all you need to do is just go to the store for the easy part!
It’s nice to know that even though we don’t have any income coming in right now, there are still ways we can help others without affecting our own finances. What else would you add to this list? Share below in the comments!
This post is sponsored by Giving Assistant, but all thoughts and opinions are my own.