November’s here once again, which means Thanksgiving is just around the corner! I love being able to spend time with family and eat good food. This is also the season of giving, and I love being able to give back to the community to make sure they have something to eat for Thanksgiving, too. Living on one income now means we have to be careful where our money goes, but we still want to do special things for those in need this season. Can you still give back when you have little money? Yes! This year starts year 3 of living on one income, and we’ve managed to make it work. Here are three things you can do this season to give back.
Volunteer your time
You don’t have to give money to make a difference in someone’s life! You can most certainly help by volunteering your time. Perhaps it’s at a homeless shelter, or a community Thanksgiving dinner, or even helping at a church to pack Thanksgiving baskets like at our church. Being right up front and giving your time, yourself, to these people makes such a huge difference.
Look for mega sales to purchase donation items
This might sound weird for some of you. Is it considered being cheap buying donation items at the lowest price possible? I say definitely not! Like I said above, my church collects items to pack 1,500 Thanksgiving baskets for families in our community, and we get a list every year of what goes in each basket. It’s always boxes of stuffing, mashed potatoes, and Jell-O, and cans of corn, green beans, and cranberry sauce and packets of gravy. If you’re familiar with sales cycles, you probably know that November is when those kinds of items go on sale. Kroger is a major one; they usually have a mega sale where if you buy 10 items you get $5.00 off at checkout, and a lot of items on our list are in that sale. Because of these sales, we can go above and beyond what we had hoped for and can buy multiple baskets to help these families without going over our budget.
This year we just finished up purchasing the last few items for our baskets. Kroger had a lot of the items on sale this week, but we saw that Wal Mart had a couple things even cheaper, so we went there instead. I’m not showing you this picture to brag or say “Look how great we are!”; this is to show you that you can give something, even if you’re on a limited budget. Maybe it’s not a cart full of items for you, but it could be a couple things you didn’t think you were able to afford!
Budget your money each month for giving
After we realized how passionate we were about donating for Thanksgiving baskets, John and I created a savings account just to put aside money each month for this. We do this with Christmas too; John has his bank accounts set up so that every week, money automatically gets put into that account to save up. It doesn’t matter if it’s $20.00 a week or even just $5.00 a week; if you truly want to give this season, try using an automatic deposit into a separate account to see if you miss the money. Chances are, you probably won’t even notice it’s gone!
I would love to see every family in the world have a nice dinner for Thanksgiving. John and I do what we can, but we’re just one family. Perhaps this is something you and your family can do together! I truly believe it’s better to give than to receive, and it brings our family closer together knowing that we’re making a difference in someone’s life.
What have you done recently or would like to do this holiday season? Share your stories with us in the comments!