I’ve been reflecting a lot lately on things I would like to do once we have “MONEY.” New car – heck new tires on the existing used vehicle would be nice. Improvements to the house beyond a new coat of paint, although that in and of itself would be fabulous. A new wardrobe or even a pair of shoes that cost more than $9.99!
However, since that day is some time in the distant future I am absolutely content with what I have. A beautiful home, a car that runs, and a family that delights me to wake up to each and every morning. Those very important things make me feel that I do have an abundance of blessings and that I ought to be giving back.
Wouldn’t it be nice to provide funding for a wing of a library or hospital? Or to have a foundation that gave scholarships to youths in need, or even assist my local church with the building fund they are collecting for? Maybe someday!
There are things that anyone can do today no matter where they are along their personal financial journey. How to give back on a budget, you ask? There are endless possibilities! Let me just share a few here with you:
1) Give of your time! There are countless organizations that could use the special skills you possess. You can donate your time without ever leaving your house in some cases or as far away as you can imagine if that’s your thing. Help out at the local shelter, be a mentor to a child in need, or even bring in your neighbor’s trash can for him once in a while. You’ll make his day, and you’ll never know in what ways that will get paid forward to make our world a little better.
2) Give of your body! Ok, hear me out on this one. I am a big believer in donating blood. One donation can help save the lives of up to three people! My parents are always donating and it instilled the habit in me at a young age. You can go every 8 weeks, and United Blood Services even has a rewards program to add a little bit of an incentive into the mix if you are looking for one. We recently lost a loved one to leukemia and during his battle learned a bit about bone marrow transplants. It could mean someone’s life someday if you’d be willing to join the donor registry – so please give it some thought.
3) Give of your groceries! I have been a bit of a couponer since Daniel and I first moved in together and money has always been tight. Nothing like some of the crazy moms you see on television, but I do get a thrill out of saving money on our grocery bill and sometimes even scoring something FREE! Often the free stuff isn’t something I would normally use, but I know other people can. I was very moved by a
book Daniel brought home for me about a year ago that talks specifically about donating items you get for free or very little money with the help of coupons. We try to pick up at least one item to donate with every grocery trip and donate to our church’s food bank. You never know who you might be helping!
4) Give of your old junk! You know you have it. Clothes that haven’t fit in years, old appliances that you haven’t taken out of the box since you received it as a gift at your wedding five years ago, sports equipment, tools, toys that have rarely been played with, you name it. Don’t become a hoarder! Make it a point to go through your things once a quarter. If you’re on the fence about something, go ahead and keep it. BUT if you haven’t used it by the time the next quarter rolls around, out it goes. The Salvation Army, Goodwill, and Deseret Industries are some of the major institutions that would love your old, gently used items.http://deseretindustries.lds.org/donate?lang=enghttp://www.salvationarmyusa.org/usn/www_usn_2.nsfhttp://www.goodwill.org/
5) Give of your pocket change! We all have it, but where does it go? Most men I know tend to have some type of large jar where loose change resides into eternity, but I say get the whole family involved. Pick up those dirty pennies you see on the sidewalk – yes they are still worth something! Have a timeframe designated to collect, maybe a year or so, and then as a family decide what worthy cause you’d like to donate to. Then start all over again.
Something else to consider: make sure you keep receipts of items donated if you itemize on your taxes. This should indicate what organization received the donation and what was given (money or property). It may be up to you to place a value on the property that was donated.
What are you waiting for? Find what you’re passionate about and begin the cycle of giving back now! Waiting until you have the “money” might be too late to instill these habits in yourself and in your family. Someone needs what you have to offer today!