During the hustle and bustle of the holidays, it seems that sometimes, people forget to help others. I have always had the mantra that if I can afford to give my family presents, then I can afford to give to someone else. After all, I have been on the receiving end of such blessings growing up and so now it is my turn to pay it forward.
I realize the economy has affected so many people and there are more families than ever who need help. Now is a chance for you to help them out. You can do so by spending nothing to whatever your budget allows. Here are some ideas from the extremely frugal to ‘sky’s the limit.’
Do Unto Others: There are many charitable organizations, including hospitals and retirement homes, who could use an extra hand or too. If you can’t make a financial donation, why not donate yourself? This is a great way to help teach your children the importance of giving back and helping others.
Don’t “Keep the Change”: How many times do you walk by the bell ringers when you frequent a store? When you walk out, did you spend something and maybe get some loose change back? Why not toss that into the bin? Even a quarter can help – just do the math. If 1,000,000 people all gave just $0.25 10 times during the holidays, The Salvation Army could raise $1,000,000! Your outlay would be only $2.50. I make it a point to put something into the baskets every time I walk out of a store.
Check the Stockpile: If you shop in true Penny Pinchin’ Fashion, you probably have a nice stockpile of food, toiletries and house hold items. Some of you might even find a few games or toys tucked into your stash. Why not shop at home and donate items to your local food pantry or homeless shelter. They would certainly appreciate the help as they will see more people during this time of the year then they can sometimes handle.
Double Up Your Shopping Trip: For one shopping trip, why not use your savings from your coupons and pick up more items for that Thanksgiving or holiday meal? If you normally save $20 in your trip, imagine what you could do to help families in need if you just turned around and used that $20 to purchase food for others. Plus, most of you could probably do an amazing job of even stretching that $20 into even more savings!
Toys for Tots/Angel Trees: This one probably is the most widely known, but the one that probably needs the most help. We have 3 kids ages 2 – 6. Our church has a tree and so we find angels for children our ages. We then have them take a little money from their piggy bank and make them shop with us. It can be hard for them to use their money to help pay for something that they want and then have to hand it over — but we hope we are teaching them the importance of helping others. There are plenty of these all around your community and if you could take even just one, you will help one more person this holiday.
Adopt a Family: This is my personal favorite thing to do. In fact, my mom goes in on this with us. We have the best time getting clothes, presents, household goods and food to help a family have as wonderful a holiday as we know we will have. I know that I have been very blessed and God is so good to my family. When I am able to do something like this — with NO recognition – it is then that I know I am certainly a steward of God’s money and using it as he intended. Plus, I get to play “Santa” more than once! LOL!!!
There are certainly so many great ways to help others – and not just at the holidays. Share what you and your family do to help pay it forward in your community! I know I am always looking for another great way that I can try to help others.