Supporting local charities and causes in my hometown is something that is near and dear to my heart. But unfortunately, I don’t have much money built into my monthly budget for charitable giving because much of my income is going toward paying off my consumer debt and student loans, not to mention trying to build a decent sized emergency fund.
Thus, I’ve had to get creative in order to be able to give more to charity without spending a lot of money. Here are a few things I’ve done to increase my charitable donations without busting my budget.
Donate Your Stuff
I’ve touched on this before, but one way I give to charity is by donating my clutter. I don’t mean this in a degrading way at all. When I go through and decide that I’m no longer going to keep something I decide if it’s Ebay worthy or yard sale worthy, donation worthy, or only worthy of going in the trash.
Obviously the best stuff that I’m getting rid of is going to be put aside for my next yard sale or donated. Plus, after my yard sale is over I always donate whatever is leftover too.
Use Coupons for Your Charitable Donations
My monthly budget does include a line item for charitable donations, but it’s a very small amount ($10). Luckily, I’ve found a way to make my $10 stretch into several shopping bags worth of stuff for a local women’s shelter. Our local women’s shelter will occasionally spread the word that they are in need of certain items, like toothpaste, deodorant, makeup and beauty products, or feminine hygiene items.
Lots of these things are actually pretty pricey to go buy at the store and they don’t accept used products for obvious (hygienic) reasons. But because one of my hobbies is couponing, I can usually donate quite a bit of these kinds of things throughout the year. Whenever I can get these items for next to nothing I stock up and then when they say they need more donations, I can gather up my stockpile and donate it to them. They loving getting my donation and they never have to know that I got most of the items for nearly free thanks to coupons.
Give Your Free Time
Another great idea you can use to make a difference without sacrificing any of the money you have ear-marked for debt repayment is to volunteer your time. Between my full-time job, my part-time job, my blog, and my online side hustles, I don’t have a lot of free time these days but I always find a way to fit in volunteer work when one my favorite organizations calls me up needing help with something.
For instance, I’m going to be spending two Saturdays in a row helping with 4-H events in my hometown. I could certainly be using that time to work on other things, but it’s a cause that’s important to me so I make time for it when they need help.
Giving to charity and organizations in your community doesn’t mean you have to break the bank. In fact, lots of organizations are happier to receive these things, especially volunteer labor, instead of just a check hastily written out to their cause.
How do you fit charitable giving into your budget? What tricks do have you found works best to stretch your charitable donations? Do you donate throughout the year, or just at specific times?
Photo courtesy of: Kathryn Harper