We don’t have a lot of money, but compared to many others, we have so, so much. With a (nice) roof over our heads, (new) clothes on our backs and (plenty of) food to eat, it’s hard not to share with others. On the other hand, our budget (what there is of it) is tight and there’s not always a lot left over to share.
One of my New Year Resolutions this year is to give a bit to others every week. Some of the things that I’ll be trying to do to keep that resolution are things that I already do, others will be integrated into my budget in new ways.
I’ve long believed in the ‘one thing in, one thing out’ theory of buying stuff, but mostly because otherwise I’m an unorganized mess. Getting rid of something each time I buy something new is one way to keep clutter under control. This isn’t a new idea either- all organization experts will tell you to do just that at one point or another.
The first thing is to give it to a worthy cause (in your eyes). For example, I could Freecycle my old stuff, but I mostly choose not to. I find that the people on Freecycle are mostly like me (educated, own a computer, make at least an adequate living) and that the main philosophical goal of the organization is to keep things from being thrown away into the dump. I prefer to give stuff to the local thrift store, which is not part of a national chain, and who helps people in transition learn new job skills and get back on their feet. It serves a dual purpose as the proceeds from sales go to support international children’s projects, mostly in Africa. I can feel comfortable that my gift is being used to support two causes I believe in. (I also shop there from time to time.)
It’s also important to make sure it’s worthy of being given. While it’s better to find a new use for old stuff than just throwing it away, that new use has to be appropriate and dignified. For example, I once gave some old blankets and towels to an animal shelter. I wouldn’t have wanted people to use them, but I know the dogs appreciated them!
I belong to two non-profit associations which are near and dear to my heart. I don’t always get to spend as much time as I would like giving of myself to these groups, but when I do, I know that I am sharing my knowledge and expertise with others.
Food & Food Banks
Lately I’ve been buying my groceries online. I love the convenience of it, and how someone else gets to haul it to my door. And it’s especially nice to be able to avoid dealing with the crowds and hassle of shopping… even more so because my hubby usually ends up putting everything away!
I’ve discovered yet another advantage to ordering online, however. The store I buy from has a Food Bank section. I can choose anything from that area of the site, add it to my cart and pay for it. It will then be sent to the local food bank at the end of the month.
I’ve started adding a few things every time I shop. I do it at the beginning of the session- that way I know when I’ve hit my limit. Some weeks, for example, I might only want to spend â‚¬5, others I could go up to â‚¬10. A little bit goes a long way, however. There was a computer glitch one of the first times I tried this service and the groceries that were intended for the food bank ended up being delivered to me. All together, and only â‚¬10 worth, they filled a big shopping bag when I brought them back to the store.
How do you give or volunteer frugally? Any money saving donation tips?