Sharing and Giving

by Kelly · 8 comments

in Money & Spending

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 €5, others I could go up to €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 €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?


1 Nancy January 4, 2010

great post. love that the delivery service has that food bank option and what a great way for you to do for others.

i’ve got a stack of clothes for our salvation army store. need to do one more sweep of my closet and then just pack them up and deliver.
.-= Nancy´s last blog .. =-.

2 Emily January 4, 2010

Kelly, I really enjoyed this post. Isn't it amazing to look at our situations in a world-view and see how much we have? I've got a bunch of Andrew's outgrown clothes upstairs, and you've inspired me to do more than drop them at the Salvation Army. Yes, it's a great organization, but it helps people in an already affluent country. That dollar could go so much farther in Darfur or Sudan.

Now, if only this affluent country could get on the ball and let me order my groceries online! 🙂
.-= Emily´s last blog ..Week 1 – 1/2/10 =-.

3 Rebecca at Alice January 4, 2010

This is such a great reminder for the New Year. Personally, I have never felt more content than when I was volunteering at a local food pantry. Somehow volunteering didn't make it on to my list of resolutions and goals this year… going to go add it now.
.-= Rebecca at Alice´s last blog ..New Week, New Product =-.

4 Kasey at Thrifty Lit January 4, 2010

What a great time of year to read these thoughts!

I try to multi-task my spending whenever possible by doing things like going to an event that benefits a cause (like a charity race) or buying a product that donates some of its proceeds.
.-= Kasey at Thrifty Little Blog´s last blog ..Thrifty Resolutions for 2010 =-.

5 Craig January 4, 2010

Agree, if you can't share money share some time. It will be very rewarding, you can meet new people, and can learn some new stuff.
.-= Craig´s last blog ..Weekly Personal Finance Twitter Chat: Scholarships =-.

6 iamtheworkingpoor January 5, 2010

I’m not in a good enough financial position to donate money or time but I do donate to a local charity shop as I declutter my house. I also occasionally babysit for a coworker who is a single mother. Sometimes she has emergencies or school holidays when the daycare is also closed.
.-= iamtheworkingpoor´s last blog ..Little Things Revisited =-.

7 More Style Than Cash January 7, 2010

I really understand how you want to contribute but money isn’t always the option. In the past during the summer I picked pine cones when they are just falling off the trees in our area and are clean and dry. In the fall and winter I passed them on to children’s groups like Scouts and Guides and our local grade schools for the children to make crafts with. This saves the groups a little bit of money because they don’t have to buy craft supplies. They have made everything from Christmas tree ornaments to bird feeders and pine cone turkeys from them.
.-= More Style Than Cash´s last blog ..Get On Track (Cheaply) With Your New Years Exercise Resolution =-.

8 Heather at Shallow Pockets January 9, 2010

Great post. My job is to raise money for a small private college. The one thing that I wish everyone understood was that giving small amounts ($10-20, etc) is just as important as giving a larger gift. Many organizations just need you to support them in one way or another and that may just mean to support them with your time. My husband has lost his job twice in the past two years and we live in Wilmington, Ohio where DHL (our largest employer) left the town without thousands of jobs. Somehow, we always manage to find $10 or more to give away each month. I truly believe giving and volunteering bless our lives.

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