How To Give Back When You’re Short On Cash

By P. Hawley | September 2016

Giving Back Doesn't Have To Involve Money

The global economy is a rollercoaster. China’s growth rate goes down 6%, Brexit occurs and global warming is at its worst with record breaking global temperatures. The world feels as if it is in turmoil. On top of that you’re worried about job security or paying back student loans, and charitable giving seems like a secondary priority. Don’t lose heart. Giving back and making a difference doesn’t have to break the bank.  Here are some low cost and meaningful ways to give.


1. Cultivate an Attitude of Abundance

First, let’s start with our minds. Be courageous and realize that you have more than you think. If you have a bed, shelter, clothing, a job, and family or friends, then you are in a very “wealthy”  state. Understanding your own abundance will allow you to see how much you actually have.

Go over the positives in your life. Write down heartfelt quotes that inspire you. As you fill yourself up with this goodness, you will be able to give to others. This gratitude will not only make us feel happier, but also keep our hearts healthier.

2. Pick up the Phone

Instead of being constantly worried about where our world is going, why not pick up the phone and find out how someone else is doing? Forget your concerns for a moment. Instead of calling someone to vent, why not call them to tell them you care?

Calling someone “for no reason” is an important opportunity show them that you are thinking of them. You are taking time out of your busy day to reach out. Everyone needs someone to just listen sometimes. They may be filled with joy or sadness. Be there to celebrate their good news, or support them with compassion.

A side benefit to you is that people who have satisfying relationships with family, friends and their community are happier, have fewer health problems and live longer. Remember, listening does not cost anything financially, and look at the good you are doing!   

3. Thank You Notes

While some people enjoy receiving gifts, all of us appreciate a kind word. It is one thing to say it, but it can be even more meaningful to put a note in writing. What if you made a commitment to write a thank you note to someone every week? Since the invention of stamps in 1840, this has been possible. Hallmark really innovated by coming up with the concept of greeting cards. In the early 1900s an aspiring entrepreneur, Joyce Clyde Hall, left Nebraska to sell his cards in Kansas City.  He simply had positive quotes, and put them in the cards. Soon we had cards for birthdays, anniversaries, graduations and the like.

Now you can congratulate friends on a new job, express condolences for the passing of a loved one, or simply say you are thinking of them. You can think of any positive reason you like. Handwritten letters are memorable, and heartfelt.

4. Invite Someone Over for Dinner

You never know what someone might be going through - a painful divorce, struggling through college, or just having a bad day. Opening up your home will make someone feel appreciated.   In addition, it costs less than going out. The leftovers from this dinner can be packaged up for the homeless. That’s double giving!  

5. Set Aside Money From a Daily Ritual to Donate

Giving doesn't have to mean a life full of sacrifices. We can still buy an In-N-Out burger or get our nails done. But instead of buying several Starbuck’s coffees every week, you can drink one less.  Donate the money you saved: Even $5 can make a difference in someone’s life. In the U.S. it can buy a small lunch, but abroad it can be used to build a library or to buy mosquito nets to prevent malaria. In these cases, your money is scaling to help many people -- your dollar goes even further.

Difficult financial times does not mean your giving must shut down. Instead, it allows us to examine how our time and money are spent. Do you have time to write that kind note? Have a free moment to make a delicious home cooked meal? There are so many ways to give back that won't hurt your wallet and will enrich your life.  It takes a different view of wealth. This kind of wealth consists of kindness, patience, and selflessness.   

There’s not a moment to wait - let’s get started giving of our abundance!