San Diego Financial Literacy Center

Six Ways to Donate and “Give Back” Without Putting a Strain on Your Budget

The holidays bring cheer and a sense of family, and often remind us of the importance of giving to those less fortunate than ourselves. This is a wonderful gesture; however, we can sometimes put a strain on our own finances when trying to do “good.”

In this post, we will go over some ideas for giving back without having to take money from your budget. As a company and individually we feel it’s important to give back to the community and those in need when possible.

  1. Clean Out Your Old Clothes Most of us can easily go to our closets and drawers and find boxes of clothes we no longer use and probably never will again. If you have kids, the amount of clothes no longer used increases drastically. Find some boxes or trash bags and schedule a family afternoon of cleaning out unwanted items. Take them to a charitable donation center in your area or arrange to have your items picked up. This activity will clean out your closet and help out a good cause at the same time without costing you money.
  2. Volunteer Your Time – Find an organization in your area that can use the help. It could be an organization you already belong to or a new one that you would like to join. The volunteer possibilities are endless, especially if you live in a big city. Find a cause that you feel strongly about and contact them to ask how you can volunteer.
  3. Help Out With Sports – We sports fans have one or two sports that we grew up playing or still play (when not suffering from knee sprains or hamstring pulls). Give back to the community by volunteering to coach a team of your favorite sport. Find an age group and skill level that you feel comfortable with and enjoy a fun season. For added fun, recruit some friends and family to complete your coaching staff.
  4. Donate Your Old Vehicle – Do you have an extra vehicle that you don’t use? It could be costing you money to have the vehicle just sit. Take your old car and find a donation center. Many places will take vehicles running or not and will even drive out to tow the car. This will actually help a good cause and even clear up some extra funds in your budget. Make a difference and get a tax write off in the process.
  5. Organize a Fundraiser – This one takes more effort and may be more of a commitment, but it can be very rewarding. Find an organization that you would like to support and contact them about their current fundraising efforts. Ask if you can help organize a new fundraiser to support their cause. Start with something simple, like a car wash or food drive, and it could grow over the years and be very rewarding.
  6. Donate Blood – Local blood banks are always in need of donors. If your health permits and you’re up for it, consider donating. Schedule an appointment at your blood bank or find out when they are having a blood drive near you. Donating blood, especially if you have a rare blood type, can save lives and will not cause you to adjust your budget.

These are just six of the possibilities when considering alternatives or supplements to donating money to charitable organizations. Like everything else in budgeting, it’s important to remember that your budget is uniquely yours. When going over budgets, some individuals will not feel comfortable cutting back on donations and that’s okay. Just look for a different area of your budget to cut back.

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