6 Ways to Give

I know it’s tough to think about giving when we are in the midst of this global economic crisis; however, this is also the time that you can make the most difference by giving.  So if you can spare it, give it!

Photo by Mr. Kris via Flickr

1. Answer Santa Mail(s) At The Post Office

I am not sure if you can go to just any post office.  But a good friend of mine went to our local post office a couple of years ago to read through the mound of mails and he picked out a few.  He shared the letter with me and another friend and we decided to fulfill their wishes.

Yes, it could be a hit or miss thing, but if you take your time to pick out a letter that you can really relate to, making that wish comes through is a special feeling.

Here’s more information at USPS: Mailing (and answering) letters to Santa.

2. Invite Your Neighbors Over For Dinner

The economy may make it impossible for some families to get together this year.  You may have some neighbors that are spending this holiday season alone.  If you can muster the courage and open your heart, inviting your neighbors over is a great way to bring joy to their hearts.  This is also a great way to make a few friends; especially if you haven’t been all that “close” with your neighbors.

3. Donate To Charities

This one goes without saying, donating to your favorite charities is a great way to help out the causes that you care about the most.  The tough economy is putting a lot of strain on some charitable organizations — i.e., soup kitchens and homeless shelters — and they can probably use your help the most.  And don’t forget that charitable donation will save you a few dollars off your tax bill.

By the way, My Super-Charged Life is holding a giveaway where he will donate to your favorite charity.

4. Give Away Stuff You Don’t Use Or Need

If you can’t afford to give money, that’s okay.  You may have some old stuff that you don’t use or need.  Your local Salvation Army will take just about anything that you can spare.  And if they don’t want it, there’s always Freecycle.org.

5. Volunteer Your Time

Another way to give without spending money is by volunteering.  You can check out your local libraries, churches, non-profit organizations, and YMCA.  If you don’t feel like roaming the neighborhood to find volunteer opportunity, you can check out VolunteerMatch.  There are even opportunities for physically disabled individuals to share their skills and knowledge.

6. Be A Mentor And Give The Gift Of Knowledge

Last but not least is the gift of knowledge.  I guess it’s a little hard to plan this one unless you volunteer to teach somewhere.  However, if someone comes to you for help or advice, take the time to teach and point him or her in the right direction.  It always makes me feel great when I can help someone learn something new or be better at something.

Have your own ideas for more ways to give? Make sure you let everyone know in the comments!

And here are the rest of the 12 Days of Christmas – Personal Finance Style from the M-Network

About the Author

By , on Dec 6, 2008
Pinyo is the owner of Moolanomy Personal Finance. He is a licensed Realtor specializing in residential homes in the Northern Virginia area. Over the past 20 years, Pinyo has enjoyed a diverse career as an investor, entrepreneur, business executive, educator, and financial literacy author.

Leave Your Comment (7 Comments)

  1. Pinyo says:

    @Donna — hello there! I like that “free after rebate” trick and that’s very kind of you. I also like your other examples, I think they are great. I agree we all have plenty of extras lying around the house that we don’t need or use — I know I do.

  2. Go to Rite Aid or Walgreens each month and buy “free after rebate” toiletries. Donate them to shelters.
    Take advantage of coupons like the one J.C. Penney just sent out, “$15 off your next purchase of $15 or more,” combining with sale prices whenever possible. I used this coupon to buy socks, hats and gloves for the family my sister and I adopted for the holidays and also for a homeless encampment currently living in my church’s parking lot.
    Look through your house for something useful and give it to a social service organization. Recently a shelter for homeless young adults (18-25) put out a wish list and I was pleasantly surprised to find that I had extras of things like playing cards, mini sewing kits, socks, toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo and lip balm. Most of these items were either free after rebate (see above) or were obtained at garage sales. One of the mini sewing kits was obtained from the “free” box at a yard sale.
    I’m not suggesting you give away your last/only bottle of shampoo, or that you take your child’s mittens out of his coat pockets. Take care of your own/your family’s needs first. But many of us have things we could share.

  3. Pinyo says:

    @Jeff – Thank you. No problem about the mention. I think you’re doing a great thing.

    @Andrew – You’re welcome.

    @Make Friends – Yeah, I know it’s sad. It’s worse in the big city.

  4. Donny Gamble says:

    I think the first way to give should be to give back to the lord then worry about everything else to fall in place

  5. Jonathan says:

    Inviting the neihbours to dinner is a great way to give something back and is also an excellent way of building friendships in the long term. It’s shocking but in western countries statistics show that less than 50% of people speak to their neighbours on a weekly basis.

  6. Andrew says:

    Yes, Christmas is a great time of year to step back from the massive consumerism and to figure out what is truly worthwhile. With suggestions like this, it makes it easier. Thanks.

  7. Jeff says:

    These are fantastic ways to give back during the holidays. I really appreciate the mention of my charity donation giveaway. I hope lots of your readers nominate their favorite charity so I can give big!

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