5 Easy Ways To Give Back—Even When You’re Flat Broke

soup kitchen

The holiday season often inspires a warm feeling of wanting to give back, however the 9 per cent unemployment rate might kill the mood altogether.

There are plenty of ways to give back, however, even when you’re on a tight budget. We’ve compiled this list to show you how:

Use charity websites. For every trivia question you get right on the site FreeKibble, the organisation will give 10 pieces of kibble to hungry dogs and cats.

Since April 2008, the organisation says it’s donated over 500 million pieces of animal food.

You can also try the site Pack for a Purpose, which lets you donate items to different humanitarian causes around the world. Some of the items they need are as cheap as pencils and paper.

Another site to consider is Compassionpit.com, where people anonymously share their troubles. You can volunteer your time on the listening end.

Buy freebies. Keep an eye out for discounts, coupons and two-for-one sales offering things you’re not going to use. You can give the stuff to soup kitchens, homeless shelters, thrift shops or your local Goodwill.

Also think about de-cluttering and donating some old clothes, sportswear, etc. It will declutter your space and possibly help you budget. Some organisations like the Wireless Foundation also take old cell phones, then refurbish and sell them to help families dealing with domestic violence.

Start a social media campaign. One woman and her family donated $2,000 worth of Walgreen’s gift cards and a trailer full of canned food to the Joplin Jewish community centre. She did it through Twitter and a blog campaign. “You will inspire people–and there will be a ripple effect,” Mara wrote on her blog. Think about doing the same.

Give your time. Serve food at a soup kitchen. Volunteer to coach a little kids’ soccer team. Act like a “big brother” for the Boys & Girls Club. Tutor some under-privileged children in reading and maths, or work a few hours at a nearby thrift shop. It’s especially great to do this with kids, who oftentimes lack the attention and role models they need to help them become successful.

Save your change and then give it away. Throw some of your coins into some Salvation Army red kettles, or say yes when the supermarket cashier asks if you’d like to donate $1 to a breast cancer campaign. Nowadays you can also make small donations via text or rewards points on your credit card. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Discover Bay Games, Chase and American Express have all participated in these kinds of drives, with some using Twitter and Facebook and offering to match donations.

When you’re done volunteering, check out the deals at the dollar store >