Donating on a Budget

It’s a common dilemma – you want to give money to worthy causes, but you don’t have much or any extra cash every month. Fortunately, there are still ways that you can make donations even when you’re on a tight budget.

Swap Out an Unnecessary Expense for a Donation

Take a look at what you spend in a typical month and see if there are any unnecessary expenses that you don’t mind parting with. Maybe you grab a $4 coffee plus a snack at Starbucks a couple times a week. Skipping those could free up $20 to $30, more than enough for a donation.

Find the Right Charity

When you’re on a budget, it’s even more important that you find the right charity. You can’t donate to all of them, so you should look around for one that matches what you value in life. That could be a cancer research charity, an animal shelter, or something entirely different.

Give Your Time

There are plenty of ways to donate without giving any money. One of the most common and most rewarding is donating your time. There are all kinds of volunteer opportunities available that you can try in your free time. Places that typically need volunteers include hospitals, food pantries, senior centers, and religious organizations. Just like you would if you were choosing a place to donate your money, look around to find an option that matches your values.

Keep your own skills in mind as well when you choose where to volunteer. If you’re good with the elderly, a senior center or home could be the perfect fit. If you have some construction skills, volunteer work that involves building something, such as Habitat for Humanity, is a great choice.

Donate Unused Items

How many items do you have lying around the house that you don’t use anymore? Many people could find plenty to donate just by spending 20 minutes going through their closets.

You can donate almost any household item that you want, including appliances, clothing, books, toys, and hygiene items. While two of the most popular organizations that accept these types of donations are Goodwill and the Salvation Army, there are likely others in your area.

Donate Medically

If you’re healthy and okay with needles, you have everything you need to donate blood to the Red Cross. Have a bit more time to spare? Consider donating plasma, as many donation centers will pay you a small amount when you do so. People are often in need of blood transfusions, and your donation could save a life.

You could also donate your hair. Locks of Love is one organization that accepts hair donations, and then uses those donations to make wigs for children whose hair fell out due to medical conditions. Wigs are usually expensive, often costing thousands of dollars, so Locks of Love helps provide free wigs to children who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford them.

These are just a few of the ways that you can give back even when you’re sticking to a tight budget. Regardless of your financial situation, you can still make a positive difference, and it’s well worth the feeling you get when you help others.