I said yesterday that I was going to cover how to fulfill common New Year’s resolutions on the cheap – and the first one I’m going to start with is helping others. A lot of folks want to help others – but often feel they lack the time or resources to do so. Here are some simple, easy ways to do so without breaking the bank.
1. Try Web sites like freerice.com or Charitti.com. You get to play fun games like figuring out the meanings of words or filling in crossword puzzles. And in return – rice is donated to the hungry or a donation is made to various charities – you can select from several of them. There’s no catch, and they don’t ask for any user information. They’re advertiser supported, but they’re quite discreet – no pop up ads or anything like that.
2. Check out Sparked.com or HelpFromHome.org. These Web sites specialize in a new trend called micro-volunteering – where you give a small amount of time to do anything from writing a blog post to helping proofread a non-profit’s press release.
3. Okay, this one you have to leave the house for. . Share your expertise by starting a club at a local school – or just asking if you can come in an share your knowledge one day. You could start with teaching kids some basic money management skills!
4. Donate your unused frequent flyer miles. You can donate them to a variety of causes, including the Make A Wish foundation, the American Cancer Society, or the Salvation Army.
5. And speaking of the Salvation Army. Perhaps one of your New Year’s resolutions is to declutter your house or apartment? Donate things you no longer need or want to your local thrift shop!
I hope you’ve enjoyed this list – and please share it with others. It’s pretty awesome that you can play games and help others at the same time – it’s a sweet gig.
Do you think you’ll try anything listed here? I’m most curious about the micro-volunteering.
No, you shoudn’t. There, that was easy, wasn’t it?
I honestly can’t remember how I originally heard about Dave Ramsey. If you’re not familiar with him, he provides courses on how to get yourself out of a financial mess. He basically preaches the lessons he learned when he himself was in debt. Some folks like him and some folks don’t.
Dave Ramsey is a Christian. I mention this because it’s an important part of his life and his financial teachings. And I remember him saying way back when that when he was massively in debt – he still tithed to the church. And I took issue with this.
I don’t have issues with religion. Or tithing to your place of worship (if you can afford it, go for it!). What I do have issues with is donating money that you can’t afford – and that isn’t even yours! It’s not fair to run up debts you cannot pay back – and then give away money that could have helped pay them back.
I’m sure some folks will disagree with me on this – whether it’s donating to a food bank, a cancer charity, or tithing to your church.
Almost everyone carries debt – mortgage, car payments, student loans, etc. So, I’m not saying you shouldn’t donate to charity if you have any debt at all – because then no one would ever donate. What I am saying is that if you’re drowning in debt – that you have so much you can’t make your basic month to month payments, then you probably shouldn’t be donating to charity.
There are plenty of other ways to make a difference if you really want to support a charity. You can volunteer your time, help make phone calls, or do fundraising for them (just make sure that this alternate activity isn’t costing you gas money, etc. I remember seeing some personal finance blogs auction off a guest post spot to raise money for charity. There are lots of options out there.
What do you think? Do you donate to charity at all? Would you still do so if you were drowning in debt?
I’m trying out for a write spot. My guest post Should you donate to the homeless? was posted today on Canadian Finance Blog. Please check it out!