As we enter the holiday season, thoughts turn to ways of giving back to those who are less fortunate. However, if you are feeling like one of the less fortunate, it may be hard to wrap your mind around how you can help.The truth is, there are some very powerful ways that you can help without spending a dime. In fact, while it may seem like giving money has the most value, your time and talents may actually be of more significant use.
The Power of Giving Back
One of the best times to give back is when we are struggling to make ends meet and so bogged down in our own financial woes that we can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel.
Turning our focus on others not only benefits those we help but also helps to lift our own spirits. In an article from the Cleveland Clinic, we learn about specific health benefits:
· Lower blood pressure
· Increased self-esteem
· Less depression
· Lower stress levels
· Longer life
· Greater happiness
Ways of Giving Back
There are a number of ways to give back without reaching into your wallet.
Donation of Items from Your Home
Consider making efforts as a family. Start by looking in your drawers, closets, basement and garage for items that are gently used that others need.
Spend time this weekend with your family going through your home to find clothing, toys, household items that you rarely use. Make a game of what you find. See who can collect the most.
Then itemize what you have gathered, because not only will others benefit from your generosity, but you will also be able to claim your donations on your taxes. Check out this handy Value Guide from Goodwill to help you determine the dollar value of each item you are donating.
Donation of Your Time
Even smaller communities have at least one church that operates a food pantry. Perhaps there is someone that you know that needs to have a roof repaired or some rooms painted, but they cannot afford the costs. Make a deal with your local church that if the church pays for the materials you will supply the labor. If the first church says no, it will not be difficult to fine one that will agree. Money and material goods can be excellent gifts, but the valuable of your time given in a loving manner, is, perhaps, more valuable.
Many organizations seek helpers to stuff mailers, make phone calls, deliver meals, or make visits to shut-ins. Your time is a valuable commodity and a wonderful way to give back.
Remember, your travel miles can be deducted at tax time if you are filing an itemized return. Keep track of your miles. In 2017 the IRS offers $.14/mile associated with charitable work. Here are the details: IRS Mileage Deduction
If you aren’t able to leave your home to help, you may be surprised to find ways the Internet allows you to give back.
Here is a quick way you and your family and work on vocabulary words while making a difference in the lives of others.
Free Rice works with World Hunger to donate rice. Simply play the word game and watch your donations grow.
Give Back Through Regular Purchases
There are some stores that will donate a portion of your purchase to worthy causes. Check with your local grocery store. Often there are programs where you can submit the receipt from your regular shopping for a 10% donation.
Additionally, there are national companies who historically donate within the community. When you have a choice of where to make a purchase, do a little research to see what businesses support non-profit organizations. Here is a list of 53 businesses that are well known for their philanthropy.
Your financial struggles are real. However, you aren’t the only one who is concerned about paying bills and supporting your family. If we come together, we may be able to, not only help others, but also find ways to help ourselves.
Remember that the professionals of Bankruptcy Advocates are on your side. Need help with your own financial situation? Give us a call. The first consultation is free.
Southern Illinois Bankruptcy Attorney law firm Bankruptcy Advocates is located in Carbondale and serves a wide geographic community. The first consultation is always free. Give us a call at 618-549-9800 or email us at [email protected] to speak about your case or legal matter. Convenient appointment times are available.