Thursday, September 23, 2010

Finding Money to Give

In case you're not sure what this post stems from, read here for a brief summary and related posts.  This summary page can also be found just under the header picture (above) and is entitled, "Living Simply to Give".  All related posts are listed there.

Also, I want to say that this post, and other similar ones that may follow, are for those of you who want to join us on this venture of living simply in order to give.  If you're not interested in this concept, that is okay.  Please know that I am, in no way, trying to tell you what to do or how to live your life.  That, my dear friends, is up to you to decide.  These are merely suggestions for those of you who want to make some changes.


Okay.  Are you ready to get down to business?  The way I see it, there are three ways to find money to give.  They are 1) by freeing up money in your budget, 2) by hijacking money you are diverting elsewhere, and 3) by earning it in creative ways.  Your task, if you're up to it, is to sit down and look over your budget carefully  to determine which of the three (or combination of all three) will be possible for your household.

(Some folks are also able to give of their time through volunteering.  That is another post for another day.)

Freeing Up Money in Your Budget

By this I mean that you pare down on your spending.  Ouch.  I know.  It may hurt at first, but believe me, soon it will come easily and may actually become a bit addictive.  What a wonderful impulse to have!

So, what can you do without this month?  Can you go out to eat one less time?  That could be $40 right there.  What about your cable bill?  Do you really watch all those channels?  Could you downgrade a bit and set that money aside?  If you planned a bit more carefully, could you spend less money on groceries this month if you ate less meat or bought less sweets/ junk food/soda?  What about setting a goal to lower your electric or heating bill by a certain amount?

Avoid going shopping because you're bored and need to get out of the house.  I succumbed to this temptation often when I just had one child.  It was easy to tote him along and I wasn't used to being at home all the time.  Looking back, it makes me sad to think of the things I bought- not huge things- just crap.  Having three makes this less appealing and I've learned some lessons, but occasionally I find myself going out because I need one thing.  This one thing is often something that could wait.  Instead I take off, waste gas to get there and end up making an unnecessary purchase or two.  I come home feeling like a sucker.  Let's guard ourselves against this worldly temptation that says buying things will fulfill us.  It will not.  And, in this case, it robs others who are in real need of money we can give.

This option makes you look at the money you are spending and asks you what you can do with less of.  You'll be amazed as how small changes can create significant funds that can be given to those who need food, water and the message of Jesus.

Hijacking Money You're Diverting Elsewhere

Are you saving for something?  Retirement, a vacation home, an expensive vacation, a new car, an addition to your home, to redecorate or remodel?  It's up to you to determine what you really need.  That's not my job.  My (self-imposed) job is to make you think about it.  What if you took a portion of what you're saving and gave it away instead?

Earning Money to Give in Creative Ways

This is the fun one and is for those of us who don't have much money in a budget to play with and don't have money to hijack.  Here are a few suggestions....

~ Sell stuff you don't use/don't need on ebay, at a local consignment shop or yard sale. 

~ Donate plasma (they pay you for it).  If you're into that kind of thing.

~ Search with Swagbucks, use the gift cards to buy necessary purchases and then donate what you're saved.  When I signed up for Swagbucks, I NEVER thought it would enable me to give.  If they only knew!!

~ Can you bake?  Tell family and friends you are selling homemade bread, rolls, sweet rolls, cookies, etc. to raise money for a cause and make sure you charge enough to gain a profit.  Give the profit away.  This is a great one to get your kids involved in.

~ Host meals in your home.  Now before you think I want you to turn your home into a restaurant, hear me out.  They are several women in our area who host groups of people in their home for a home-cooked meal.  Our friends and family have frequented their homes several times and enjoyed incredible meals worth every penny.  It will take some time to get the word out.  Start by inviting friends and family and host at cost for the first time.  Encourage them to spread the word.

~ Are you artsy or crafty?  Make and sell homemade items on Etsy and donate your profits.  And, don't forget to tell me about it, so I can feature your wares in my sidebar or host a giveaway for you to get the word out.

~ Go dumpster diving.   If you're into that kind of thing.  Just remember to be safe and avoid places that have signs forbidding trespassing.  That can get you into trouble.  We haven't dumpster-dived ourselves, but we have family who do and we've been the recipients of some excellent finds.  (Okay, do you really think we're crazy now?)

~ Seek out coupons (for things you'd buy anyway) and donate the savings.  Here is a friend's site you may want to check out.

~ If you really don't want anything for your birthday or Christmas, ask loved ones to make a donation to a cause of your choice instead.

~ Do you or your kids wear hand-me-down clothes?  We do!  We've been blessed with two families (Thank you Susie and Jennifer!!) that send their older kids clothes our way.  We only occasionally have to buy socks, underwear and shoes.  What a savings!  If you don't already get hand-me-downs, take a deep breath and politely ask a friend who has kids older than yours what she does with her kid's clothes once they outgrow them.  She may be pleased as punch to send them your way.  This saves an incredible amount of time and money. 

If that doesn't pan out, you will be amazed at the name brand (if you're into that sort of thing and willing to admit it:-)) and often like new (sometimes with the tags still on!) clothing you can find at your local Goodwill or Salvation Army.  It's a great place to start, then go shopping at the retail stores- you'll save tons.

~ Those loose change jars?  Count up that money (get your kids to help) and give it away.

~ Offer to shovel your neighbor's driveway for a donation.  Explain where their money will go.

~ Plan on planting excess produce in your garden next year to sell at a road side stand.

I think I've really only scratched the surface here.  I know a lot of you have experience cutting costs with the way the economy is.  I am not advocating that anyone should become irresponsible (giving more than they can afford) in their giving, but many of us have a lot of wiggle room here.

Now, let's go find us some money to give! Pin It


  1. You've gotta be careful on selling the homemade goods, at least in my state, because they are STRICT about using a commercial kitchen to produce consumer food goods in Illinois.

  2. Goodwill = awesomeness. I never have to worry about stuff shrinking the first time I wash it when I buy from Goodwill.

  3. This post really made me think. We've been working hard to cut back in a lot of areas so we can still put money into savings even though I'm a stay-at-home mama now. The weird thing is, I don't think we actually MOVE the money into our savings account on a regular basis! For example, since we ditched cable months ago, we should have been taking that extra $__ and put it away. Yeah. Not so much. I think tomorrow I need to sit down and take a look at the budget again. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Hello,
    The ladies at my church save their coupons for me and I cut them out.Then I sit aside a certain amount of money that I use for our church food bank. With the coupons I am able to make that money really stretch.I am so honored to help out our food bank in this way.
    This is another way to give.

  5. Hi! I just found your blog via a response to a post on Eat the Damn Cake. And I appreciate the offer to spread the word about my Etsy shop! ( And if you'd be willing to host a contest, I will offer up at least one of my handmade cards!

    (Please comment on my blog,, if you're interested :D)

    Thanks! - Liz

  6. Love your wonderful posts on living simply to give. We aim to do the same thing. We do, too, need to save money to support our autistic son once we're gone, but we still, with creativity (and joy) are able to be generous.

    I can second the notion of Dumpster-diving, but mostly, we grow what we can, and simply avoid shopping for ourselves as much as possible.

    Can you add my Etsy shop to your sidebar?

    I can't wait to read more of your posts!


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