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Giving Back on a Budget

The reasons for giving back are endless – you’re helping those in need, you’re improving your community, and it feels great. But if you’re on a tight budget or you struggle with debt management, that can make it more difficult. If you’re feeling discouraged though, know that even the small amounts or gestures can make a difference. Giving back on a budget is possible, and we have some tips to help you help others!

Even if you're on a tight budget or paying off debt, you can still give back!

Even if you’re on a tight budget or paying off debt, you can still give back!

Giving What You Can

Matched donations are a great way to give back on a smaller budget. If your company matches donations, you can put your work to work! Hurray for social responsibility! If you have spare change and the time to do so, you can also donate your coins to Coinstar’s Charity Partners. Those leftover coins from a past trip abroad can also help – UNICEF’S Change for Good accepts unused foreign currency to help save and improve the lives of children all around the world.

Giving Your Time

If donating money isn’t too feasible (especially if you’re paying off credit card debt), time is another appreciated resource! Especially so with kids – you can volunteer at your local library, museum or church group, for example. You might also be able to help out with after-school programs for low-income families. For those with cars, Meals on Wheels is another excellent cause for donating time to. Whether you’re able to drive once a week, once a month, or as needed, setting up a flexible schedule with Meals on Wheels is easy.

Animals love care and company too. Volunteering at an animal shelter is a fun way to make a difference.

Giving What You Have

There is probably is at least one article of clothing you just don’t wear anymore. But it could be exactly what someone else needs! If you work in a casual environment and that blazer you bought in college doesn’t fit your vibe anymore, consider donating it to Dress for Success to help women, or to Career Gear to help men. There’s a whole plethora of clothing charities that could use your gently worn clothing.

If your old clothes aren’t quite up to donation standards though (i.e., tears, holes, stains), Planet Aid is the charity for you. It’s an organization with a two-fold purpose – “for the environment, for people.” By accepting people’s donations, Planet Aid prevents these clothes from clogging up landfills, which helps protect the environment. After the clothes are processed, they’re sent overseas to developing countries to be resold, which helps create jobs there and creates accessibility to affordable clothing. Planet Aid uses the proceeds for development projects to combat poverty in these areas and to cover their recycling collection program.

Besides clothing, you might have other things collecting dust in your home. If you have kids, consider donating toys and DVDs they’ve outgrown to children’s hospitals, libraries, or even elementary schools.

Other Ways of Giving Back on a Budget

On Facebook, you can set up a fundraiser for a cause of your choice on your birthday. Or even offline, if close ones ask you what you want for your birthday, you can ask them to donate to charity. And while most are justifiably still wary of the coronavirus, donating blood is another cost-free way to help those in critical need (the Red Cross has set up precautions for interested donors). With these tips on giving back on a budget, your contribution will go far.

If you’re struggling to pay off debt, ACCC may be able to help. Schedule a free credit counseling session with us today. 


Rae Yen is a marketing coordinator at ACCC. She wants to help others optimize their financial resources and plan accordingly.

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