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Tuesday Tip: Give the Gift of Your Time

the gift of timeAs is tradition in many families around this time of year, rooms, phone lines, texts, and emails are filling up with conversations about what everyone wants for a gift this year. Some people will have a specific gift in mind, some may have no idea, and some will simply say, “Oh, don’t get me anything.” Although they’ll probably just want you to decide for them. For the person who has everything, or just won’t give you any ideas, you can always give them your time.

While the conversations were circulating in my family, I inquired as to what my parents might want for a gift this year. You know what they asked for? My time… literally. Well, that time will be spent doing some work. They want my help in painting their kitchen. That’s it. This is something that I would wind up doing anyway, but they would rather I saved my money and didn’t spend it on a gift when all they want is a new color on the walls.

It just goes to show you that donating your time as a gift isn’t just a cliche or a cop-out to save money. People really do appreciate it. If you’re working with a tight budget this year, then it can be beneficial to you as well. Here are some ideas:

  • A night of babysitting.
  • Help with a household project (painting, tiling, cleaning, moving, etc.).
  • Share your skills. Whatever your trade, someone would probably appreciate some free work.
  • Make a coupon book that someone can cash in for a certain number of favors.

The holidays can seem so consumer-driven at times. It feels good to help someone on a more personal level by just spending time and lending a hand when they need it. So, if you’re struggling to come up with gift ideas or working with a small budget, think about giving your time as a gift.

Do you have any ideas for how to give your time as a gift? We’d love to see it in the comments below!


Andi is a Marketing Assistant at ACCC. He is passionate about supporting financial literacy efforts and helping to educate people on the Talking Cents blog!

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