Today’s daily life may require family members to work two jobs to make ends meet. Prescription drugs, healthcare costs, increasing food prices and the general cost of living seem to be eating into the area of charitable giving. Volunteer organizations may require hours of training and time commitments that families with small children or multiple jobs can’t accommodate. However, here are several frugal, quick and easy ways you can contribute to the community without breaking the bank.

Round Up

I was recently asked to round up my $40.82 grocery bill to the nearest dollar to contribute to childhood diabetes research. My 18 cents may not seem like a lot, but if every other shopper rounds up, grocery stores can raise a lot for the charity. Considering that I had just saved about $52 by using coupons, I felt that 18 cents wasn’t going to break the bank.

Small Increment Events

Many people don’t believe charitable checks less than $20 or even $10 are significant enough to fill out and mail. Many people have friends running in races for charities or competing in certain events. Why not make a small donation per mile, per bowling pin, or per minute of activity. Many races now ask for donations via website.  If you know a friend running for a cause, you may be able to donate 50 cents per mile. If that friend completes 10 miles, you pay $5. Many local bowling alleys may sponsor an event for something like Big Brothers Big Sisters and allow donations per pin.

Coupon For The Local Food Bank

Do you really need 400 cans of soup, or 200 sticks of deodorant? It’s understandable that many people stock up for emergency events, but some stockpiles are beyond what any person and family could ever use in a lifetime. Many companies post coupons every 3 months or so; a deal today may also be available in a few months. Pet food is also a great item to donate to animal shelters and can be purchased for pennies with sales and coupons.  If couponing is not just a way of life but a fun challenge, challenge yourself to get some free items and donate them. Many shelters will give you a tax deduction receipt.

Deal Sites

Deal sites such as Living Social and Groupon offer more than fun things to do; they offer charitable giving for reduced prices. For example, Living Social has offered $10 to the USO for holiday troop packages for a $5 contribution. Check the sites for ways to give back to favorite charities.

Quick Volunteering

Many adults don’t have time to go through the 2 week volunteer program or commit every week. However, many animal shelters need dog walkers every day and require no experience or regular time commitments. As an added bonus, you’ll get some exercise. Do you know of a sight impaired person in your neighborhood? Offer to go by the house and read the newspaper or help them with letters and sale ads once a week. Lastly, many homeless shelters in urban areas allow walk-in volunteers to serve holiday dinners or work breadlines. Call ahead to make sure that training is not involved.

Clean Out Cabinets

Any food that will not be eaten by the “sell by” date can be cleaned out of the cabinets. Parents may also find themselves buying formula in bulk and then having to switch, leaving canisters unused. The baby food and formula can be taken to a women’s shelter. Canned goods that will not be eaten can be donated to food banks. Some places may also give a tax deduction receipt if requested.

Facebook It

O.B. tampons recently had a campaign on Facebook called the mighty small movement. This campaign provided sanitary protection information to girls and women in 3rd world countries who couldn’t go to school while menstruating because they did not have access to sanitary protection. O.B. would donate to this program when you “liked” their page and shared the link on Facebook. These kinds of charities are all over Facebook.

Click On Free Reputable Links Daily

Many reputable links exist on the Internet that allow you to click daily to donate to a cause. One that comes to mind is The Literacy Site. Simply click on the box to donate books to literacy programs. This site also links to The Rainforest Site, purchasing rainforest land. Other charitable sites provide mammograms, animal food, and veteran support.

Pennies and change

Every year, I start a jar with change found on the street. A penny here and a nickel there can really add up over time. Last year, I had about $3. This may not change the world, but it will be a good lesson for young children to put the change in a Salvation Army kettle, the Ronald McDonald house box, or in a cancer benefit box at a local restaurant.

At the end of the day, it’s not how much you give, it’s how much your heart was open to the giving process.  If these items still don’t work for your family, the most blessed heart is that which is content and thankful with what it has.

This has been a guest post by Victoria from St. Charles, MO
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