5 Ways To Give Back Without Spending A Dime

Unsplash/Riccardo Annandale

After spending a long weekend entirely focused on what deals we can snag at our local shopping spots or somewhere on the wonderful internet, we can all afford to take a step back and ask how we can serve the world around us.

Science shows that, at the end of the day, giving feels far more rewarding than receiving. And often, the ways in which you can choose to give back don’t have to cost much at all. Below are five easy ways to share what you have with others that won’t cost you a dime. They just require a little time, energy and consideration.

1. Share your lunch (and a smile) with someone in need.

Unsplash/Bonnie Kittle

Instead of just noticing that person on the subway (or sidewalk) who is clearly struggling and averting your eyes to avoid an inconvenience, share a little bit of yourself. Make kind eye contact and offer even the smallest of smiles to show that you empathize with them as a total stranger. And if you happen to be carrying your lunch to work, consider sharing it with the person across from you. You don’t have to go hungry, but we’re sure even a granola bar could play a real role in brightening the other person’s day.

2. Donate blood with the American Red Cross.

Unsplash/Coline Hasle

The number of natural disasters we’ve witnessed this year is just astonishing. And behind each of those events is a large number of people physically suffering. The American Red Cross is more motivated than ever to rally its donors and provide for sick people in need, so if you’re eligible to give, look past the hour it takes out of your day, the fact that you’ll probably have to skip your evening workout or happy hour, navigate your potential fear of needles and go donate. You could literally be helping to save a life.

3. Drop off a bag of clothes you never wear at your local Goodwill.

Unsplash/Kelly Sikkema

That stack of sweaters in your closet that you haven’t even tried on in two years can do a lot more good in a donation center that it can on your shelf. So take a minute to shove those unwanted textiles in a bag and take them over to your local Goodwill (or equivalent shop). You’ll be providing clothing for people — both old and young — who can’t afford it themselves. And if your donations are truly worn out and unwearable, Goodwill will recycle the fabrics, so you’ll be giving back to the environment as well.

4. Call your family just to tell them how much you love them.

Unsplash/Ugur Akdemir

Giving isn’t limited to total strangers. What about the people you call family yet only speak to (maybe) once each year? You’re probably long overdue to call some of your aunts, uncles, grandparents and cousins, so pick up the phone and start dialing tonight. Even if your conversations only last five minutes, reconnecting with someone and reminding them that you love them is enough to make anyone’s week (or even month).

5. Give someone your undivided attention throughout an entire conversation.

Unsplash/Priscilla de Preez

This one may sound silly, but so many of us rarely do it. Put all screens, devices and distractions by the wayside and spend true quality time with those around you today. Look into their eyes as they tell you a story, and navigate a full conversation without interruption. There’s no doubt that you will make them feel like the most important person to you in that moment, which is the exact feeling so many of us crave these days.