10 Ways to Give on a Budget

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Frugal Giving

Several years ago, I was moved to make more of a concerted effort to be a giving person, and I wanted to encourage our children to be people with generous hearts, who were willing to share with others. We were already giving through our church, and by small monthly donations to 3 charities (Tearfund, Release International, and International Justice Mission), but it seemed that we could be doing so much more. How would we be able to give more, when we were already on a very tight budget? I read the book How to be an Everyday Philanthropist: 330 No Cost Ways to Live a Generous Life which gave me many ideas I was able to use, some of which I had to search online for a UK alternative. I also found various blogs with good suggestions on ways to give to others while spending little or no extra money.

Here are 10 ways to give on a budget that we still use today:

1. Cook for others– Make meals, cakes or biscuits (cookies) for those who are elderly, unwell, pregnant or people going through difficult circumstances. I have been blessed by others who have done this for me many times. Buying disposable food trays to keep in your cupboards for such an occasion means the person you are giving to doesn’t have to wash or give back your dishes. It almost goes without saying that giving your time to spend with the people you are delivering these gifts to is also precious, if the person wants that.

2. Write to or on behalf of others– This involves the cost only of writing materials and a stamp. I have always liked to write letters, and have sent advocacy letters since I was an older teenager, although not during very busy or stressful times.

You can write directly to people needing encouragement, for example to sick children through organisations such as Post Pals, sending Christmas cards to armed services personnel through Support Our Soldiers, or to those who are unjustly imprisoned or persecuted, through organisations such as Release International or Christian Solidarity Worldwide.

There are many charities for whom you can write advocacy or campaigning letters, and many of these also now have options to send emails or petitions online, in which case it will cost you nothing other than a few minutes of your time! A few examples would be Release International (UK version of Voice of the Martyrs), Open DoorsBarnardo’s, and Baby Milk Action (who campaign against misleading advertising by formula companies, and promote breastfeeding).

Matthew 26v40 quote

3. Do your own fundraising– This could be in the form of sponsored events, such as the Push the Pedal event for Gospel for Asia, that I mentioned in my post Encouraging Our Children to be Outward Looking, home-based coffee mornings, or tabletop/ garage/ car boot sales etc. Many charities provide materials to put on your fundraising event, such as posters, sponsor forms, flyers or invitations. We currently keep a coin jar for Barnabus Fund’s Children of Courage Campaign, which we and the children fill with spare change.

4. Sew or knit for those in need– Until recently, I thought that it was no longer possible to send homemade items to help others. I was wrong! When I was clearing out for our move last year, I discovered bags of knitted squares that I had made when I was pregnant with my son 14 years ago! They had been moved from house to house in various boxes since then, doing no-one any good whatsoever. I did an internet search and found that knitting squares or ‘pillowcase dresses’ to send abroad is still possible through organisations such as Knit a Square, in South Africa, to whom you can post your knitting directly, and Dress a Girl Around the World who co-ordinate sewers around the world who make ‘pillowcase dresses‘ to give to little girls who would otherwise never own a new dress.

Also, NICU units at some hospitals in the UK will still accept handknitted hats for newborn babies to wear, but they may have a specific pattern you have to follow, if you check with them. We did this one year with our homeschooling group.

5. Use Click to Give websites – These are websites sponsored by advertisers, where you may click once a day to show you have viewed the page, and the advertisers will donate to the specific cause. I find that it helps me to remember to do this if I have a routine of always going to my click to give websites when I first open the internet browser on my laptop each day, before I do anything else. Some examples of click to give websites are Care 2 – Help Children in Need, The Hunger Site and Hungry ChildrenFree Rice is an advertiser-sponsored online spelling quiz which will donate 10 grains of rice to the UN World Food Programme for every correct spelling answer you give.

6. Search and shop online to give– Instead of using Google to search the internet, I use a UK site called Everyclick, which donates 1p to Release International, for each search I make. They also provide Give as You Live shopping, which donates a percentage of whatever I buy through their site to my chosen charity, and Easy Fundraising is another site that does this, or you can do it through Swag Bucks, then donate your points to charity.

7. Donate your online points to charityTop Cashback, Swag Bucks, Nectar – you can donate the points you earn through all of these to charity. I tend to donate my Top Cashback earnings to charity if they are less than £1, but save them to buy books or larger items if I have earned more.

Promotional points collection schemes, e.g. Cokezone, Nescafe, McVities, Yeo Valley, PG Tips etc also allow you to do this. As I mentioned in my Ways Our Family Saves Money post, I use my earnings from doing online surveys to buy books for our family, but you can choose to donate survey earnings to charity through most of the online survey companies. You can also donate a proportion of any items you sell on ebay to charity.

8. Recycling for charity– Currently our family recycles ink cartridges or mobile phones (the ones we have broken 🙁 ) for Mission Aviation Fellowship, through Recycle4Charity but there are many other charities through whom you can do this. Obviously you can also donate any unwanted clothes and household items you have to charity shops.

9. Donate your hair! – Two of our daughters have donated (some of) their lovely long hair to the Little Princess Trust, which accepts donations of hair to make into wigs for children who have lost their own hair due to cancer treatment. This could also be in the ‘do your own fundraising’ category, as the Little Princess Trust will also accept money from those who have been sponsored to cut their hair, which pays for the costs of having the wigs made.

10. Make gift bags/ care packages for homeless people – We have only done this once, as we had just moved out of our house, and in with my parents last Christmas. The previous year, I saved items throughout the year in ‘ziplock’ type freezer bags, which we gave to homeless people while we were Christmas shopping in Dundee. You can really choose whatever you want to go in the bags, but we included mainly travel-size toiletries, toothpaste, toothbrush and samples or promotional packs of toiletries etc. which I had received. We also put a Christmas tract in the bags too. One lady I spoke to said “this is just what I have been wanting- a toothbrush”. Makes our ‘tight budget’ seem extravagant, really.

Links to other ideas for giving and helping others:

Sheri Graham’s excellent series on How to Make a Difference When You Are a Stay-at-home-mom

100 Ways for Your Family to Make a Difference from We Are That Family

Help from Home is a microvolunteering site that has literally hundreds of ideas for ways to give to others, from home.


‘Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give,

not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver’.

2 Corinthians 9:7

Obviously our family is not using all 10 ways to give on a budget all of the time, but they are a variety of ways in which we are able to give to or speak up for others, even if we do not have a large amount to donate, in monetary terms. Living in Scotland, we are still residents of one of the richest countries in the world, and I never want our children (or myself) to think that we cannot give to others when our budget is tight.

Do you have a good idea for giving to others that I have not covered? What is your favourite way to encourage your family to be generous? Please let me know in the comments section.

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May be linked up at Modest Mondays, Art of Homemaking Mondays, Mom 2 Mom Monday, Good Morning Mondays, Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop,  Titus 2sdays, Titus 2 TuesdaysTeaching What is Good, A Wise Woman Builds Her Home, Hearts for Home , Home Acre Hop, Thrifty Thursday, Grace and Truth Link Up, Faith Filled Friday, and TGI Saturdays.

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51 Comments on “10 Ways to Give on a Budget

    • Thank you Janette, I definitely agree- I’m sure there are a lot more than 10 ways. I think your point about skills is a good one too, as this could really open up other avenues of giving/ helping others if you skills that others perhaps don’t.

  1. Thank you for sharing these different ways of how to give on a budget … they are wonderful ideas and I enjoyed reading them! Have a blessed day, ~Sarah visiting from Radical Femininity

  2. Gwen, this is an interesting list. I hadn’t really thought about the click through sites before but I guess it makes sense if the advertisers are donating.
    On another subject, I have just updated my UK Christian home educator blog list and put your blog on it. Hope this is OK.
    sarahelisabeth recently posted…UK Christian Home Education Bloggers-2015 listMy Profile

    • Hi Sarah, yes the click to donate sites were new to me a couple of years ago. Although They probably only donate a very small amount per click, I felt it was a way I could be contributing something extra, when I was unable to donate in monetary term myself. Thank you for adding me to your home ed blogs list 🙂 I will link to it on my FAQs page.

  3. I absolutely LOVE your ideas and this article. I plan to share! I believe God gives us Life so we can share it. We are firm touters of the Live Missionally ideal and this article hits the nail on the head! Thank you so much for writing it!

    • Thank you for your kind comment Amanda 🙂 I am really interested by the term ‘live missionally’ that you mentioned, and I will be looking to find out more about it. Blessings!

    • Thank you JES 🙂 Yes, they’re definitely doable and only really require me to make the time to do them.

  4. You have some great points there Gwen and I find that cooking is the best one here, or the writing. Thanks for sharing these points with us at Good Morning Mondays. Blessings
    Terri Presser recently posted…MY BEEF ENCHILADASMy Profile

    • Thank you Terri. I agree- cooking is something that we are doing anyway, and I know from personal experience what a blessing it is to receive a meal from a friend at a needed time.

  5. Gwen, congratulations on being the Blogelina Featured Blogger this week. It’s amazing the seemingly little things that we can do to be the hands and feet of Christ. Thank you for sharing your ideas and for teaching your children that our faith is shown in the actions we take for others.
    Sandy Sandmeyer recently posted…RFID Blocking Leather WalletMy Profile

  6. Great tips! My favorite is #3. I am an organizer, so this comes more naturally to me. I organized a charity golf tournament once, and it was amazing how much was raised! Another way I find it easy to give is by donating a portion of my eBay sales. eBay has a giving program and I can choose the percentage to give and the charitable organization I wish to give to. We often give to our local pet rescue this way, and I don’t even miss the cash because I never had it in the first place. Thanks for sharing!
    Amanda B. recently posted…Summer School for Homeschool: PE- A Plan and Week 1My Profile

    • Those are good ideas Amanda, and your point about not missing the cash because you never had it in the first place is interesting. Thanks for your kind comment 🙂

    • Yes, I think most people (me included) often forget about people who have made that commitment. Thank you for your comment Jay 🙂

  7. Hello! I am visiting you from blogelina.com. First I want to congratulate for your featured this week! Second…this post is so smart…providing this stuff on informations is very important in these days when most of us have to be carefull with our budget.
    Thank you for sharing your tips!

    Sinziana recently posted…10 Delicious Chocolate CupcakesMy Profile

    • Thank you Tayrina! And thank you for your invitation- I will hop on over to your blog for a look 🙂

  8. Gwen, these are wonderful ways to give. My kids love to bake with me, so we often have tones of goodies, more than any healthy diet really allows, so we wrap them up in handmade bags and drop them off at the neighbors. No real reason, except to say hi and share. It’s fun and the neighbors really appreciate being thought of.

    We’ve done many meals for families who are going through rough times…

    I love helping in these ways.

    Thanks for sharing your ideas!


    Reading List

    • Thank you Marissa. Yes, baking is a fun activity to do together, and most neighbours will be more than happy to receive the goodies! Thank you for your comment 🙂

  9. I love these ideas! As a single mom with a tight budget, I like the simplicity of many of these ideas. These are great ways to teach my 9 year old about generosity. Thanks for sharing how your family gives!

    • Thank you Julie! I agree it is important to teach our children about generosity. Thank you for your kind comment.

  10. What a fabulous Post Gwen! I am always excited when I come across additional faith based blogs! Thank you so much for theses creative ideas. I have already done some click thrus to help donate and hope to do more. May god continue to bless you and your family!
    Horace Williams Jr recently posted…God is The True Master Chef!My Profile

  11. Pingback: Weekly Blogger Event: This Week’s Featured Blogger Is… | Blogelina

  12. Very good suggestions. I am always looking for ways to encourage others and, if they are budget-friendly, that’s even better. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Our local Soroptimists club makes and donates lap robes, either knitted or sewn, to assisted living and convalescent homes in the area…that reminds me I need to get busy and make mine for next winter.

  14. Great tips! I also use AmazonSmile to give too! You can choose a non-profit in AmazonSmile and then shop amazon like normal. When you purchase, they donate 1% to your select non-profit, no additional charge!
    Kathy recently posted…Come, #FollowMe Friday–YouTubeMy Profile

    • Thank you Kathy. I have not heard of AmazonSmile before- I’ll have to see if it’s available in the UK…

  15. I really love your blog and your heart for giving. You have reminded me of ways to give that I had forgotten about. Thank you for the reminder.

  16. I love these ideas! So helpful -and we’re definitely on a budget : ) Offering to help others you know is a good one, too : ) My techie husband excels at that!!!

    Thanks for the encouragement! #Faith-Filled Friday

    • Thank you Bethany. Yes, that’s a good point- we have benefited lots of times ourselves from the kindness of friends.

    • Thank you Michele. Yes, that is another excellent idea- we don’t just have to be taking things elsewhere. Thank you for your kind comment.

  17. This is a really great and practical list. I was just thinking the other day that even if there’s not a lot of money to give, we can give our time too. Thanks for sharing!

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