Giving generously (on a budget)

you can still give generously on a tight budgetHey all, Em here today.

I want to share some ways you can still be generous to others, even when you’re on a tight budget yourself. It can be so easy to get caught up in the daily grind, or spending all your free energy thinking about how you can improve your own situation. This can be stressful and will really get you down in the long run.

There’s plenty of evidence out there that if we can help and give to others, our own well-being will improve, along with theirs. Giving to others helps us feel good about life, and puts us in a positive mindframe. It’s a win-win situation for you and the person you are giving to, so why wouldn’t you do this?

But I don’t have any money to give….


And that is more than okay. There are so many other ways you can be generous or help somebody out than trying to compete with the wonderfully altruistic Bill Gates and donating big chunks of cash to your favorite causes. Anyway, giving a bit of time to someone, or making something for someone will help you build friendships and ties much more than just giving money ever would. 

Here are some of my favorites:

  • Give your time. In today’s busy world, time is a really valuable currency. There are so many ways you can use your time to help people, for example
    • Help an elderly neighbor with their shopping
    • Take part in a working bee to clean up a local beach or park
    • Volunteer with a local charity (maybe you can do an hour of admin work a week, or help them collect donations)
  • Give food. Everyone loves food! Here are three ways you can be generous with food:
    • Donate items to your local food bank or pet shelter: you can add just one tin of food to your weekly shop for this one to work
    • Invite your friends over for dinner. This is a lot cheaper than going out, and they will love the home cooked meal. Here is a link to some ideas for cheap meals.
    • Bake something yummy to contribute to the local school’s next bake sale
  • Give to charity. You can give a small amount, but it can go a long way. I really enjoyed reading this article on being generous when you’re broke, it has two great examples to show you how even a little bit of money can go a long way: did you know that just $7 can provide lifesaving vaccinations for a child? You can visit if you want to start giving right now.

Give it a try

I hope you feel inspired to try being generous now. This may not help you get out of financial debt, but it will increase your personal happiness and well-being in amounts that can’t be measured. Our health is our real wealth, so be active in looking after yours by giving something of yourself today.

Please share any other ways you’re being generous, it would be great to hear how you’re making the world a happier place :)


Happy downsizing,



image by BK, CC 2.0,


  • Marc

    Hi Em,

    Thanks for the wonderful article. You are absolutely correct by giving a little of your time, food or help makes you feel wonderful. I love the ideas, I currently volunteer for different non profit organizations too.

    Reading this article has made want to give even more of my time. I think I will ask a group I know if they could use the help once a week. I don’t know what exactly they need help with but if I can do it I will gladly help them. It’s a great way to give back to our community.

    Thanks again for the information and I truly hope this impacts more people to step up and help in some way.


    • Andy

      Hi Marc,

      Sounds like you’re doing some wonderful work, and yes, it really does make you feel good doesn’t it! So pleased you agree and that we’ve inspired you :)

  • JohnCWS

    This is a great article. I love the whole giving thing. Maybe it was just the way I raised, but I always felt like giving to others was a major goal in my life. As you mentioned, even if you don’t have extra money to spar. You always have your time. Go do some community work, or even work at a local soup kitchen. There is always someone in need. Keep up the good work and I look forward to reading more.

  • Fidel

    Wow an amazing article you have right here.
    For once I have found someone who says you can be generous even if you are broke.

    that’s a very interesting philosophy. But i think you are right. We will have to be generous to others no matter our current situations. We wouldn’t have to be super rich before trying to be generous to others.

    • Andy

      Thank you Fidel,

      Yeah, we want to show people that giving is going to make them feel good, and that it’s about more than just money.

  • Shivaram

    I read your article about giving generously on a budget. This is quite interesting for me to learn and understand. Personally my life has been running on a tight budget. But I have been giving generously no matter whatever situation I have been into. Generosity is the gift given to us by the almighty. He is always there to protect us in all situations. I strongly believe in this point.

  • Alex

    I love this article. I simply love it. Being generous does not always mean to contribute financially. Being generous is to be able to give your time and love to the people around you.

    We need people like you to give and help each other to make our lives better! What a wonderful article! Thanks for sharing!

  • Dara

    It’s so hard to remember that not all generous giving is in the form of money. Your time is so much more valuable! You can help your elderly neighbors even more by helping them mow, weed their garden, do household maintenance, etc.
    I also like setting up a meal giving schedule for friends or neighbors who have had a baby, recent surgery, or other difficult event. Taking the stress of food preparation off of someone is amazing.

    • Em

      We totally agree, Dara :)

      It’s amazing how much of a difference you can make to someone with a little thought and generosity of spirit.

      A meal schedule is a fantastic idea for those going through tough times. We actually did this for a colleague at my day job recently: it made her life a tiny bit easier during a sad time and we all felt like we were supporting her in a useful way.

  • NemiraB

    Hello, thanks for a positive article. I guess when people have a right mindset, we attract more good things to our lives.
    It means, that everything starts to improve, in the same way debts too.
    I think that volunteering for a good cause is a wonderful thing. We feel good about ourselves and at the same time we improve lives of others.
    We can donate clothes or things which are in good shape, but we do not use them.
    Of course we can sell them on eBuy or on Craigslist. It would be some additional income for us.
    Thanks again for great ideas, all the best, happy writing, Nemira.

    • Em

      Thanks Nemira, I love your idea for the clothes, I always donate my clothes that are no longer required, it feels like a nice thing to do. Good point about selling them for additional income, particularly if they were an expensive item that you no longer use! I’ve done this for a brand new pair of shoes I never wore. We wrote an article that talks about using ebay here for those that like your idea.

      Have a great day :)

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