31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Volunteering in Your Community (Day 2)

Welcome to December’s series on 31 Days of Giving on a Budget. In this series, I’ll be sharing inspiring stories from my readers and posts with practical ways to give — even on a limited income.

If you have a Giving on a Budget story to share of a way you or your family has given to others this year or this holiday season, please email me your story and a picture to go along with it, if possible. I’d love to hear it and possibly share it during this series!

Guest post from Emily

Being able to volunteer in the community is a huge highlight of my job. It lets my company build publicity and it lets me help our community.

However, to me, volunteering doesn’t stop when the doors lock for the day. So, it’s important for me to prioritize my outside-of-work volunteer hours so that I do not negatively impact my family or my budget.

Here are a 4 tips that help me do just that:

1. Choose Wisely: Pick an Activity You Believe In

One activity that I became involved with is “Backpack Buddies” which sends needy children home with a backpack full of food for the weekend. This project was started by the church I attend, so it was something my husband was involved with, too. We were already financially donating to this ministry, so I only added work-time volunteer hours to this event, initially.

2. Maximize Your Dollars and Time

As a church, we chose to collect the funds raised for “Backpack Buddies” and go to Costco and Sam’s Club in order to maximize our donations. However, so that I wouldn’t take time away from my family, I did not volunteer to be on the committee that goes to the nearest Costco (an hour and a half away) to purchase the food. Instead, I help assemble the backpacks twice a month on Friday mornings and help organize the packaged foods on Wednesday evenings.

3. Make It a Family Event

Last Christmas break, my husband and I, together as a family, helped cook meals at our church for the “Backpack Buddies” kids and their families. We were able to help others while also enriching our marriage. I fall more in love with my husband as I continuously find how giving and caring he is. This year we will have our daughter there with us, too.

4. Know It’s Okay To Say No

If your time budget or financial budget is spoken for, please say no. Neither you nor the organization will benefit from you volunteering if you don’t have the time to follow through with your commitment.

Even if it’s the best cause you could think of, you don’t want to cause undue stress to your family by blowing your budget or taking too much time away from them. Prayer is always welcome for any need, and can often be the best way to help.

I honestly do enjoy volunteering, and I feel that many people do, too. I truly believe you can volunteer without spending a penny, and I also believe you can donate without spending a minute of your life. It’s important to find a balance that is right for us and our family. And remember, you can never go wrong with prayer.

Happy volunteering!

Emily is wife to Garrett, mom to Katherine, and a compliance officer. She enjoys spending time with others and is starting to enjoy running.

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Other posts in the 31 Days of Giving on a Budget series

  1. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Turn a Ladies' Night Out into an Opportunity to Give Back
  2. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Volunteering in Your Community (Day 2)
  3. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Teaching Our Children to Be Givers (Day 3)
  4. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Teaching Our Children To Be Gracious Receivers (Day 4)
  5. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Charity Begins at Home (Day 5)
  6. 31 Days of Giving: The Healing Power of Giving (Day 6)
  7. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Random Acts of Kindness (Day 7)
  8. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 6 Creative Gift-Giving Ideas for a Limited Budget (Day 8)
  9. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: "Give, and it shall be given to you..." (Day 9)
  10. 31 Days of Giving: Hospitality on a Budget (Day 10)
  11. 31 Days of Giving: What Our Children Are Teaching Us About Being Givers (Day 11)
  12. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Blessings in a Backpack (Day 12)
  13. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 40 Days of Fasting From Excess (Day 13)
  14. 31 Days of Giving: Giving Away as Much as We Save (Day 14)
  15. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 7 Ways to Give Generously (Day 15)
  16. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Freezer Cooking for the Elderly (Day 16)
  17. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: The Joy of Giving Anonymously (Day 17)
  18. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 3 Fun Ways for Children to Give (Day 18)
  19. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: The Hunger Site (Day 19)
  20. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Using Frugality to Splurge on Others (Day 20)
  21. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Give (Day 21)
  22. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Teaching Our Children to be Givers By Setting Examples in Our Everyday Life (Day 22)
  23. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Blessing Bags (Day 23)
  24. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Giving... Even In Helpless Situations (Day 24)
  25. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Finding Joy in Helping Others (Day 25)
  26. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 5 Ways to Give Generously Through Couponing (Day 26)
  27. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 3 Ways to Give Gratitude to Those in the Military (Day 27)
  28. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Teaching Children the Spirit of Giving (Day 28)
  29. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 4 Ways to Give on a Limited Income
  30. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Why We "Gave Christmas Away"
  31. 31 Days of Giving on a Budget: The More We Save, The More We Have to Give

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Comments

  1. Jessica says

    My daughter started Kindergarten this year, but being in my third trimester and also having a 2 year old means I can’t just go and volunteer in the classroom as needed (I’m a SAHM and can’t afford a babysitter just to go and volunteer, and we have no family within 2 hours of where we live).

    Instead, over the summer I picked up extra supplies and donated them to the classroom for the children whose families couldn’t afford them. I got the extra penny/dime/quarter items so it didn’t set back my budget.

    I’d love to do in person volunteering, but without childcare it’s difficult.

    • Christine says

      When my kids were in preschool and kindergarten and I still had littler ones at home, the teachers helped us find another mom with a similar situation and we would trade off–one week I watched her kids while she went to volunteer at school, the next week, she watched mine when I volunteered.