Join my email list and get FREE ACCESS to the MSM Freebie Library, including my top printables & eBooks.

31 Days of Giving on a Budget: 5 Inexpensive Ways to Give (Day 21)

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 (or a link to your post on your blog) 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 by Sia Hills of Centsible in Seattle

Even more than frugality, I love generosity. So when there are opportunities be frugal and generous, I get really excited. Here are a five of my favorite ways to give:

1. Read a Book. Give a Book.

At, you choose a book to read online… and then you also select a charity to donate a free book to a child in need. My girls love this program, and it teaches them about giving at a young age.

2. Donate Extra Items From Your Stockpile

You can donate items to your local food bank or homeless shelters. Check out Feeding America for a food bank near you.

Do you ever wonder what you might be able to do with all of that free soap and shampoo you have stockpiled? Send it to Clean The World and recycle your soap to save lives. Diseases like Cholera are addressed best with soap and water. Your extra soap and shampoo can save a life. Work with others you know to combine your stockpiles and share shipping costs.

Another great option is to fill a shoebox with with school supplies, small toys, toothbrushes, etc. for the children in need in poor areas of the world through Operation Christmas Child.

3. Purchase Coffee For a Cause

If you’re a coffee lover, be sure to check out For every $11 in coffee you purchase, $11 will be donated to help humanitarian aid work in Africa.

4. Buy Handmade Items from Entrepreneurs in Third World Countries

Heavenly Treasures, one of my favorite sites, offer the opportunity to purchase items that have been handmade by an entrepreneur in a poor country. These are recipients of Micro Loans, and you are supporting the growth of their business. They offer unique and affordable one of a kind gifts (many start at around $5).

5. Buy a Pair of Shoes, Give a Pair of Shoes

For every pair of shoes purchased, Tom’s Shoes gives a pair of shoes to a child in need. What is great about Tom’s Shoes is that they work from a replenishment model: the child who received the first pair will continue to get a new pair as they grow out of them or wear them out.

Besides the comfort of wearing shoes, it has a significant impact on health issues for the children that receive them. The shoes are not cheap, but your purchase will impact a child’s life!

Sia Hills is a wife and mother of three, who in addition to blogging works in the humanitarian world. She loves to share money saving opportunities, as well as ways to give and live generously. Her blog,, focuses on sharing savings opportunities available in the Pacific Northwest.

photo source

Subscribe for free email updates from Money Saving Mom® and get my Guide to Freezer Cooking for free!


  • Jessica says:

    You can’t ship liquids like shampoo, and the cost wouldn’t be worthwhile- you’d be better off writing a check and donating that money instead of spending on shipping. I donate extra shampoo and bulky / heavy things like that to the local domestic violence shelter or food pantry.

  • K says:

    I love Operation Christmas Child!! The collection week is always in November. I’ve started collecting things for next year already. I’ve been able to pick up some free with coupons ChapStick, gum, dental floss, crayons, & ink pens so far for next year. I just keep things in a shoe box. They always need toiletry items & school supplies. They don’t allow any liquids (ie. shampoo, lotion, etc), food (except hard candy or gum), or war toys. We like to use the standard size plastic shoe boxes, because they fit perfectly in their shipping crates. Plus they’re durable & can serve as storage, or a wash basin if needed. You can check for suggestions on their website if interested in donating next year. They also take $$ donations & suggest a $7 donation per shoebox to help with shipping costs.

    • K says:

      Also, many communities have drop off locations (often local churches or stores), where you can drop the donations off at during the November collection week. Drop off locations are usually posted on their website. The collection sites are often in need of volunteers to receive & pack the boxes in shipping boxes during “collection week.”

  • Jeannine says:

    Another great place to buy coffee is
    This supports an orphanage in South America. And in my opinion the coffee is the best I have ever tasted.

  • Kelly says:

    I LOVE WeGiveBooks. As a teacher, any way that we can get kids interested in reading is great! The site has so many popular books, with choices for every age (basic readers to chapter books), and offers nonfiction, too. Last year they did a short campaign where you could read for your school- we earned around 100 books for our classroom libraries in just a few days. The books actually came, so I believe that they follow through on what they say!

  • Linda says:

    I can’t find a place to purchase items on the Heavenly Treasures web site. Is there a way to purchase on-line?


  • kim says:

    I don’t see items for sale on Heavenly Treasures. Just donation requests.
    A site similar with items for sale by the artists is 10000 Villages ( Promoting fair trade.

  • Laura says:

    I don’t mean to be a scrooge. Just realistic. After hearing rave reviews of Tom’s from friends, I finally checked them out at the mall. $55! Whoa! I wonder if more of a difference could be made if I bought a non-designer pair of shoes, for maybe $15, and the gave the rest to a charity. Just my thought.

  • Sarah says:

    This past year has been hard for us often not knowing what we will have to eat. It is amazing even with zero cash I have been saving all year for my own personal ministry. Today I have started again for next year. I keep everything all year long that seems to have value, then at the end of the year I donate it to those in need this year we had 3 very large China or Dish pack boxes full ! I already have a set of chairs and hat for next year ! I have found items on the road just left because people did not want to go back and pick them up. I have been given items that did not work for our family but had great value and use . If I could not turn the item into something we needed I put it in the dishpak boxes . All year long I have collected and I had 3 boxes!!! It was so wonderful. I also put in items I got for free with coupons, items I got as free samples etc… I was so happy to have 3 boxes to donate today. I saw the faces of some folks light up when they got a gift out of the boxes! I am on my way again this year picking up others trash , couponing etc… for another year of giving!!! Last night we went to see the lights it was raining hard and in the middle of the street ran over by cars I found two shirts (one a child’s and one a young mans I washed both items today and both are in mint condition) two more items!

  • nicole says:

    These are such awesome ideas! I have a 1 and 2 year old and I wasn’t sure how to give or donate with them involved, but now we are going to do operation christmas child. Also, going to gift my husband some of the fair trade coffee. I love your site, it is the only one that I must follow or read daily. 🙂

Money Saving Mom® Comment Policy

We love comments from readers, so chime in with your thoughts below! We do our best to keep this blog upbeat and encouraging, so please keep your comments cordial and kind. Read more information on our comment policy.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *