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31 Days of Giving on a Budget: Random Acts of Kindness (Day 7)

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!

You must, you must, you must go check out how Robyn celebrated her 38th birthday — by doing 38 Random Acts of Kindness. So such great ideas and so inspiring!

Have you done any random acts of kindness recently or been the benefactor of a random act of kindness? If so, tell us about it in the comments.

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  • jenn says:

    We’ve had our lunch paid for at the drive-thru at McD’s.

    When my husband was still in the army and came home for leave, numerous people offered to buy him drinks, meals, treats. He also told me one time he and 10 co-workers (Army) were at a restaurant (buffet=$13/person for lunch) and someone bought for their ENTIRE table.

    I’ve bought for the person behind me at Starbuck’s before. I need to do that again.

  • michelle says:

    My husband and my daughter (she was 4 at the time) were at an event, and they were in line for concessions behind a soldier. My daughter made her daddy pay for the soldiers snacks. We were both very humbled that our daughter would think to do that. Definitely need to take a page from her book and do that more often!

  • Jodi says:

    I was once at a grocery store and the lady in front of me was trying to find the money to buy her baby some baby food. I had just been a part of this amazing group of woman at my church, called apples of gold. And without even thinking too much I quickly said I’d pay for it. It was my little random act of kindness, but truthfully I think I was blessed by giving more than she was of receiving. We all need to do more whether rich or poor it’s an amazing feeling of humanity. To believe again, that people aren’t just looking out for themselves, but united and care.

  • Lauren says:

    My husband and I were at Target with our 6 month old and a hand full of coupons. We saw a piggy bank on clearance and were trying to decide if we should go ahead and get it for our son or wait to see if we could find one even cheaper or as a gift. A man saw us and said that piggy banks were great for his kids and he thought every child should have one. We decided to keep it in our cart and think about it as we finished shopping. When we were on the other side of the store the man found us and asked if we we’re Christians and had heard of paying it forward. He wanted to to pay the $9 for the bank and give our son his first dollar to start his saving. I will never forget this kindness and now a have a story to tell my son about giving and saving.

  • Vanessa says:

    I was blessed years ago by a random act of kindness and I’ll never forget it. My hubby was in the Army and deployed at the time. A friend of mine and myself went out to eat (it was our monthly ‘treat’). Our booth was right across from a elderly couple who were absolutely sweet. We had a short conversation with them and then enjoyed our meals. When we went to pay for our dinner we found out that the couple had paid for our entire meals and added desert on to it! I’ll never forget that, ever. I wish I had the opportunity to thank them but they had left before we were finished and knew what they did for us. And it certainly could not have come at a better time, it definitely uplifted my spirits while my hubby was away. It also inspired me to be more giving and I’ve strived ever since then to give someone else that same feeling that they gave me. It’s amazing what just one giving act can do for yourself and someone else.

    • Susan says:

      About a 10 days ago, I had come out of an appointment and kiddies were with hubby. Started snowing while I was driving. I decided to go to Christmas Tree Shop to see what they had for glasses (as I desperately needed some “big people glasses” (instead of plastic Disney glasses when friends came over). Got some glasses to give to myself from the kiddies and hubby for Christmas. Salvation Army person (the one who rings the bell) was there when I entered the store. Thought to myself, “no change, no cash – why don’t I ever have cash”. Bought the glasses with debit card and left. Didn’t have cash, so swiped it on debit card.The man was still standing there, ringing the bell when I left. You could tell he was cold, holding his coat together and trying to keep his face inside the coat, leaning back and towards the awning to deter the wind and snow from chilling his bones. I felt bad, but had no cash. Went home, and all I could do was think of that man. Hubby took the 1 working vehicle and ran errands, came back and I was heating up the last of the leftover turkey soap and making a travel mug of hot chocolate. But the items in bag, and we all drove back to that man to give it to him. He was so thankful and took a sip of the hot chocolate. My 2 kids got out with me, 1 handed the hot chocolate, the other put money in his container (I handed the bag with hot soup). I wished him a Merry Christmas, and as I looked down, the only thing I with him was a bottle of Vitamin Water, which it didn’t look like he drank much of. We got in the car, and my husband drove off, and I put my head down and thanked the Lord for all that I have, (even though my husband has been unemployed for the last 11 months -I still had food, warmth, and a very loving family.


  • DEBBIE AUEN says:

    What a beautiful story….Thank~you for sharing…..what a great example for her children…..

  • Julie says:

    Wow! Amazing and some great ideas. Thanks so much for sharing!

  • L says:

    What a wonderful story and inspiration for others to follow! Brought tears to my eyes 🙂

  • I did this for my 30th birthday; it was really fun! here’s the story:

  • Susan in St. Louis says:

    Yes! I saw that post about Robyn’s birthday a couple of years ago, and decided to try something similar. I asked friends to join me (for my 37th birthday) for an evening. We all pitched in whatever amount of money we wanted, rather than them giving me any gifts. With the total amount of money, we decided how to bless others that evening. If my memory serves me right, we went into a restaurant and paid for a couple to eat, gave out store gift cards at a grocery store, took coffee and treats to firemen (and got a great tour of the fire station to boot!), and gave out small Borders gift cards at that store for the remainder when we settled there to enjoy the cupcakes one of my friends brought. It was really fun for us all…I think we felt like teenagers again, running around town like that! 🙂

    I highly recommend doing something like this!

  • Judy says:

    I love going to the beach and to go over the bridge going into Pensacola Beach it cost one dollar… has been my “Claim to Fame” to always pay for the car behind us. It is awesome to watch the faces of those we bless with such a small surprise. My kids remind me everytime that we need to pay for the car behind us.

  • Diane says:

    Great ideas! I’m pinning this for International Kindness Project Day from the MISS Foundation (do a random act of kindness in memory of a special baby).

  • Kelly says:

    Somebody paid for my order at Dunkin’ Donuts the other night, it was SO NICE! I was taking my 3-year-old daughter for a treat of two Munchins, her favorite, and a chai for myself. The baby was wailing and it was just so heartwarming to have someone do that for us. I waved at them as they pulled out onto the street, but I hope they know how nice it was.

  • Jennifer says:

    This past Sunday we went out to dinner with family. We were greetby our waitress, my daughter promptly shot a straw wrapper at her. My daughter (age 5) and the waitress joked the whole time we were there, on top of being a fabulous waitress. The waitress asked what else we had planned for the day, my daughter said shopping, and asked her what her favorite color was (pink and zebra print), they joked around a bit more, about wearing crazy mismatched socks. As we were walking out to the car my daughter says “i want to buy her new shoes, she wants new shoes for Christmas.” I told her we could get certainly find something smaller for her since we don’t know her shoe size. We made it to Walmart, my daughter, Daphne, searche
    d for the perfect pair of pink zebra socks and a package of pink candy canes. We tied it up with ribbon and headed back to the restaurant to bless our waitress. She was floored! No one had ever done something so random like that before for her. It was such a huge lesson in blessing someone.
    Later that evening my husband hopped on facebook and saw a picture of the gifts followed by the waitresses story. My husband and I were so proud of what we had done and the impact it had on her. She is a single mother, working 2 jobs and an active member of the national guard. She had a horrible week and this blessing made her feel so much better.

    Additionally every thanksgiving my family sets a goal of each family member taking $10 and using it to bless someone before Christmas. On Christmas day we all tell how we blessed someone. This year we will have another great blessing story, we may even try to bless her even more in the coming weeks before Christmas.

  • danielle says:

    I was at kmart 3 days ago and standing in line when the credit system went down. I was able to pay for mine when a cute little boy caught my attention. Smiling at him as I paid I noticed his mom and what she was buying diapers. Then all of sudden she leaves without buying them or anything. So I caught her right before she left my site and I asked if I could help her. I gave her a 25 dollar gift card to there. She was able to go right back and ask the cashier if you could buy her items still. She then thanked me and I felt more blessed to have helped a young mother buy what she needed to take care of her baby

    • diane says:

      Bless you for doing this! I have walked out of a store before needing diapers and you being so kind to help a stranger is such a blessing to a mom in need.

  • sara says:

    At the grocery store the other day I picked up the tab of the few groceries the man behind me had, just because. I cashier asked if I knew the man and I replied no, I just felt like doing this.

  • Jennifer says:

    Once when my boys were 1 and 10 we were eating at Pizza Hut after church on a Sunday. When I asked for my bill, the waitress said a young girl in the restaurant had paid our bill in full! I had never had anything like that happen before. It was a huge blessing. She thought for sure I knew the girl and when I told her I had no idea she was surprised also.

    • Katrina says:

      Last year this time I was in my last year of engineering school, trying VERY hard to make ends meet. I NEEDED a dresser. It was SO hard to keep track of things and make it out the door in the morning without one. I finally found one at Goodwill and the 20 dollar price tag made me debate whether to purchase it or not. I ended up buying it and then I had one heck of a time figuring out how to get it in my car. Several men stopped to offer to help, but to no avail. Finally a sturdy looking middle aged woman stopped and helped me figure out how to get it to fit with all 3 car seats. She asked me if I was ok. I thought she meant because I was obviously flustered. I said I was and that I park really close to my apartment and it should be easy to get it in once I got home. She said “Oh no, do you want some money?” I just stood there dumb struck as she opened my purse and handed me $100. I hugged her with tears in my eyes and said thank you so many times. She literally just shrugged and said “Aw, why not? It’s Christmas, right!” LOL She has NO idea how much she helped me out. It was wonderful and I will NEVER forget her kindness!

  • Katie says:

    What a beautiful thing to do! I am crying reading the blog post! My birthday was 4 days ago, wish I read this sooner, but it has inspired me to try this in a Christmas theme like maybe 12 Days of Kindness 🙂 my daughters and I are going to make a plan!
    Thank you for a fabulous idea!!

  • Kimberly says:

    I love this! I wish I had seen this yesterday, today is my 34th birthday. And although I’ve done RAOK before I’ve never done that many in one day. It would have been an amazing way to spend my birthday! She’s inspiring (the comments to this post are also)!

  • Katie says:

    Went to Walmart last week and there was a man standing outside selling something. It was 40 degrees out. I thought it would be a great opportunity to reinforce Giving to my 3 year old who was with me. I went inside to the McD’s and bought the man a coffee (only hot drink they serve). Taught my 3 year old why we were doing what we were doing, and what to say to him when he handed him the coffee. So my sweet son asks the man if he would like the drink, and the man gives him a rude looks and says “NO” and turns away. I just stood there shocked. Do some people just not realize a nice gesture when they see one? and he was so rude to my son. But in the end I feel like my son remembers what we did and not how the man acted. I’ll still make it a point to give – put I won’t be doing it that way anymore.

    I used to pay for the toll for the car behind me. but now I have an ez-pass so that’s not really possible. but this article is a nice remember to incorporate random acts of kindness into everyday life.

  • Jess says:

    I’m a special ed teacher and I work with middle schoolers that have behavioral disorders. Part of my afternoon duty is to be help direct cars in front of the school during dismissal. Well, I had had a really rough day with, tons of things to accomplish, a few parents had been short with me, and I was really feeling discouraged and down. And then it was raining and very cold outside but I trudged out to do my car duty. A parent pulled up and motioned me over, and handed me three tall cups of hot drinks. He said we (myself and my 2 other colleagues) stand out in the cold every day to make sure our kids are safe during dismissal, and he just wanted to thank us. We were floored! Never in my life has an act of kindness went so far. I will never forget that as long as I live. 🙂

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