6 Ways to be Generous While Paying Off Debt
When you’re going through the process of getting out debt, life can look a little different. You have to cut back spending, you find extra ways to bring in income, you say no to things you’d rather not say no to. You make all these sacrifices while remembering WHY you chose to embark on this debt free journey in the first place. You have to continually revisit WHY you’re doing this so you can stay motivated and stay focused. For us, getting out of debt means being able to give generously. We dream about all the ways we will give when we’re debt free and it keeps us pushing forward through the difficult seasons of paying off debt.
Related: How to Get Out of Debt Fast
When you’re paying off debt, giving often has to take a backseat. You need to make sure to tithe from your monthly income, but we have to limit giving beyond that so we can get out of debt as fast as possible and then circle back to giving in the best way when the debt is gone. For someone who dreams of giving outrageously, this can feel constricting. But sometimes we forget that giving goes beyond money. We have so many opportunities to give that are not financially costly.
If you’re going through Baby Step 2 and paying off debt, here are a few ideas of ways to give generously when giving money just isn’t an option.
DONATE YOUR STUFF - If you’re working the Debt Snowball, you may have already sold everything you own except the kids, but if you haven’t, there’s likely a good amount of “stuff” in your home that can be donated. The clothes you no longer wear, the living room chair that’s always in the way, the stack of blankets in the linen closet you never pull out. Things you aren’t using can be used by someone else and, for an added bonus, you are able to declutter your home at the same time.
VOLUNTEER YOUR TIME TO NON-PROFITS - Many local non-profits are always looking for volunteer workers. Check local listings with animal shelters, food pantries, local libraries, national parks, the YMCA, political campaigns, etc. There are so many options and you’re sure to find something that interests you or tugs at your heart.
OFFER YOUR SERVICES/TALENTS FOR FREE - If you have a special skill that could be useful to someone else, offer it for free! Maybe that means changing the oil in the car for a single mom friend, landscaping for a neighbor or family member, taking family photos for friends, replacing a light fixture, etc. You can get really creative in this area and really make a difference. Sometimes we take our skills for granted because they come natural to us and we forget that it’s a big deal for someone that doesn’t have the same skill set. Maybe you can even work out a trade with someone else currently paying off debt.
COOK FOR SOMEONE - This one will cost you a little money, but I encourage you to put some extra thought into it and cook a meal that is still budget friendly. Just take it out of your regular grocery spending budget. The gift will be the act of serving them and spending time together over a meal, so don’t stress about the actual food (there’s no need for a three course meal).
PUT EXTRA THOUGHT INTO GIFTS - When paying off debt, it can be tough to give gifts, but it can also be really fun. If you have limited funds for Christmas or birthdays, use this opportunity to really get creative and give something heartfelt. A very special framed photo, a good book with a note about why you think they’ll benefit from it, a small gift symbolic of your relationship. Focus on a gift with a lot of meaning rather than focusing on the cost. This will mean so much more to someone than dropping $25 on a gift card.
BE GENEROUS WITH YOUR TIME - Similar to offering your services/talents for free, you can also offer your time. You can help someone by grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor or watching your friend’s kids for free on date night. Or you can be generous in spending time with people. Maybe your new mom friend just needs someone to go for a walk with her and have real conversation or maybe your own family just needs a quality time game night with no distractions.
With some thought and creativity, you can probably keep going with this list. There are so many ways to be generous with more than just money. Studies have shown that money doesn’t change us, it just makes us more of what we already are. I want to be generous, so I’m going to work at it even when times are tight and there’s no money to give. Then one day, when financial freedom is in full bloom for our family, we will be able to give outrageously with money. But it starts with today, and it starts with now. Just give.