21 Ways to Give Back When You're on a Shoe String Budget

Giving back is super important. However, when you are trying to pay off debt or save toward a particular goal, it can be hard to allocate a big portion of your budget to doing good. That's why I've put together this list of ways to give back when you're on a shoe string budget:

Is it possible to give back when you're on a tight budget or trying to get out of debt? Here are 21 ways to give back on a tight budget.
  1. Donate plasma. This is a great way to give back and also earn a little extra money for your time. You can find a plasma donation center and learn more about the process here.  
  2. Volunteer as a coach or referee for a local team. Sometimes all you have to do is offer to help!
  3. Offer to give free tutoring once a week. Are you a math whiz or SAT prep ninja? Or maybe you have some musical skills that can be put to good use. Make an announcement on Facebook or put together a simple flyer and post it around town. 
  4. Donate your clothing. This is one of the easiest ways to give back. It also helps you to declutter your home. You can drop off clothes you no longer need at your local Goodwill or at a clothes recycling bin near you.
  5. Donate a meal. Make an extra plate of food and donate it to someone in need. It's as simple as that, folks.
  6. Read to children at a library. Your local library is often in search of someone willing to read to children on the weekend. You can sign up for different time slots throughout the month.
  7. Host a fundraiser. Have some more time on your hands? Why not organize an event to raise money for your favorite cause? One way to do this successfully, without spending a ton of money, is to approach a few local businesses to see if they would be willing to get involved as sponsors. 
  8. Recyclebank. Have you heard of Recyclebank? It's a platform where you can earn points for reducing waste at home and in your community. You can use those points in a few ways including donating them to different charities.  
  9. Donate your credit card rewards. If you earn cash back rewards or miles through your credit card, you can easily donate them. Check out this article to learn more. 
  10. Save your box tops. Box tops help to fund schools across the country. There are box tops on hundreds of every-day products that you can clip and donate. Learn more here.
  11. Donate your hair. Locks of Love gives guidelines on their website if you'd like to participate as or donor or even volunteer your time.
  12. Pay it forward. Random acts of kindness can go a long way to put a smile on someone's face. One way to do this is to buy a cup of coffee for the person who's next in line and encourage them to do the same. 
  13. Donate your unused gift cards. If you received a gift card that you don't want or need, you can exchange it for a charity donation using the CharityChoice website. They also accept partially used gift cards.
  14. Pledge your birthday money. Let your family know that you'd like to pledge some or all of your birthday money this year. You could even ask them to submit the donation directly to your favorite charity.
  15. Amazon Smile. Even if you're on a tight budget, you are probably still using Amazon to make purchases on a regular enough basis. Amazon Smile will donate a percentage of the price of eligible goods at no cost to you! You can learn more here
  16. Calling Congress. Your Members of Congress are elected to serve you and they want to hear about your concerns. The more people that contact them about a particular issue, the more likely they are to support it. The best part? It only takes a few seconds to locate their number and give them a call!
  17. Donate old books. Do you have old books (novels, biographies or textbooks) lying around and collecting dust? Donate them to your local library, school or find a location via BetterWorldBooks.com.
  18. Help out the elderly in your neighborhood. Offer to help them with their bags or mow their lawn at no cost once a month. 
  19. Volunteer at a food bank. You don't have to wait for the holiday season to do this. Simply check out your local Salvation Army's website and see what volunteer positions they have available. 
  20. Check out your company's CSR policy. Many companies might have a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) policy in place. Some will even donate a specific dollar amount based on the number of hours each employee volunteers per month. 
  21. Give back while you get fit. According to CNET, "Charity Miles is sort of like a walk/run/bike-a-thon -- corporate sponsors pledge up to $0.25 for each mile you log in the app." Check out the app here
  22. Donate your cell phone. Verizon has a program that you allows you to donate victims of abuse. You could also sell your old cell phone for cash at your nearest ecoATM and donate the funds to your favorite charity. 


What are some of your favorite ways to give back? I'd love to hear from you in the comments below!