Ways to Give Back this Giving Season on a Budget

Dorian Uson, Staff Writer

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           This time of year is when society gives back to the less fortunate. But how do you do that on a college student’s budget? Well, here are a few ways that you can affordably give back and still buy your mom an awesome Christmas present.

        One of the best ways to give back is to give your time. By volunteering to help out at a local charity or soup kitchen, you are helping the less fortunate and not spending a dime. “While charitable organizations need money to stay up and running, they also need people who are willing to pitch in and help with day-to-day operations. Your budget might not allow you to write a check to your favorite charity, but it won’t cost you any money to give your time for a good cause. Volunteer opportunities are virtually everywhere, including food pantries, hospitals, schools, senior centers, libraries, and religious institutions, such as Astegos (astegos.com), Path San Diego (path.org) and Father Joe’s Villages (my.neighbor.org) . Websites like VolunteerMatch are an excellent resource for finding volunteer opportunities in your area,” says Money Crashers. There are even websites that you can go on to and answer trivia questions and be giving back whilst you are having fun, like FreeKibble.com. For every question you answer correctly, the website will donate ten pieces of food to dogs and cats.

        Another way to give back is declutter your house of the things you don’t need and donate those items to a local charity like Goodwill, the Salvation Army, homeless shelters, religious organizations, or anywhere that helps those in need. “You can also give away items by posting them on a site like Freecycle, which is essentially a virtual community swap meet,” says Money Crashers.

        According to Business Insider, another way to give back is just by donating your pocket change. Many stores have the red Salvation Army buckets and just by throwing in your spare change you can make an impact or by adding a dollar to your purchase at supermarkets or retail stores for the designated charity, “Nowadays you can also make small donations via text or rewards points on your credit card. The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Discovery Bay Games, Chase and American Express have all participated in these type of drives, with some using Twitter and Facebook and offering to match donations.”

        You may not have much money, but you will always have some blood to spare. One really good way to give back is by making a medical donation. “According to Red Cross statistics, someone needs a blood transfusion every two seconds in the United States. If you’re in good health, giving blood is a great way to help others without spending a dime…If you don’t like needles, you have other options for giving a piece of yourself. For example, nursing moms can donate breast milk to the National Milk Bank, which provides milk to babies who are premature or critically ill,” says Money Crashers. Donating your hair is something you can to give back all year long. Locks of love uses hair to make custom wigs at no cost for children who have lost their hair to treatments.

        So this season, whether you blew all your scholarship money or you’re holding out to buy your friends really great Christmas presents, don’t use your financial instability as a reason not to give back, especially when giving back can be so easy and will leave you feeling great, and as an added bonus it looks good on your university application.


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