Many individuals in the U.S. are in a position in which they must choose between saving money for their own good and not contributing to the good of others.
For those with a tendency to be generous or who wish they could give more, this can bring about feelings of guilt over not helping those who are less fortunate. The good news is that it is possible to be frugal and still give to your favorite causes or even randomly give gifts to people that you appreciate.
In fact, there are many individuals that live frugal lifestyles just so they can give more to their families and others. Yes, there are many people that live frugally because they have to, yet there are some that are so adamant about giving to others that they will deprive themselves and many individuals do not understand why they do this.
Most are frugal because they want to be able to put money in the bank for a rainy day. Rather than spending money when they receive it, they put it in the bank and continue to hunt for deals, clip coupons, and turn the lights out when they leave a room. Others live a “tight” lifestyle because they have seen or experienced what can happen to people when funds are limited. What they have been through or what they have seen first-hand makes them want to do what they can to help others having that experience.
Then there are those that simply want to be able to send the “thank you” flowers or the “get well” balloons when appropriate.
Frugality to Battle Poverty
Of course, you want to ensure you don’t fall into poverty. No one wants to be in that excruciatingly stressful situation. Unfortunately, it is difficult to know when unemployment may be on the horizon or when something may happen that will hurt you financially. Living frugally will enable you to build a savings that you can live on if you need to. It is ideal to save enough money to sustain your household expenses for six months, but it is great if you can save more.
When you truly live a more frugal lifestyle than you have to, you may find over time that you can afford to give 10% of your income to charities, buy food items for the local food bank, and donate to community causes. Here are some things that you can do to turn your frugal lifestyle into a giving one that can help battle the poverty situation that exists:
- Coupons can reduce the cost of your groceries, but they can also be used to buy food to donate to food banks. Coupons can reduce the cost of a single can of food by up to 75%.
- Designate the money you save on a specific bargain or discount shopping trip to donate to charity.
- Keep a change jar and donate the funds to a local food bank or charity when it is full.
- When shopping at yard sales, pick up a couple of clothing items and/or toys to donate to a local church that provides families with clothing and toys.
- When clipping coupons to get deals of your own, you can clip those you do not need and donate them to groups that use them to buy food and other items for the needy.
- If you encounter a BOGO deal at a store and you only need one of that item, you can donate the second item rather than place it in a drawer or a closet.
- If you do not have the money to donate, you can enter into an event that requires you to raise funds. Marathons and walking for causes are perfect examples. You are still able to do a great deal of good without breaking your own bank.
Another activity you can engage in is recycling. When you recycle, you are taking something that you bought and putting it in the hands of someone who can continue to use it. This is you getting much more than your money’s worth out of that item. Old computers can be refurbished for schools and other organizations, ink cartridges can be recycled for breast cancer causes, your old eyeglasses will be brand new to someone who needs them, an old broken hearing aid can be repaired and donated to someone who cannot afford one otherwise, and even dentures with gold inlays can be donated because the salvaged gold can be sold to benefit the cause.
Knowing that you can recycle items when you buy them can help you make informed buying decisions. Even when an item breaks, you can have the satisfaction that it will be reconditioned into an item that will benefit someone else who needs it.
Frugality and Generosity
Generosity does go beyond charities and causes that help those that are in need, as it extends to your family and your friends. When someone does something for you, it is good to be able to say “thank you” with a bouquet of flowers or to simply treat someone to dinner or to something else they like just because you care for them.
When it comes to thank you gifts, especially, many wish they could send something nice but they can’t because they simply don’t have the money. Being able to say “thanks” in a way that is adequate does typically come with a cost and not being able to meet that cost can leave a person fearful that they are viewed as ungrateful when they really are appreciative. Cutting costs and living frugally can free up funds to send the appropriate gift to a friend or family member when the time is appropriate.
But you don’t have to go all out on a gift. You can be a “frugal giver” without being viewed as “cheap.” This means giving gifts that don’t cost a lot of money. For instance, you can visit the local craft store and make a gift. Doing so can save an average of $20 or more, which is you saving money while giving your friend or family member something that is entirely unique. People like having something tailored to their taste that no one else has.
If you are not crafty, you can find items from local crafters that are very affordable. You can also scour the local sale ads and the Internet to see what retailers have in their gift sections. It is possible to find a great sale on something unique; you just have to know where to look. In the end, however, you do not have to make an exception within your frugal lifestyle whether you are simply buying a gift or giving to those that are in need.