Friday, October 14, 2016

Saving so you Can Give to Others

FTC disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links.

When I was a teenager, there was about a year that my mother and I had nothing to eat but potatoes because we were trying to make ends meet.  That is when I decided I was going to do what I could to figure out a way we could afford a bit more variety in our food as well as being able to have the heat set above 58 degrees in winter.

That's when I started reading books like The Complete Tightwad.  Although this book has advice from 20+ years ago, much of it is still quite useful, and one I would recommend to be in any penny pincher's library.  I still read my copy from time to time, usually getting it out every two years or so for a refresher course to see if I'm still doing everything I can -- or even if I can implement something new.

I know what it is like to go without.  I have been honing my knowledge of saving money since about 1991.  In fact, that's long enough time that I would say I could be considered an expert in saving.  I've seen refunds dwindle, online savings apps to take their place.  I've seen coupons go from long expiration dates to sometimes expiring in one week, to limits, and digital coupons.

But one thing has remained constant, I like to share my savings with others.  I have asked for years to teach coupon and money saving classes at churches and community groups, but have never been taken up on that offer.  (Don't worry if you are interested, I am planning something great for my blog followers!)  Because of so few wanting to know how to save money like I do (and it doesn't take that long -- an hour or two a week max, and already this year I've saved thousands of dollars!)  I am a bit pickier in who I help.

I tend to help those who aren't able to help themselves.  I live in an area with no public transportation, and there are people without cars.  If there are children, I tend to want to help them.   I also will give stuff to churches because I figure it makes a church look good if someone says they have nothing to eat and can be given a few grocery items.  Also, women who have had to escape abusive relationships.

It amazes me that I have donated items at a non-profit and I was asked "Why".  Well, if I can get something for free, for a few cents, or occasionally be able to combine deals and take the item out of the store AND MAKE MONEY doing so, I figure someone can use the stuff I get.  It might not be the first thing you think of to donate make-up to a shelter, but I'm sure there was some teen girl who was excited at a new tube of mascara.  Just because someone lives in a shelter doesn't mean they don't desire the things most take for granted.

Amazingly, many of the things I can get free or almost free are things that food pantries have a difficult time keeping in stock.  Toilet paper.  Feminine items.  Diapers.  Breakfast foods.  Pantry items.

I wish more people saw the potential to help others by spending a little time to save money to help others.

I don't give to receive kudos or pats on the back.  But it's certainly a way that I can help others and make my dollars stretch much further than they would if I were to give what it cost me financially.

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