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Before we had children or even before our second child was born, we were able to give to charity much more freely and in much larger amounts than we are now. Both my husband and I wish we could still give monetarily like we used to. One way we have found that we can still give and help those in need is through my use of coupons.

By couponing and playing the drugstore game, I often get things for free. Currently we have over a dozen bottles of shampoo in the basement. It would take us forever to use up all that shampoo! Throughout the year, as we get excess items, I put boxes together and donate them to a few different local shelters. The items you can most often get for free or really cheap like boxed or canned foods, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, soap, maxi pads, and cleaning supplies are things that shelters and other social service organizations are in need of.

Other ideas for giving when you don’t have money to give include:

  • Give your children’s old toys or clothing to domestic violence shelters or shelters for families. Winter coats are always needed.
  • Check with your favorite charity to see if they collect old cell phones or printer cartridges.
  • Make a meal for someone you know is in need, or for a local shelter.
  • Donate your time. Many charities need manpower as much as they need financial support.
  • Many places like VA hospitals, senior centers and prisons will take books as a donation.
  • Animal shelters are always in need of dog and cat food.

I’m sure there are many other opportunities out there. What have you done to give back?

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