Having a baby… Going in the hospital…. Getting sick… A death in the family… Deployment of a spouse.. A sick child… These are all some of life’s curve balls that get thrown into our routines. If you have not been through any of these, well… that’s amazing! But most of us have been through some stuff. One of the wonderful things that we get to do as humans is help each other out during these times. Some of the most meaningful and touching gestures have been shown to me personally during these times. So, I try to give back. Through the years I have developed some ways to cushion some of the expenses of helping others out. Blessing one another does not have to put us in a financial bind. Like everything else, it takes effort and planning. Today I want to discuss some ways that I have learned to help others while staying on budget. Some of these ideas I have been the recipient of, as well. I hope that it will get your mind thinking about ways you can help others without breaking the bank.
First, a quick story…. A few years ago I became very ill. I had a dear friend that wanted to help. There was not much that could be done. But she kept pushing. Finally, I agreed for her to come over and eat soup with me. I couldn’t keep much down. She sat with me while I ate the soup. I will never forget her kindness to me through such a simple gesture. When is the last time we offered to come and sit and eat soup with someone? There wasn’t much else she could do to help. But, her persistent kindness helped me to feel better emotionally and physically.
So, what could your “can of soup gesture” be? Here are some ideas:
#1 Cook Something!
Most of us can cook something. Can you make bread? A dessert? A meal? Maybe the recipient is sick and can’t eat. Can you bless his or her family? When you are sick, the last thing you want to do is cook a meal. Maybe if you are really pressed for cash, you can go through your cupboards and make a meal from what you have. A pasta dish, a casserole, or a soup could mean the world to someone who isn’t up to cooking. What about a bread? My kids love to eat muffins, cakes, and breads. It would be so kind if someone considered them and provided a dessert or treat.
#2 Give From Your Couponing Stockpile
A lot of us frugal moms coupon. Maybe you have a stash of body stuff that you were able to score for a quarter a piece. Is there a way you could package that up to look pretty to present to a new mom? Or maybe to a friend who has had a bad week and needs to pamper herself? This could mean the world to them!
#3 Use Points or Rewards Programs to Pay for a Small Gift or Gift Card
There are many points programs that you can take part in. A couple of my favorites right now are Swagbucks and Earning Station. Maybe you could plan on using these as a kindness fund. I personally can usually cash $25.00 a month from each of these sites. You could use that money to buy a friend a meal, a gift card, or a small gift that you know would help.
I also have an article that can help you begin to earn on Earning Station here.
#4 Use Items That You Already Have
No, I am not talking about that regifted ugly sweater in your closet. (smile) I mean actual items people would want. For example… I recently went to the dentist for a cleaning. My hygienist was running about 20 minutes late. Much to my surprise, she gave me a $5.00 Starbucks Gift Card for my waiting. I was truly shocked! Anyways, I am not a huge coffee fan. I am sure I could have found a way to eat a treat or something else from this card. But, I decided to give it to a sick friend that has had to go back and forth to the doctor all week. Maybe she could use it as a fun pick me up. Maybe you have a gift card, pampering item, or food treat that you don’t want or really need. Maybe this could turn into a perfect help for someone else.
#5 Offer to Help
Sometimes the best gift is not a physical gift. It is the gift of time, or service. Does the person need a ride to an appointment? Maybe they need… gasp… someone to watch their kids during an appointment. For me, these are gifts that take more of a sacrifice. I am quick to give 10 bucks but watch someone’s kids? Ummmmm….. Anyways, maybe they need someone to sit and talk with them while they are in the hospital. Maybe they need someone to pray for them. Maybe it would mean the world to a pregnant mom if someone would take their older kids to McDonalds to play while she has a nap! Are we available?
#6 Give Some Samples
I love to use sample items. I think it is so fun to sign up for freebies and get them in the mail. Maybe a few freebie items could make a pampering kit for a person home from the hospital, a new mom, or a sick friend. There a lot of freebies right now that I just posted here. If you keep your eyes open, and stock up, you could quickly have a stash to make a gift from. Below are some samples I have received recently from PINCHme.
#7 Dollar Store
I have to mention the dollar store because it is one of my favorite places!! There are many items that are a dollar that you could whip into a cute basket for a friend or coworker. Bubble bath, epsom salts, face masks, body soaps, fuzzy socks, ginger ale, ginger snaps, hard candy, soup, crackers, cards, medicines, are just a few items that my Dollar Tree has that would be helpful. You could think about what you would like if you were sick.
#8 Make Something
Are you good at making things.. crochet, cards, photo albums, a wreath, a homemade journal, a Bible cover? These items and a ton more could be made for a sick child’s room, a mom on bed rest, an elderly person in a nursing home. Small items like this could really lift their spirits. Below is a unicorn my mom made this week for my daughter. What kid wouldn’t love that?
#9 Have your Child Make Something
It is so good for children to be involved in service. They can also make a card or a craft for another person who is going through something. Our children need to be taught to show kindness to others. Below is a card my daughter made.
Well, that is the end of my list… But not my ideas! There are a lot more things you could do to help someone who is going through something. I also wanted to mention that if you are in a mom’s group or study group you could organize a meal train for a person in need. I love the website TakeThemAMeal.com. It is free and it helps you organize a meal group so that the recipient doesn’t receive 5 days of lasagne. I use this a lot for work.
What do you think? Do you like any of these ideas? Has someone done something kind for you in your time of need? I would love to hear about any other ideas!
I hope you can bless someone this week…