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‘Tis the season for giving, and many families are crunching the numbers to make what charitable donations they can. Amid a pandemic and economic turmoil, more people are in need than ever before. Whether it be your neighbors or the homeless shelter downtown, everyone could use a little extra cash to make it through the winter.
If your budget is tight this year, finding the money to make a holiday donation may be challenging. Luckily, there are a few simple ways to save up your cash and contribute to the charity of your choice.
1. Use a Budgeting App
One of the first steps to saving more money is figuring out your budget. What do you spend money on right now and how much are you saving?
Budgeting apps like Mint and Wally offer straightforward money management tools to help you get your personal finances in order and save more this season.
2. Eliminate Expenses
Once you know how much money you’re spending, you can begin to eliminate unnecessary expenses. Eating out, buying coffee on weekdays and stress shopping can add up quickly.
Make a conscious effort to cut your spending and put that money aside for holiday donations instead.
3. Cut Your Cable
You might think of cable as a necessary expense. However, you can watch live TV through a streaming service like Hulu for half the price. Plus, you’ll get dozens of on-demand shows to watch at your viewing pleasure. Sounds like a win-win, right?
4. Invest With a Robo-Advisor
Investing is more of a long-term savings strategy. However, the earlier you start investing, the more you’ll save, allowing you to make larger donations in the future. Sign up with an affordable robo-advisor and enjoy lower management costs and improved tax-loss harvesting.
5. Sell Your Stuff
Dig around in your attic, garage and closets for items you haven’t used in a while. Odds are you could sell some of it to make cash fast.
Sell jewelry you no longer wear at a pawn shop, use an app to get rid of furniture and appliances and give friends and family first dibs on clothes, old electronics and other items. You could make a few thousand dollars, depending on what you have lying around the house.
6. Tutor or Babysit
You might also be able to make some money off your natural abilities and skills. Offer to tutor students after school, teach your neighbor’s kid a second language or babysit your friends’ children while they’re at work. Put all the money you make toward holiday donations.
7. Walk Dogs
If you aren’t a fan of toddlers and temper tantrums, try walking dogs instead. Use an app like Rover or Wag to find clients in your local area and make a couple of extra bucks by helping their furry friends get some exercise. You might even take on some dog sitting jobs as owners leave town for the holidays.
8. Save Money On Groceries
Cutting spending means making more meals at home and there are dozens of ways to save money on groceries. From buying food in bulk to grating your own cheese to using coupons and rewards apps, you can minimize food expenses and put more money aside for charitable donations.
9. Earn Cash Back
Spend and save simultaneously with cashback cards and apps. Ditch the paper coupons and use a platform like Dosh, Fetch Rewards or MyPoints to earn up to 40% back at thousands of retailers. Most apps are free and may even offer a sign-up bonus, further incentivizing healthy spending and saving habits.
10. Pay Off Your Debt
Spending more money to pay off your debt might seem counterintuitive when you’re trying to save. However, the sooner you pay off your loans, the less you’ll pay in interest.
Ultimately, making a dent in the outstanding amount or paying it off completely can save you thousands of dollars in the long run. Then, you can use that money to make charitable contributions if you wish.
Donate Your Time
Regardless of how much money you can save and donate this year, one of the most meaningful ways to donate to charity is by volunteering your time.
Serve in a soup kitchen, read Christmas stories to children in community settings or offer a listening ear to a lonely senior. Giving your precious time to those in need is sure to make a lasting impact on both them and you this season.
Please check and adhere to all Covid-19 rules and restrictions for your area.
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