Maybe you received cash for Christmas or a holiday bonus at work. Or perhaps you just didn’t spend as much as you thought you would on gifts this season. Whatever the reason, it turns out you have some extra cash on hand after the holidays.
The thing is, aside from one or two items, your friends and family ticked everything off your holiday wishlist. You have everything you need and more, so why not use the excess to bless someone else?
If you’ve got cash burning a hole in your pocket, put it to good use with these generous ideas.
1. Tip A Service Worker
Tipping for in-person services stopped during the height of the pandemic. Now, many people are making up for the lost time by tipping service workers a little extra. Instead of leaving the customary 15-20% for waitstaff, customers are now leaving tips of 100% or more.
Why not surprise your hairstylist, nail technician, housekeeper, or barista with a similarly generous gift? Depending on how much you’re able to give, you might just make their whole year.
2. Fund Sustainable Farming
A number of organizations have launched campaigns suggesting that one way to help those in need is to gift them farm animals. Consequently, generous donors bring millions — if not billions — of goats, chickens, heifers, and other animals to impoverished communities in developing countries.
While the animals can provide food for hungry families, they often require more feed and water than is available. Instead, scientists recommend funding sustainable farming practices like regenerative agriculture, which can benefit communities for decades.
3. Buy From Businesses That Give Back
If you’d rather give a gift and get one in return, try to frequent businesses that give back to the community. This way, you can buy stuff for yourself while indirectly supporting those in need.
For example, shoe brand TOMS commits one-third of its profits to various grassroots efforts. Even lotteries give portions of their revenue to support education and local schools, so you can feel good about buying those scratch tickets.
4. Shop Sales For Items To Donate
Double down on your philanthropic efforts by shopping sales for items to donate. Support businesses that give back while also gathering items for those in need. Make care bags full of toiletries and distribute them to homeless shelters in your community.
Shop after-Christmas deals for winter clothing and donate the items to a women’s shelter or a neighbor who couldn’t afford a new winter wardrobe. Look for deals, discounts, and close-out sales to stretch your money even further.
5. Adopt An Endangered Species
The climate crisis has driven several wildlife species to endangerment and many others to extinction. Luckily, there are many ways to protect these animals and conserve fragile ecosystems.
One popular option involves symbolically adopting endangered species through wildlife adoption programs. Receive photos of your chosen animal and even a stuffed animal to commemorate your generosity and know your money’s actually going to support species that need all the help they can get.
6. Host A Neighborhood Block Party
Perhaps you’d rather make an impact on your community and get to know your neighbors. In this case, spending your money on party supplies might be a better option. Provide a free meal to everyone who stops by and set out games like Pictionary to help break the ice.
You could even use the event as an opportunity to introduce a community project or fundraiser to the community. This is a great idea if you really want to stretch your dollars and make an even bigger impact right at home.
7. Support Missionary Work
If you participate in an organized religion, you might rethink your gift-giving in terms of furthering God’s kingdom. Perhaps you can increase your tithing or make a more generous one-time donation to support missions.
This option allows you to support missionaries directly and bring the good news to those who’ve never heard of Jesus. Many religious organizations also use donations to fund humanitarian efforts, too.
You Reap What You Sow
Did you know that generosity is good for your health? No matter how much you give, spending your holiday money on things and people that matter can lower blood pressure, increase self-esteem, improve mood, and add years to your life. As long as you’re intentional about the gift and support a cause you genuinely care about, you’re bound to reap the benefits.
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