Living on a Writer’s Budget Pt. 4 – Helping Others
Living in this economy is hard right now. Everyone, including myself, is re-evaluating their standards for living (mine were already pretty low to start with is what’s terrifying), and at the same time, all the charities, etc, are asking for more money because they’re trying to continue helping those who’ve been hit the hardest.
Having been raised in a very religious home, the importance of giving is something has been drilled into my head since before I actually understood what money was.
Also, since the household income as usually closer to the poverty line than middle class, I was taught how to give when there wasn’t any money to give.
When you’ve grown up without a lot of money, it’s really easy to start collecting things. Some things are what you’ve genuinely learned that you need to have on hand. Since I sew, a couple of things I always snatch up if it’s on sale are thread and zippers. Both of those things are stinking expensive, and I go through thread very quickly when I make an actual habit of sewing regularly.
There comes a time when you cross a line, though, and rather than stocking up when something is available at a good deal, you start hoarding.
I do this with clothes.
I hate clothes shopping. As a result, when something is really cheap, I rarely try it on before I take it home. The exception to this is shorts. I have a hard time finding shorts that fit the way I like them (big hips, little thighs – having curves is harder than being as straight as a bean pole – I’m really loving skirts these days).
So when you realize that you’ve bought things – a lot of things – that you don’t really need, what do you do? Give them away, of course! This can apply to anything – clothing, unopened food, electronics, craft supplies . . . I guarantee that somewhere, someone is looking for something that you have just sitting around the house.
There are also plenty of organizations that need volunteers. I prefer working with local places, but do some research into what is available in your area. For you writers out there, a lot of public library systems have volunteer tutoring programs for helping kids and adults with literacy problems. What better way to get your books in the library than to help out? 😉
Helping others is easy, even when you don’t have money. Maybe someone you know has been ill and they just need help catching up on their housework. Maybe someone is trying to learn a skill that you know, but they can’t afford to take a class. Maybe someone just needs to escape from an unfriendly family situation at home for a few hours. Maybe someone’s car broke down and they need a ride to the grocery store.
As writers, many of us are introverts, but what better way to get the information we need about the world than by waking up and paying attention to the people around us? Everyone will be better off for it.
These are some great ideas! I have a really bad clothes hoarding problem too. My issue isn’t that I buy too much, it’s that I hold onto things FOREVER under the guise that I might wear it or it sort of still fits or if I lose 10 pounds it will fit again or I have a good memory while wearing it or….well, you can see where this is going. I’ve been trying to weed out my closet lately and between Clay and I we already have nearly 4 bags full of things to donate. I’m still not done with my closet, but I’ve learned I have to just toss 1 or 2 things in the donate bag whenever I’m in my closet, otherwise the above cycle of “Why I Should Keep This” starts up again full force. No worries, I still have plenty of things that DO fit me just right. =) But it’s time I get rid of the clutter that I don’t need, but is still in good enough condition that someone else could use it.
Such great advice! I haven’t been able to get there yet, but I have been planning on getting my butt down to the local animal shelter to volunteer.
I have a ton of craft supplies that I knew I’d never use and a friend of mine suggested I donate them to a local women’s shelter. It was awesome to see the looks on the kids’ faces when I brought in the stuff. Made me want to go home and clean out everything to see what else I had!
I don’t know how to point out the exact thing, but there is something in giving that just makes me feel really good. And as you mention here, it’s something that doesn’t require giving money all the time.
It goes to show that it takes so little to make a difference in someone else’s life and it doesn’t have to cost much (if any) money either.
I wanted to let you know Rebekah that I loved this post. As a result, you have won the Kreativ blogger award. The details are on my blog post:
aww, thanks so much! And it’s one that I didn’t already have too! (I can’t tell you how many times I’ve gotten the Versatile Blogger award now, lol).
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