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.