On this blog we write many words telling you things will be okay, even though it feels like you’re drowning in debt or can’t find the funds to do the things you want to do. Still, despite your financial difficulties, you can still afford to eat, have a roof over your head, heat in your rooms, and a bed to sleep on. Oh, and you have clothes, unless you’re a nudist. Unfortunately, there are others out there who don’t have the money to pay for one of the aforementioned items. With Thanksgiving passing us, it helps to be thankful.
According to the 2013 U.S. Census, 15% of the nation lives at or under the poverty level. And when it comes to those under the age of 18, the rate increases to 20%. The people in these ranges may not be able to afford food on a daily basis, or have a stable roof over their heads, or have a set of clothes to wear. People who live at this economic level may not be able to burst out of their debt troubles with a well-planned budget.
This is why, each November, we need to give thanks for the blessings delivered to us, small as they may be. Yes, you feel out of control with your finances; however, with a tight budget and decreased spending you have the ability to stabilize your situation. Those who live in poverty are unable to see the light of day, let alone create a budget which could help grab a toehold into their financial morass.
You agree with all of this. Yet, you don’t know how you can help others during this time with the budget you have. Here are a few things to consider that may help lighten your load and make you feel live you’ve contributed.
Donate food. We waste literal tons of food over a year. Take a look in your cabinets and I’m sure there are boxes and cans purchases several months ago which were never considered for a meal. Pack them up, head over to the local food bank, and let someone not as fortunate as you have the ability to prepare a decent holiday meal for themselves or their family. Trust us, you won’t miss the items.
Serve holiday dinners. Churches and soup kitchens never have enough volunteers to assist them during the holiday season. They can always use folks to prepare meals, serve, and help set or clean up the dining areas. Don’t be afraid to encounter those who come in for a hot meal. They’re just like you in many ways.
Budget donations. Somewhere in your budget there should be a category for charitable donations. An amount as small as $5 or $10 can go a long way to feeding an individual or helping clothe a family. By putting a set amount into your budget each pay period you can make a sizable difference to an individual or organization come the holiday season.