Guest post from Angela of AngelaMillsBooks.com:
When we’re busy and on a tight budget, it’s easy to think we don’t have the time or money to bless others. But I’ve learned over the years that no matter how little I have, there is always a way to brighten someone else’s day, and in taking the focus off of myself, I end up feeling better, too.
Here are 8 different ways you could bless others… even on a tight budget!
1. Create an Envelope for Blessings
When my husband and I were following the envelope style of budgeting, I started an envelope titled Blessings. Sometimes, I’d put five or ten dollars in the envelope. Other times, we could afford more than that.
Besides the practical aspect of setting the money aside, the discipline of doing this caused me to be more aware of the needs of those around me as I looked for opportunities to bless others.
2. Give Food Gifts
I have such fond memories of my parents bringing us brown bags of groceries when I was a young, single mom… and I’ve found that most people love to be blessed in this way!
If you’re on a tight budget, the best way to give food gifts is to take a little from what you already have.
Here are a few ideas:
- Next time you make a batch of cookies, wrap up one dozen to bring to an elderly neighbor or a teacher.
- Tithe your grocery budget and bring a bag of groceries or a grocery card to someone who needs it.
- When you go out for coffee, get a cheaper drink for yourself and bring a friend an unexpected coffee.
- When you get restaurant gift cards, use them to bless others — invite a friend to lunch, surprise your husband with a date, or give it to a couple and offer to babysit their kids so they can enjoy a night out.
- Eat a cheap dinner of noodles and take the meal you would have had to a family that could use it.
- Share the harvest of your garden.
3. Meet a Need
There are so many basic needs that many of us are able to replenish without a second thought. However, for a low-income family, or an elderly person living on social security, these items may be a huge stress on their budget. Why not lighten their load and provide them with the occasional little gift of necessities?
When you find a great deal, buy an extra for someone that needs it.
If you’re worried about hurting the receiving family’s pride, pass the items on anonymously through a mutual friend. Or, just share that you saw a great deal and picked up some extra items with them in mind.
A few things to keep an eye out for:
- Baby food
- Paper Goods
- School Supplies
4. Be Thoughtful
When you see something that makes you think of someone, go ahead and get it if you can afford it. If you can’t afford it, let the item inspire you to reach out to them with the thought in another way, like with a phone call or text.
Affordable ideas for thoughtful gifts:
- Socks for someone in the hospital or about to have surgery.
- A kindle book someone might like (ask them for their kindle address and send it their way — anyone can read it in the kindle app!)
- A jar of honey or jam for a friend who has been extra sweet.
5. Don’t Forget About Cash
While thoughtful gifts are always fun, sometimes a little bit of cash can really turn things around for someone.
One time at church, someone anonymously put a $100 bill in my Bible during worship.
If you’re on a tight budget, $100 might not be possible, but $10 might be, and that can make a world of difference to someone who needs gas or a gallon of milk to make it through the next few days.
6. Speak Kind Words
This totally FREE way of blessing others is something we too often overlook. I know I’m guilty of thinking nice things about someone, but forgetting to mention it, or feeling too awkward to say the words. In this case, practicing going outside of your comfort zone is the only way to improve.
Next time you think something nice about someone, force yourself to say it out loud. Does a friend have a cute new haircut? Tell her. Is there a Sunday School teacher that your kid really looks forward to seeing each week? Tell them and thank them for a job well done. Did someone’s advice ring true and encourage you? Let them know.
7. Become a Note Writer
Whether via text or handwritten, everyone loves to receive encouraging notes. Send thank you notes, encouraging scriptures, or just because notes.
Because postal mail is so much rarer these days, handwritten notes are extra special. And if you use paper you already have at home, all it costs you is the price of a stamp!
8. Give Your Time
With everyone seeming so busy these days, the gift of time is more precious than ever — and always appreciated!
Here are a few ways you can bless others with your time
- Call up a friend and say, “Let’s go get a dollar ice cream and watch the kids play at a fast food restaurant.” Don’t be afraid to be honest and let them know you’re on a tight budget.
- Invite the “new person” in one of your groups to a park and get to know them while the kids play.
- Invite someone over and don’t worry about how your house looks.
- Visit someone in the hospital or at home — I still remember each person that visited me when I was hospitalized eight years ago!
- Call someone who might be lonely and have a long chat with them.
- Make plans to volunteer with a friend you haven’t seen in a while. Catch up while serving others.
How has someone blessed you lately?
Angela Mills is an author and homeschool mom who loves finding ways to bless others. Her book, Bless Your Husband, Creative Ways to Encourage and Love Your Man, comes out October 16. Find Angela at angelamillsbooks.com.