Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
November 7, 2023

Four Ways to Give Back to Your Community on a Budget

At this time of year, feelings of gratitude and generosity abound. While we’re expressing thankfulness in our own lives, let’s be sure to share joy with others and support our community. We know many of us are looking to stick to our budget during the holiday season, so giving money to charity might not be possible for everyone. That’s why we’ve got four ways you can give back to your community without spending a dime.

1. Give with your time.

Sometimes, what local organizations need as much as dollars is volunteers. Giving your time through volunteering is one of the best ways to help your community. Our suggestion? Find a cause you’re passionate about and connect with a corresponding organization.

One cause near to our hearts at Grow Financial, which affects many people every day, is food insecurity. Right now, one in every six families wonders where their next meal will come from.1 Many local organizations are working tirelessly to help feed our community, such as The Kind Mouse, which provided more than 165,000 meals to hungry kids in 2022. These organizations rely on volunteers year-round, so there are countless opportunities to give your time through community service. Don’t want to volunteer alone? Ask your friends or family to volunteer with you. Any charitable organization would greatly appreciate the extra help!

2. Support locally owned businesses.

When you shop at a locally owned business, you’re supporting a member of your community and everyone they employ while helping to generate a positive economic impact right where you live. While it’s not always feasible to shop locally every time, consider finding ways to integrate local options into your regular monthly budget. You could:

  • Visit a neighborhood farmer’s market. Produce prices are often lower than larger grocery retailers, and you can’t beat the freshness of locally-grown produce!
  • Try a mom-and-pop restaurant. Most of us love a good chain, but don’t forget to keep your local pizza place, donut shop or taqueria in the rotation.
  • Do your holiday shopping at small businesses. Handmade jewelry, bath supplies, candles, clothing, art and more make excellent gifts.
  • Get your auto repairs done at a local garage. Your neighborhood mechanic most likely knows the tools of the trade better than anyone (and might just charge you less, too!).

So, as you’re doing your expected shopping, whether for day-to-day life or the upcoming holiday season, consider opportunities to support local businesses. (Read more about five ways to support local businesses.)

3. Share positive reviews.

Do you research a business online before visiting? If you’re like most consumers these days, you probably read online reviews or ask friends for their opinion first before joining a new gym, trying a new restaurant or taking your car in for a repair. This goes to show that your voice matters, and it has a powerful impact.

To give back to your local businesses, leave a positive review of your favorite spots. Businesses rely on positive word of mouth to reach new customers, so share the love today to help them out!

4. Donate clothing and items.

Think about how you may be able to support your community by donating your extra resources. Consider donating non-perishable food, gently used clothes, like-new toys and games your children don’t play with much, extra pieces of furniture and other things you might not need.

Many local organizations have food drives going on throughout the holiday season. In Tampa Bay, Metropolitan Ministries typically serves more than 30,000 families in need with holiday meals, and Lowcountry C.A.R.E.S. Ministries and Harvest Hope serve the South Carolina community. In addition to knowing you’ve helped out, you can often deduct these non-cash charitable donations on your taxes, too.2

From giving your time to spreading positive word of mouth about a local business, anything you can do to support your community will mean a lot to someone — especially during the holiday season. We hope these ideas inspire you to give back to your community, even while on a budget!

1Metropolitan Ministries. Our Work: Food. Accessed October 18, 2023.
2For specific tax advice, please consult a qualified tax professional.

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