Five ways saving money can help you pay it forward

If you've managed to start smart in 2014* with strong resolutions for saving money and budgeting better, you may already find yourself with some extra cash on your hands to enjoy. With Random Acts of Kindness Week getting started, you've got a great opportunity to pay it forward and do something good for someone else with that extra money.

If you know you want to do something nice, but want to stick with saving money at the same time, we've got some ideas for free ways you can practice random acts of kindness as well.

  1. Figure out your monthly savings so far, and pick a percentage of it to give away to your favorite charity. Many charities give you the option of giving a set amount monthly, so you can make a commitment in this amount moving forward (which will give you an extra incentive to keep up with saving money!).
  2. If you can't give money to help out a charity you care about, why not give your time? Volunteering is totally free, so you don't have to worry about its effects on your budget, and it gives you a good opportunity to both learn about the local charities doing good work in your community and meet new people.
  3.  Going out for a nice Valentine's Day dinner? Think about ways to spend less on your own dinner, so you can afford to treat someone else at the restaurant. A surprise free dinner is the kind of random act of kindness your chosen recipient is sure to remember. You can skip dessert out and make a special dessert at home as part of your celebration, or forego the fancy wine and appetizers to keep that tab down.
  4. Is there a book or resource that's helped you with saving money or budgeting? Pay it forward! Buy an extra copy of that book to give to a friend, or send the link to your favorite personal finance blog to someone you think would appreciate it. To really get in the spirit of Random Acts of Kindness Week, you can drop off a book in a stranger's mailbox, or donate it to the local library.
  5. You can double up Random Acts of Kindness Week with some early spring cleaning. There are probably clothes in your closet you never wear, canned goods in your pantry you're unlikely to use, and boxes sitting your garage full of stuff you forgot you even had. Clean them all out and take what you find to the local homeless shelter or food bank. Now, you've not only done something nice for someone else, you made your own home a little cleaner.

PS: Share your Random Acts of Kindness Week celebrations, tips, photos, and ideas on Twitter with the hashtag #RAKweek.

Tags: Community