This is hitting closer to home now. Since the beginning of the year my husband's job has been at 32 hours a week. Well, Friday he calls me and says that they are now going to an every other week schedule. OUCH! So what is a giving heart supposed to do?
Christmas is coming, birthdays are right around the corner. Even if it is $10.00 a week, start your list and go ahead and make those purchases. My goal is to have all of my Christmas shopping done before the end of September. I will let you know how it goes.
College is this fall as well. Thankfully there is a nearby K-Mart who still has lay away. Towels, wash clothes and anything else I can think of are on lay away so that those needed items won't break the bank upon entering college.
Graduation - If you are planning on giving a nice gift to that graduate of yours, start putting back now. This will allow you to tuck a nice little bit of "green" in your favorite graduates card.
Yes - A recession is the perfect time to give. You will motivate and encourage others to give. You will make a difference in the life of someone who probably needs it more than you could ever know. No matter how bad things may be for you right now - there is always someone who is in a worse situation. A recession is filled with opportunities to make a big difference and not have to spend a lot. How is that possible? Well, I'm glad you asked!
1. You will not have to look far for someone in need. There is probably a family on your street that could use a little bit of help. Instead of your family going out to eat, get a gift card - give it to the family down the road (even if it is for McDonalds) and enjoy a night at home with your family playing games and feasting on hot dogs. What about that co-worker that never, ever ever goes out to lunch. You know who they are...invite them to lunch with you. Tell them you are buying and you won't take no for an answer.
2. Your little bit will go a long way. Any "little" thing you do during this economy will be greatly appreciated! I always appreciate everything that comes my way, but if I know someone is pinching pennies - then that always means so much more! You know it is sacrificial and more importantly, it comes from the heart. Even the box of Little Debbie Oatmeal Pies that you gave out one by one - put a smile on the face of someone and made their day. (If you've never done this, you should try it! It is a great feeling to just walk up and hand out an oatmeal pie to a total stranger and simply walk away.)
3. Words of encouragement cost nothing but have the greatest value. Knowing that you are not alone with certain problems helps so much. It truly does. Why do you think support groups and online forums are so popular? We need to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and these types of groups remind us of that. When people are in different stages of the same type of journey, those that are "out front" can remind those that are behind that it will get better. Things do work out - you just have to be patient. We can see that there is hope just ahead. So, what are you waiting on? Send that note, type out that email - encourage someone today!
4. A positive attitude is contagious! Is yours worth catching? So many people are discouraged and are struggling just to make it through the day. Your positive attitude and helpful spirit can help carry several people through what just might be a horrible day. Even if you, yourself are going through a rough patch, you can still be positive and happy. Smile at everyone you come in contact with. Look at each new day as a chance to have a positive impact in the life of someone near you.
5. Giving what you have the most of - TIME. Many people in the Hollywood scene will donate thousands of dollars to their favorite charity (and let me say, I'd love to have a Hollywood Star have Spreading Joy Corporation as their favorite charity - I'm not even going to deny it!) but they don't often give much of their time. You may have the opposite problem - more time than money. So, give your time. Are you a quick book pro? Are you great with talking to complete strangers? Are you free for a few hours everyday while your children are in school? Think about how you can donate your time to make a difference.
Giving during a recession just makes sense. Many people (including myself) struggle with the fact that they can't make a HUGE difference and simply decide it is just not worth it. Just keep working through the recession. Keep giving something to someone every day. Don't worry about what it is, how big it is or if it will save the world. Just get yourself in the habit of giving and you'll be shocked at the amount of joy your heart receives back.
"The value of a man resides in what he gives and not in what he is capable of receiving." Albert Einstein