Top 5 No-Cash Ways to Give Back


NEW YORK (MainStreet) — Generosity is the name of the game when it comes to the holiday season. But if your budget is stretched to the limit, there's no shame in finding cash-free ways to give back this year. If you're looking for inspiration, here are 5 things you can try.

1. Buy One, Give One

While you're doing your holiday shopping, you're likely to come across volume deals like buy one, get one free sales. If it's on your list anyway, definitely take advantage of the free item and donate it to a holiday gift drive, like Toys for Tots.

2. Donate Airline Miles

Rather than stockpiling your airline miles, why not use them to put a smile on someone's face this year. The Fisher House Foundation's Hero Miles program provides airfare for wounded, injured and ill service members and their families. The Make a Wish Foundation fulfills travel dreams with its Wishes in Flight program. Both causes are certainly worth supporting.

3. Be Earth Friendly

Commit to a more Earth friendly holiday season by unplugging electronics and turning off lights when you leave a room. Reduce carbon emissions by purchasing locally made gifts that don't require shipping. While you're at it, take the time to unsubscribe from catalog and junk mail lists. You'll save yourself time in the long run, as well as saving a few trees in the process.

4. Recycle Your Old Cell Phone(s)

If a new iPhone is on your wish list this year, consider giving away your old phone (or phones) to help victims of domestic violence. Verizon's HopeLine program makes it easy with pre-paid shipping labels and in-store donation boxes. Just be sure to wipe off any personal data first.

5. Connect in Person

As more and more of our social interactions happen online, nothing beats an opportunity for good old volunteering in person. This could be official—like serving a meal at a soup kitchen, or unofficial—like shoveling your neighbor's driveway. Find at least one way to show in-person kindness this holiday season.

After all, most of us have more than we need. And when we reach out to help others, we're usually the ones whose lives end up enriched.

—Written by Lauren Lyons Cole for MainStreet

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