When things first started to go sideways, I realized I needed small tasks that could give me a sense of accomplishment and a renewed sense of security.
Then, I wanted to extend my consideration to the community. There are plenty of ways to support our communities during the COVID-19 pandemic that don’t cost a dime.
And there are some really worthwhile ways to support our communities if you do have the income to spare.
Since both mine and my husband’s school district transitioned to e-Learning within 24 hours of the closures, they agreed to pay us our full income for the two weeks of the school closing, including stipends. We don’t know what the future holds for the rest of the school year in terms of when we are going back (or not). However, we do know that we are in a much better place financially than millions of Americans. So we’re spending a little extra (and eating out a little more!) to try to lend a helping hand.
Supporting Our Favorite Charities
It should surprise exactly no one who has followed this blog for a while that we are going to try to keep going with charitable giving. It means a lot to us, and I think it should mean a lot to other people, too.
We plan to use Charity Navigator to find other charities that might need our help and we’re going to continue to send cash as long as we can (we put money donations in our budget). If this freaks you out, send $5. Send $1. I used to be really intimidated by other people’s charitable giving, and then I realized everything adds up!
Our jobs are fairly secure for this next school year, but we are going to live leaner because it’s good practice. However…
We have about $50 left of spending money this month that we plan to stretch out a few different small businesses. My frugal hack will probably be to order lunch specials from our favorite sushi spot and refrigerate it until dinner. If I can keep Mr. P away from the food long enough! We also intend to be extra generous with our tips, and leave positive reviews all over social media. (That’s a super easy and important way to support your community for $0!)
In an effort to combine a few of these items, our area Chamber of Commerce is partnering with local restaurants and collecting money from the community. Everything they collect is being used to buy lunches for our hospital staff, plus everyone at the police and fire stations. We were more than happy to chip in, and they’ve raised over $20,000! WHOA!
There’s lots of love out there for small businesses right now, and it makes my heart happy. My dad owned his own auto shop for decades, and I remember how crushing it was when Firestone moved in down the street.
For myriad reasons, my dad’s business survived and thrived. But I remember the lean times, too. I try to shop small when I can, and the shelter-in-place order has really underscored how much small businesses need our help.
Not everyone has the room in their budget to pay a few extra dollars. I totally get that. But I am trying to look hard at where our spending money goes since it is, by definition, discretionary spending. Before our children’s museum closed (temporarily!), I bought HP a floor puzzle. It cost about the same as it would elsewhere, and I got to support a local business. I’ve also been ordering coloring books from our local bookstore and shipping them to friends with toddlers. Solidarity.
Looking at Franchises
There are also a lot of stores that seem like Big Companies, but they’re actually independently owned. Our local Ace Hardware is exactly that. Rather than order the milky spore we need for our yard from a big box retailer, we are only paying $2 more per bag by ordering through Ace.
eBates Rakuten offers a higher percentage of cash back, so it’s nearly a wash!
Kindness costs nothing. This pandemic and economic turmoil are important reminders that we all need a bit more grace in our lives. It is so easy to judge how other people spend, so I am making a concerted effort to NOT do that right now. If someone defines essentials differently than you or has to shop through Amazon, so be it. We are in this together. Plus, you never really know what’s going on behind the scenes.
Supporting Content Creators + YOU!
Long before ::waves hands:: all THIS happened, I started the year committing to supporting fellow content creators. There are tons of amazing bloggers and money nerds providing a ton of education FOR FREE. $Free.99 is my favorite number, but I also want people to get paid for their work. So that’s why I’m trying to do my part to support them!
I already gave away a copy of one of my favorite money books from one of my favorite money people last month (it only feels like 12 years ago). Now, I reached out to another fave, Amanda Holden (aka Dumpster Dog), to see if I could support her work and help some interested readers (that’s you!).
If you want to learn more about the stock market and the wild ride we are currently on, Amanda is offering a steal of a deal on her Stock Market Volatility Webinar, and I’d like to pay for a few spots for a few people who are interested in learning more. Does that sound like something you want? Drop me a comment saying you’re interested in the webinar, and I’ll put your name in a raffle. I’ll emails winners at the end of the week! Please note: It’s a recording, so there’s no need to worry about your schedule or timing. Because what is time really at this point?! 😉
So Tell Me…How are you doing? Are there more ways that people can help? (And yes, if you want to grab a seat at the webinar table, let me know that, too!)