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5 Simple Ways to Give Back When You're on a College Budget

You can still give back without breaking the bank.

Ashley Paskill

January 11, 2016

5 Simple Ways to Give Back When You're on a College Budget
In college, students are inspired to make a positive difference in the world. However, it can be difficult to find ways to give back to the community, especially on a budget. There are various ways to help make a difference in the world without breaking the bank.
1. Say “yes” when asked if you want to donate to a cause while checking out at a store.

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Many retail places ask if you would like to donate a dollar or two to a cause. Some stores even offer to round up to the nearest dollar and donate that amount to charity. These charities may be local, but most are national charities. This seemingly little bit of money can make a huge difference. Since you are already making a purchase, an extra dollar is not a big amount to add. Since many of these charities are national, donating to them helps you make a difference on a larger scale.
2. Volunteer your time.

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Volunteering your time does not require money to leave your pocket, but it can make a huge impact on your community. It does not take a lot to help brighten someone’s day.
Serve a meal at a local soup kitchen. Play music at a nursing home or hospital. Volunteer to do crafts with kids with special needs. Clean up trash in a local park. These acts make a big difference in the lives of others without costing you a cent.

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3. Use coupons and sales if you decide to donate an item to a collection drive.
If you decide to donate to a collection drive, find coupons and sales for what you are buying. Many store circulars have coupon and sale information. There are also websites that offer manufacturer coupons for various products. Look to see if what you intend to buy has a coupon or a sale to help you save money. Also, ask the cashier if the store offers discounts for charitable donations. Many places also contribute either monetary or item donations for collection drives. Give the store at least two weeks’ notice if you want to take advantage of these donation options.
4. Clean out your closet and donate things that do not fit anymore or that you no longer wear.
Go through the things in your closet and room to see if there is anything that does not fit or that you no longer use or wear. These are things that you have already, so there is no need to make another purchase. Whether it is an old toy in good shape or a sweater that is SO last season, someone will appreciate the item. Ask around your community to see who may be in need the items you are donating. A homeless shelter may take clothes for those in need. There may be a family in need who would appreciate gently used toys to wrap for presents for birthdays or holidays. Keep an eye out for people to give to.
5. Gather spare change that is lying around and donate it to charity.
Loose change always seems to be lying around, gathering dust. After a while, the change adds up to a decent amount. Instead of leaving your change to sit around aimlessly, gather it up into a jar and let the jar fill up. After the jar is full, turn it in and donate the money to a cause or charity of your choice. This allows you to give back while using money that was not being used.

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