5 Random Acts of Kindness That Don’t Come Cheap
Helping others makes us feel good, and sometimes, it helps us live healthier, happier lives. Not only can we be happier by doing kind things for other people, but we can improve the lives of others by helping them as well. Even if you do one random act of kindness and it makes another person happier for a few hours, you have made a difference in that person’s day. Small acts of kindness like purchasing a meal or even holding a door open do make a difference in a society where many people ignore each other on a regular basis. There are also ways that you can make a long-term difference, either through volunteering or by purchasing a big gift that changes lives. However, many of these acts of kindness are costly. If you have some extra money to spend, consider this list of more expensive random acts of kindness.
1. Pay for groceries
Groceries are expensive. According to the USDA, the U.S. average for a family of four with two young children to afford a nutritious diet is $131.20 to $256 per week. Even at the smaller end of that scale, eating at home is a significant part of any person or family’s budget. If you feel especially generous and you see a family that you want to help (or even an individual), paying for the person’s groceries is a great way to help a family for an entire week. If you really want to spend big, consider purchasing groceries for an entire month. You might have to be more creative if you want to do this anonymously, but you will make a huge difference for the people receiving your gift.
2. Help someone have a place to live
Rent and mortgage payments are another big cost for most Americans, so if you can help in this area, you should. One way to help is to participate in Habitat for Humanity, and actually build someone a house; this won’t cost you anything, but if you help enough and you calculate the amount of hours you spend, you will be making quite a donation. If you can’t actually help build a house, another way to help is to give to local shelters that are supporting the homeless. Everyone needs somewhere to live, so if you have the money or the time to make a difference and provide someone with a home, do it. Some organizations also set up programs where people are given a place to live in return for getting continuing education or full-time jobs, so you can also give directly to that type of program.
3. Find a cause
If there is a specific cause you are passionate about, make it your goal to make a real difference in that area. You can take on a smaller project, like beautifying your local community by cleaning it up and planting flowers and landscaping (but check your city rules first.) The cost of this project will depend on the amount of hours and the amount of supplies you use. Or, consider organizing a fundraiser for a national (or local) organization that you care about. The hidden costs of fundraising can sometimes be surprising because you may have to advertise, send out mailings, and purchase food and other supplies. However, if you care about the cause, you can make a big difference by being proactive.
4. Invest in another culture
We have problems right here in America, so you don’t need to travel to another country or donate your money to an organization in another country in order to make a difference. However, there are many people around the world who lack basic medical supplies, food, shelter, and even clean water. The Water Project provides water projects to people in Africa who don’t have regular access to clean water. If you fund a project like this, you will be making a difference in the lives of children and adults, and your random act of kindness will affect their whole lives.
5. Change your lifestyle
You could go out and buy someone a fancy dinner or even a new car. However, you could also make a difference by changing your lifestyle. Choose to volunteer more often; it won’t cost you anything except your time. Choose to help strangers when you see them instead of turning your head. Don’t waste food, conserve energy, and use your car less to help the environment. Spend more of your money helping people instead of buying things you don’t need. The more of your time and money you spend helping others, the more you will be an example for other people, which can make an even bigger difference. In the long run, if you choose to give away your money regularly, the amount you spend might end up being very large, but the satisfaction you will feel by making a difference will be worth it.
If in the immediate future you would rather spend a lot of money rather than make a lifestyle change or commit to a charity or cause, there are still plenty of ways you can make a difference. Spend a month doing something nice for a stranger each day. Purchase a new bicycle for a child, or even pay for someone’s school tuition. It’s important to note that you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a difference; there are many free or affordable ways you can show kindness to someone else, but if you have money to spend, the options are pretty endless.