5 Things to Give Instead of Money

For many of us, money is tight at the moment. Perhaps you’ve got a friend in need of support, or you want to contribute to charity … but you just don’t have any cash to spare.
Thankfully, money isn’t the only thing that you can give. In fact, it may not even be the most useful. Just think about these seven possibilities instead:

#1: Time

However rich or poor you are, you’ve got 24 hours in every day and seven days in every week.

Can you give an hour or two of time to someone who really needs it? That might mean:

  • Taking care of a friend’s kids so she can have a breather
  • Volunteering for a local charity
  • Helping out at a community event
  • Visiting a friend or neighbor in hospital
  • Listening to a relative who needs to talk

#2: Skills

You’ve got a set of useful skills, whether or not you realize it. Instead of giving money, look for ways to give practical help. In some cases, your skills could save someone spending a lot of money on making mistakes or hiring someone to do things for them.

Perhaps you could help with:

  • Teaching a young relative how to cook simple meals
  • Editing a friend’s résumé
  • Designing a logo for a friend’s new business
  • Driving an elderly neighbor to the store

#3: Encouragement

Think of a time in your life when someone’s encouragement made all the difference. Perhaps you weren’t sure whether or not to apply for college, but a teacher or relative supported you. Maybe you were feeling frazzled as a new parent, but friends rallied round.

You don’t need any special skills to encourage someone, or even much time. A few kind words, or a simple note, could make a huge difference.


#4: Physical Items

Do you own any tools or equipment that you could give or lend to someone who needs them? For instance, instead of keeping old computers or monitors cluttering up your home, try looking for a local charity or a neighbor who’d be glad of them.

Most areas have a local Freecycle group where you can list any unwanted possessions. When you do that, you not only get to clear some clutter, you also get to do someone a good turn.

#5: Information

Perhaps you know a lot about a particular topic. You might have shelves full of books to lend out, or a bunch of great blog posts bookmarked on your computer. Friends and relatives may be pursuing big goals – but they might not know where to turn for advice and information.

Look out for opportunities to share useful information: that might be in your community, in your workplace, or even within your family.


Can you think of any more items to add to this list? Share them with us in the comments…


Erin shows overscheduled, overwhelmed women how to do less so that they can achieve more. Traditional productivity books—written by men—barely touch the tangle of cultural pressures that women feel when facing down a to-do list. How to Get Sh*t Done will teach you how to zero in on the three areas of your life where you want to excel, and then it will show you how to off-load, outsource, or just stop giving a damn about the rest.

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