When you’re paying off debt, it’s easy to think charitable contributions are for other people. Maybe someday you’ll help out, but right now, you think, it’s not within reach.
If helping others is on your heart, you’ll be happy to know there are still lots of things you can do that won’t ruin your budget!
Seriously, even though money is obviously super helpful for these organizations, your time and talents can go just as far.
In honor of the fact that Memorial Day is just around the corner, and May is Military Appreciation Month, I’ve compiled a list of ideas of cheap or free ways you can honor members of our military – both active-duty and those who are retired.
5 Budget-Friendly Ways To Honor Service Members
Support companies that support them.
There are lots of companies that give money and support to veteran and active-duty causes. By supporting those companies, you can help them give back, as well – for no additional cost.
Clif Bars, for instance, supports the Farmer Veteran Coalition. So while you enjoy that Clif Bar, you can know the money you would have spent anyway is going to a good cause!
You can find an extensive list of brands that support military members here…
I love that, because it’s so important to me that those who risk their lives and sacrifice years of their lives for this country are treated well. Jon was in the army for four years and served in Jabuti, Africa as an MP and did the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
It was a huge sacrifice all around, and I appreciate when he’s recognized for it.
Writing letters to troops is an inexpensive way to give back, plus it’s so rewarding. There’s something about old-fashioned letter writing that’s really soothing, am I right?
You can also get your whole family involved in the process. I mean, what’s cuter than a crayon-written note from a child? It’ll totally brighten a service member’s day.
During the Month of May, you can join Navy Federal in Mission: Military Thanks. Visit a Navy Federal branch near you to write a thank you note to a servicemember and Navy Federal will send your letter for you. You can also tweet, post or caption your thanks using #MissionMilitaryThanks.
Donate things you’re not using anymore.
Do you have an old cell phone or iPod, or even a wedding dress lying around that you’re not using anymore? Consider donating them to the troops!
Old electronics can be donated to Cell Phones For Soldiers and Soldiers' Angels and it’ll help service members keep in touch with their families back home and relax after hard days/weeks in the field.
You can donate your old wedding dress to Brides Across America. Note that it will need to be less than 5 years old and in good condition – but if you have a dress fitting that description, it’s a great way to declutter while helping a bride-to-be in need!
If you have extra toiletry items, you can also check out the wishlist for Operation Gratitude and see if there’s anything you can send their way!
Spend time volunteering.
Even just an hour or two a week can brighten the lives of service members, both active and retired. It doesn’t take much, and there’s so many ways to volunteer. You can go to a center like your local VFW, or do something like donate your talents.
For instance, Yellow Ribbon Photographers give complimentary photography sessions to military families, which is an awesome way for service members to have nice pictures to enjoy while they’re deployed – as well as for their families to hang on their walls and enjoy!
Go for a walk.
Believe it or not, you can get fit and support the military at the same time – without spending a dime of your own money!
Just download the Charity Miles app, open it up, and go for a walk, run, or bike ride. It’ll automatically log your miles and donate money to the charity of your choice.
If you’ve needed extra motivation to get your workout in, this might be exactly what you need!
No matter what your finances look like, you can still find a way to get the warm fuzzies from helping someone else! Visit Navy Federal to learn more about how they are celebrating and appreciating the many roles of military members.