Great Ways to Save Money by Volunteering
I’ve always been the volunteering type, especially since I became a mom. I believe strongly in helping others, and I want my daughter to learn that value, too. For the last decade I have been part of a community recreation board, helped with youth sports programs, and served as a Girl Scout leader. Recently, I have taken an interest in helping out at a friend’s equine farm. (See also: Money-Making Lessons From the Girl Scouts)
I have found that my volunteering has been personally rewarding, but those efforts have helped me financially, too. No, none of those volunteer positions were paying positions, but they nevertheless helped me save money and boost the bottom line.
I have been able to attend a lot of great events, even with my family, at no cost to me. I may have to spend some time behind the concession stand, and I may have to stay later to help clean up. But it has always turned out to be a great time, and we don’t have to worry about expenses for a night out. We have also been able to eat free at the events.
Sometimes at the end of the night there are extra things like food that didn’t get sold or cannot be used again. In most cases, these items are given away rather than tossed into the trash. Food is not the only thing I have scored at the end of an event. I’ve gratefully accepted craft and art supplies, clothing, and other promotional items.
It’s All About Who You Know
There are a lot of great people you want to know, especially when you are in a pinch. Plumbers, carpenters, lawyers, and a host of other professionals are all volunteers. I’ve met many people who I might not have otherwise become friendly with that have helped me at a lower cost or for no charge at all. As a big fan of the barter system, I have also been successful at helping people with marketing and website content in exchange for getting my lawnmower repaired.
As a freelance writer, networking is vital to my work. Since I also dabble in marketing, I have found that local connections give me the opportunity to meet small business owners and organizations that could benefit from my help. I can do this kind of connecting on a casual basis without spending a dime. I am also more likely to get the work because I get to know people on a personal level.
There have been many occasions in the past that have allowed me access to places and things I may not have been able to get without my volunteer connections. I’ve been able to borrow character costumes for my kid’s birthday party, march in parades, and participate in many fun things at no cost. I’m currently planning my daughter’s birthday party at the horse farm at no cost to me, saving me a few hundred bucks in rental space.
No Gym Fees
Volunteering definitely keeps me moving. Some opportunities provide much more activity than others, but the fact is I am getting out of the house and moving around. As a work-at-home writer, I don’t have much occasion to leave the house outside of local errands. With my volunteer work, I have a reason to get out and about. I can’t beat the physical activity at my latest opportunity. A few hours of barn work replaces several hundred dollars a year in gym membership fees. Not only that, but I love the work I do — something I cannot say about formal exercise.
Certainly you should volunteer your time because you genuinely like to help people and spend your time purposefully. But if you have been considering taking on some volunteer work, you can look at things from your own perspective as well as for those you are directly helping. You never know what awaits you!
Have your volunteer efforts helped you financially?