Random Acts of Kindness You Can Do on a Budget

Repeat after me: “If I want to be a millionaire I must help a million people.”

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My life isn’t perfect and I’m far from being fiscally rich, but I’m pretty fortunate. That’s why I try to do what I can to help others, give back, and be the reason for someone’s smile when I can. However, when I hear about large donations from people such as Akon giving electricity to 600 hundred people in Africa or Will & Jada Smith donating nearly $1,000,000 to the Lupus foundations, it’s easy to feel like the little things I am capable of doing doesn’t matter.  Even the smaller scale random acts such as buying groceries for the person in line behind you or making the payment on a lay-a-way item seem out of reach for people who are barely getting by but has a desire to help someone. Volunteering with an organization is an option. However, that is difficult if you happen to be someone with three jobs and work around the clock to make ends meet.  It can all be rather depressing thinking you can’t make an impact the way you would like.

I can’t be the only one thinking, “There’s gotta be a way for people like me who aren’t rich in time or money to help others and give someone else a reason to smile.”  It’s time we stop thinking that committing random acts of kindness is reserved for the wealthy.  There are many other inexpensive ways to make people smile. Many of them won’t cost a thing at all. For those who are coming up short on the inexpensive kindness acts, I’ve decided to create a shortlist to get you going. Hope these inspire you to do good.

A child drawing a rainbow with chalk and the words "Be Kind."
The perfect list for anyone who wants to do good, but has no budget. Anyone can join the random acts of kindness bandwagon.
Regardless of dollar amount, all random acts of kindness are priceless. The only requirement is a big heart.

  1. Use Coupons

Never let a coupon go to waste. Doesn’t matter if the coupon is for an item you don’t need or a store that’s out of reach. A good coupon could be like gold to someone else. Instead, venture out to the store and leave the coupon by the item it can be applied. Someone shopping for that item will be silently jumping for joy when they see the kind act you did. Cost to you: $0

2. Join the Search

The cost of living is at an all-time high so it’s no secret that times are hard. The person who is on the hunt for work knows this all too well. The good thing is there is always hope. Email a job posting to a friend who is looking. Or leave a printout of a yoga job ad on your neighbor’s car that says, “Yoga Queen”. Even if she’s not looking, she’ll probably appreciate the gesture. Cost to you: $0

3. Post a Note

I’m convinced Post-it notes are one of the greatest gifts to mankind. I don’t know what I’d do without Post-it notes. They are perfect to use as bookmarks, reminders to stick on my computer for work taking phone messages, etc. They are also extremely useful when it comes to random acts of kindness. We all have those days when we feel like we’re ugly, failures, and not worth anything. I happen to know that it’s totally not true, but a stranger may not know. That’s why it’s a Post-it note to the rescue. Go to the gym and leave a note on the scale that says, “No matter what the scale says, remember you are beautiful.” Or put a note in a library book that says, “You are enough.” I absolutely love these fun-shaped sticky notes.

Cost to you: $1

4. Carry Groceries

You know what’s worse than doing a major grocery run? Bringing all those heavy bags into the house. If you see someone struggling to wrangle groceries, the dog and kids at the same time offer to take a load off and help them carry in the bags, (especially if you have one of these fancy bag holders.) Cost to you: $0

5. Place Hope in a Jar

Mason jars have been on trend for a while thanks to Pinterest. They are easily accessible and useful. It only makes sense to use them as a random act of kindness. Take the time to type out 365 happy thoughts on pieces of paper, stuff into a jar, and leave a note on the jar that says take daily as needed. (Click here to follow my template) Then leave it on a doorstep, on a coworker’s desk, etc. Cost to you: $1 for jar (and maybe $.50 for printing out the happy thoughts.)

6. Feed the meter

Nothing ruins the day like getting an expensive parking ticket. Save someone from feeling that misery by feeding their meter just a little extra if you notice it may be expiring. Cost to you: $.25

7. Mail it Out

When you know the mail will be filled with bills, bills and more bills checking the mailbox can get kind of depressing. But imagine how elated you’d feel if there was a kind note tucked inside. One of my favorite things to do is open up a phone book, randomly pick a name, and then send an anonymous card with words of encouragement. The recipient would most likely be tickled with the gesture and get a kick trying to figure out who sent it.  Because I LOVE mailing things, I usually keep a stack of cards for various occasions within reach. Cost to you: $.66

8. Buy a coffee

This may be one of the most popular acts of kindness around. If you are buying yourself some breakfast why not buy a coffee for the person behind you. Cost to you: $2.00

9. Call the manager

You ever notice that we’re quick to complain about something but hesitant to praise? Instead of leaving a bad review, call the store manager and let them know about the great service you received from the cashier. Cost to you: $0

10. Money in the dollar store

This is one of my favorites. But every now and then I attach a crisp dollar bill to a toy in the Dollar Tree in the hopes that an eager child might find it. Of course, you can do this for anything in the Dollar Store such as a card, book, mirror, etc. Cost to you: $1 (consider throwing in a few cents if you know it will be taxed.)

Even though these kind acts are not heavy on the wallet they still have the potential to pull on the heart of the recipient. Now that you know how easy it is to make a difference, start now. Don’t wait another moment to be the reason for someone’s smile.

Did I miss anything? What inexpensive acts of kindness have you seen or done yourself?

TERRIfic Quip: A true gift is given without expecting anything in return.

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  1. I love this idea. I’ve paid for lunch for people behind me in line at the drive through. That Dollar Tree idea is genius. I would definitely do that.

  2. Feed the meter! I have to remember this once I start driving, or even before. Sometimes people get so caught up they forget and then boom a huge bill and that sucks! I’ve often given folks quarters for the meter before when asked, but to do it randomly and just pop it in when no one is looking would be cool!

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