How to Give Without Spending a Dime

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The holidays are a time of giving, but with all the spending on gifts and parties and entertaining, it can be challenging to find a few extra dollars in your budget for charitable donations. We should remember, however, that giving to those less fortunate should be a priority all-year-round. Thankfully, there are a number of ways to do it without breaking the bank. Check out our list below and you’ll surely find that you have more to give than you think.

Give your time

We all feel like we don’t have enough of it, but when used wisely, each and every one of us has some time to give. Charitable organizations like food banks and shelters are always looking for a set of extra hands, and a couple of hours can make a world of a difference to someone in need. To get started, visit Food Banks Canada or YWCA to find your local food bank or shelter.  If you have a young family, this can be an excellent bonding experience, and an opportunity to teach the kids the power of generosity.

Give your stuff

You may not have excess funds to donate, but you probably have an array of clothing and household items that are collecting dust – some even in new condition, right? This holiday season, do a sweep of the house and donate old jackets, baby toys, appliances, and whatever else you have lying around. Chances are there’s someone out there that will be grateful to have your gently-loved items. Organizations like the Salvation Army are always looking for donations.

Give loyalty points

If you are an avid points collector throughout the year, you can give back without spending a dime. Organizations like Canadian Red Cross accept loyalty points in the form of Aeroplan Miles, HBC Reward Points, and Shoppers Optimum to be used towards travel costs and providing basic needs like food, water and shelter to those affected by disaster. Visit your point provider’s website to learn more about opportunities for charitable loyalty point transfers.

Give stock options

If you’re lucky enough to have an employer that offers stock options as part of an overall compensation package, here’s yet another opportunity to give back. There are two ways to do this. You may sell you shares and donate the cash proceeds to receive a tax credit (in an amount based on your marginalized tax rate) on the cash donated. Alternately, you may donate the stock options directly to a registered charity of your choice. In this case, a tax credit is offered for the fair market value (even if this is higher than the current value). Donating stock options is a great way to give back and enables you to minimize your tax burden in the process.

The opportunities for giving are endless. This holiday season, take a look at what you have (beyond just cash!) and let the season of giving truly begin.

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