Giving Back This Season

Ever since I not-so-long-ago posted about doing your holiday shopping through ebates (you can get a kick-back from what you spent, woot woot), I’ve been feeling a twinge of guilt. Okay, maybe more than a twinge.

I’m all about saving money, and even making it…not in a greedy way, but in more of the “looking for ways to live a simple, debt-free life with my family” kind of way. It is what it is. So, while I stand by the post I wrote, I also wanted to bring up a couple of other less materialistic/selfish ways to shop online this holiday season.

Online Shopping = Opportunity for Charity

Amazon Smile is something that Dave and I are trying to remember (that’s the hard part) to use these while doing our Amazon shopping this season. You can select an organization to support (we’re assisting Helping Animals Live Organization, or as it’s locally known, HALO) and that’s pretty much it. You shop through instead of and they’ll donate an amount (I have no idea how much, honestly) to your selected charity when you purchase a product that qualifies for a donation. There are almost one million charities to choose from, too, and you can change your organization at any time.

It’s a bummer that everything’s not eligible for a donation, but every little bit helps. Especially when it comes to saving, protecting, and caring for wayward animals. Or, at least, that’s where our hearts live. 

Goodshop (and Goodsearch) is another system that we use to try to give back while shopping online, but you can actually raise money in other ways. If you search, game, or even grab coupons from Goodshop, you’re doing good at the same time. There are over 100,000 organizations to select from, from the Sierra Club to Toys for Tots and tons in between. Every time you search through them rather than, say, Google, it donates a penny to your cause. Every time you search and shop through their plentiful list of stores (why, hello, Target! Yo, Kohl’s! How you doin’, Old Navy?), a percentage of your purchase will get go towards doing good in the world. Oh, and you also get some pretty cool coupons and codes (similar to ebates, actually) while you’re at it.

I’m sure there’s more to the site (and accompanying app) than that, but that’s the general idea of the thing.

Closer to Home

This time of year, we also look locally to try and give back, too. We take part in my school’s “Giving Tree” (we buy an article of clothes and a toy for needy kids on Christmas and bring in food – I don’t know why, but I always buy a full meal, sans the meat – for a needy family). Last year, we brought donuts and coffee to our local police department before heading to be with our families on the holiday, and Hadley got an awesome cop bear out of the deal (we really didn’t want anything in return).

I have a thing about giving to a Salvation Army bell ringer, even when we’re not in NYC (which, um, we’re not very often). There’s just something so festive and heart-warming about it, aside from the fact that I used to volunteer. We also like to find out what our local humane society is lacking and do a drop-off. We’ve also been known to stop by local “Stuff the Bus” drives with an unused toy or two.

Wow. Just when you think you’re not doing enough, you type it out and realize you’re doing more than you thought. I guess I feel a little better about the ebates post! But, still, it’s just super important for us to do all that we can (and all we can afford to do) to help others out, especially at this sometimes tough time of the year. We especially focus on talking to our little man, who is slowly but surely catching on to the concept that it’s better to do good and think of others.

It’s also been said plenty of times before, but there truly is something wonderful in the feeling you get when giving to others. 

What things, big or small, do you and your family do to give back? 

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