How to Manage Debt & Still Donate to Charities

Paying off debt can suck for all sorts of reasons. But it when there are causes near and dear to your heart and you struggle with donating to that cause because of your debt it can be the absolute worst. You may make some donations and then feel frustrated by your debt payoff progress.

There are ways you can put money towards your debt and contribute to worthy causes without feeling guilty.

How I Find Balance

My current income provides me with the ability to live comfortably on my own and pay all my bills. Including those related to my debt, with a little left over at the end of each month. I usually do my best to apply that extra money towards my financial goals, but not always.

Sometimes it goes towards an unexpected bill and other times it gets donated to a charity.  I have many causes I care about, but I don’t have a lot of money to donate. I donate what little I can when I can and have a lot of gratitude about the fact that I’m able to do so. However, you don’t have to donate money to make a difference.

You Can Donate Goods Instead of Money

Most of my charitable donations of late have been the donation of goods, but I try every year to make at least a small monetary donation. Every little bit counts, you never know the difference your $5 or even $25 donation could make.

Lately, my monetary donations have been towards friends running for charity. Not only does it go towards a good cause but it helps support my friend in raising awareness.

How Donating can be Selfish

Several studies and articles have explained how many people experience the warm fuzzies (as I like to call them) when donating. Those feelings of goodness are a great motivator in donating, it has been said to be a type of high.

I have no problems being selfish in this way, especially when tax season comes around, I like racking up tax deductions. In fact, as tax season ends, you may have had an increased desire to have donated throughout the year for the tax deduction.

5 Easy Ways to Donate without Breaking the Bank

Maybe you don’t have extra cash to donate, that doesn’t mean you can’t contribute a donation. As I mentioned earlier, I donated a lot of stuff before I moved. Most of it was stuff that wasn’t selling or wasn’t selling quickly enough.

If you tried your hand at side hustling by selling your old junk, consider donating. Also, look into different organizations in your area. A big donation I made was to a charity that advertised in the mail that they would pick up the donation, saving me time and gas money. Here are 5 ways I’ve managed to donate without breaking the bank:

1. Spring Cleaning or Moving

All the stuff you were just going to throw out – is it in good enough condition to donate? Consider a local Goodwill or another charity store. I also donated to a Veterans group that was willing to pick up a ton of stuff from my house.

2. Specifically, Look at Your Bookshelves

Have books you’re never going to reread or read in general? Chances are your local library accepts donations (they’ll take audio books too!) I donated over 80 books before I moved.

3. Credit Card Rewards

Did you get a little extra cash in your checking account? Consider donating it, it didn’t cost you anything, but you can still get a tax break from free money. Some credit cards will even give you the chance to directly donate your rewards points.

4. Support a Friend or Friend of a Friend

I bet someone on your Facebook feed is running some sort of race for charity. I’ve looked at doing a race for charity but I shied away because a lot of runs like that have a minimum fundraising goal of at least a few thousand dollars. Usually, if you don’t raise it from others, you are on the hook for the difference.

Given the amount of debt I’m in, I didn’t want to risk it. But donating just $5 to my friends running for charity would help them out. Even better you donate $5 and share their link to help them raise even more.

When I haven’t had the cash to support their races, I’ve made something to donate to a silent auction they were having to fundraise.

5. Donate Your Time

Volunteer, admittedly this won’t’ get you a tax break, but if you are lucky like I am you might be able to get paid to volunteer. Say what? My company (and maybe yours too) in addition to holidays and PTO gives me 2 days or a total of 16 hours to take off and volunteer for qualified charities.

They also give me 16 hours to do pro bono work as an attorney. Supporting their employees to give back is part of the company culture and one of the reasons I like working for my company.

Wrapping it Up with a Bow on Top

You can reach your financial goals and still find ways to donate to charities you care about, here are 5 easy ways to donate without breaking the bank:

  • Spring Clean your home and donate items you aren’t using
  • Specifically, check your bookshelves many public libraries will accept donations (even audio books)
  • Donate credit card rewards
  • Support a friend running for charity by helping them fundraise or raise awareness for their fundraisers
  • Donate your time and volunteer

Related: How to Get the Most for Selling & Donating Your Stuff

7 thoughts on “How to Manage Debt & Still Donate to Charities”

    • That is great, I feel like adding that into your budget takes a lot of effort, especially when everyone is trying to cut down their budget.

  1. I donate to my little girl’s school quite a lot in the form of fundraising and helping out. I also support friends and family who are doing sponsored events and if I do have a little extra cash now and I then, I donate to a good cause spontaneously. The last one I’ve donated to was for a little girl receiving specialised cancer treatment – I saw the pledge on Twitter and at that time, I’d had a good month’s earnings so I felt able to donate!

  2. I love that your company allows you time off to volunteer!
    Whenever we receive a bonus we donate a portion of it in addition to our regular charitable contributions.
    My daughter has a heart for Operation Christmas Child, so we rummage and hit holiday clearances to help our church prepare gift shoeboxes that go around the world.

  3. It’s also worth looking into global disasters and donating through that countries specific Red Cross. When the typhoon hit the Philippines a few years ago, I was able to donate through the Philippines Red Cross, so my $25 donation was converted into the pesos and considering the exchange rate went much further over there than $25 goes over here.


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