Giving without Spending a Penny (or very little money)

Giving without Spending a Penny

This post will show you how you can realize the target of generously giving without spending a penny. The reason I began creating this guide was to help those that are in the middle of their debt demolition plan. When you are demolishing debt, you have no room to spend money on anything that is not 100% essential.

Also, there are many people that I coach who have big goals they want to achieve. For example, cash-flowing the adoption of a child can take a lot of resources. The best way to tackle those massive goals is to concentrate as much of your Inflow as you can. You will still save for retirement or college funds, for example, but all other Outgo needs to be focused on the task at hand!

But then I began to see how giving without spending a penny has helped those that don’t fall into these categories. You may just want to give incredibly special gifts. They just so happen to not cost anything. Really, these gifts are some of the most valuable and most appreciated gifts that one can give.

Don’t Give Out of Guilt

To begin, I want to address an issue that I see way too often: giving out of obligation.

When I help people out of debt, I teach them to not give gifts that will cost money at all. Sometimes I get pushback because “Mother’s Day is coming up” or “My son’s birthday is approaching” or “I can’t not give on Christmas”.

Many people feel guilty for not giving gifts to their loved ones, and sometimes to people they don’t even like, because of obligation. This is never a healthy way to give, even when it is in the budget. I do want you to give generously, but I also know you must give cheerfully.

You must each decide in your heart how much to give. And don’t give reluctantly or in response to pressure. “For God loves a person who gives cheerfully.” 2 Corinthians 9:7 NLT

Furthermore, by giving without spending now, you will be able to give far more later. I know that you can’t see it now. As a coach, I help people see down the road that day when you have no debt payments and you have to decide how much of you wealth to give away. It’s the most fun you can have with money.

So, if you find yourself still in debt, read this post and demolish it first before spending money and taking mom out on Mother’s Day. For this year, you can take some of the following suggestions and give something possibly even more valuable.

Giving without Spending often means Spending Time

In my opinion, there is nothing more valuable than love, and not too far behind is time. And they go hand in hand. When you love someone, it is so easy to give up your time for them.

Think of it this way. You could spend time at the department store searching for the perfect gift, standing in long lines, only to spend a bunch of money. Or you could spend time serving and loving someone and they appreciate it far greater.

Friends and Family

With friends and family, your time could be taken for granted. But even in that case, you can do something above and beyond that will blow them away.

For instance, if you go over your brother’s house and spend time with him and his family all the time, you may think that giving the gift of time would not mean much to him. But what if you told him you were coming over to do a deep spring cleaning of his house for his birthday. Or you washed his car without him knowing before he woke up to it sparkling. Maybe you cook for the whole family with their food, in their kitchen, but saving them time and spending yours.

I remember making paper coupons for my wife for our anniversary. You have probably seen something like this before. Each coupon can be “cashed in” at some future date. They are things like, “I will draw you a bubble bath and make your favorite tea”, or “I’ll cook dinner and do all the dishes”. They can be silly things, but they really mean a lot.

Charity Organizations


Time is of the utmost value when giving to a charity or non-profit organization. There are so many opportunities to give back to your community or a cause you believe in, by giving up a Saturday.

Who cares if it is not “tax-deductible”? If you are only giving to charities that allow you to write it off, you are not giving for the right reason.

Instead of your family giving gifts to each other this Christmas, you could try going to the local food bank or soup kitchen and serve the homeless. You will come back with more joy then you would have had by receiving plastic stuff. Your family will remember that holiday for many years to come.

Time is far more valuable than money.

Giving without Spending by using your Talent

I can not believe some of the amazing creations I have received from people. Everyone had such unique and special talents and many times they never think of it as something they can give. You may think your talent is not that big of a deal. But to someone else, it would be a cherished gift.

You musicians out there. Record a special song that you wrote just for them

Artists. Paint or draw a unique piece with their name in their favorite colors.

Crafters. Knitting, necklaces, bracelets, etc. (whatever your specialty), with symbols that represent their hobbies or work.

Writers can create poetry, stories, or write a letter. Your spouse or children would cherish a journal you have been writing for them over the last 12 weeks.

Truly Special Gifts

Whatever you do, do it to celebrate their character. Make something that represents their personality and is totally unique and specific to them. These gifts never let the receiver down because they see your love for them in it immediately.

The best gifts I have ever received are in this category. I realize the time it took to create the gift. The giver’s talent is displayed throughout it. And the love is overwhelmingly evident.

I’ve seen this used for charity as well. The most touching example was an elderly lady that had the gift of knitting. She made hats and scarves for every sailor that was deployed on the Navy vessel her daughter was on. There were symbols of their ship, dates, and so on. So special that they all kept them for many years to come. This was not totally free, but she had the materials donated to her, so she didn’t have to spend a penny.

You have time and talent

Don’t tell yourself that you don’t have the time to give. It is a case of opportunity cost. Yes, you must give up something in order to give. That is why it is called giving.

If you put your mind to it and do some planning, you can cut out the binge-watching of your favorite show to give some time to your youth group at church. You can sacrifice one football game to give your wife a surprise at-home date night. There is always time to serve mom and dad on their special days.

And please don’t lie to yourself and say you have no talents. As I said, I am always shocked at the talent that people possess. Many times, they don’t think of their talent as valuable or assumes it is not admirable.

Just think to yourself when do people say, “Wow you are so good at that?” or “How did you do that?” Those are clues to your untapped gifts.

Giving you time and talent is just one of the many ways you can Optimize Your Outgo. Read this post to explore other options: Achieve Your Financial Goals Faster

So, no matter if you are giving your Friday nights to the Salvation Army or you have a talent for transforming one man’s junk into another man’s treasured birthday gift, continue giving without spending a penny!

Do you have some giving ideas that don’t cost anything? Please share them in the comments below.

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