If you are searching for random acts of kindness that don’t cost money or kindness ideas that cost very little, this list of ideas is what you need!
Random Acts of Kindness Ideas
Whether it is the holiday season or any other time of the year, a random act of kindness is helpful for everyone. Other people benefit from your gesture and you get to have the warm fuzzies from the act itself. Which is why it is important to find random acts of kindness that don’t cost money – or cost very little.
Whether you do good things spontaneously or you want to declare one day per week or month “random acts of kindness day” – which is a great way to get your whole family involved! – small acts of kindness here and there is the best way to get into the habit of doing good deeds.
The good news – and what you have to try to remember – is that no one is watching your wallet to see how much money you are giving. You can reach inside your heart to find different types of kind acts.
Being generous doesn’t necessarily take a lot of money or even a lot of thought and it will boost both your mood and mental health as well as someone else’s. Let this list of random acts of kindness get you started helping others while not breaking your budget.
Acts of Kindness That Don’t Cost Money
1. Invite a friend over for hot chocolate – Everyone loves a few moments away from the world with a good friend, so pencil in an hour and chat. Not a fan of hot chocolate? You can serve a cup of coffee, tea, Diet Coke – whatever you think your friend will enjoy most. It’s not about the beverage, it is about the gesture.
2. Write a letter to your neighbor – Tell them what a pleasure it has been to have them reside near you this year. Let them know how cute their pet is, how gorgeous their flowers are, or any other kind words that might be pertinent to a positive year that you had together.
3. Offer up your yard work or shoveling skills to a friend, neighbor, or total stranger – Everyone appreciates a little help around the house. Whether you offer to rake leaves or shovel snow, they’ll remember the gesture forever. Instead of making extra money, offer your services pro bono! It’s a great way to make a new friend.
4. Ask an elderly person if they need help – Be gentle about how you ask this (you don’t want to offend by implying someone is less than capable!), but if you notice someone struggling to carry groceries or take out the garbage, offer to be of service.
5. Tell your family members why you are thankful for them – Write some thank you notes to your family letting them know what you are thankful for and how much they mean to you. This is worth more than anything you could buy.
6. Put someone else before yourself – Did you want the last piece of cake? Give it to someone else. The little things that we do are often the big things.
7. Wash someone’s dishes for them – If you go to a family party or friend’s house for the holidays or a party, offer to do the dishes while someone else clears the table. You’ll be providing such a load off of the host and helping them have extra time to spend with their guests.
8. Offer your time to a charity or shelter – There are always organizations looking for help, so what better way to give back than to make yourself available? Do an online search in your area to see who might need you. Look for a local homeless shelter, animal shelter, food bank, or even local senior centers.
9. Say something nice to someone today – Whether it be the cashier who has a nice haircut or another parent at the park who has a cute shirt on, giving a compliment can make a huge difference to their day.
Make sure to do this for people with and without physical challenges! Someone like me who is living with Vitiligo appreciates a nice word just as much as the bodybuilder with the muscles.
10. Write compliments on Post-It notes and hand them out – Carry these positive notes with you and give them to strangers. “You are beautiful!” “Have a great day!” Any positive message that will make someone smile is perfect. These nice sticky notes could easily brighten someone’s day.
Want to continue the trend? Post something nice on social media for a friend or loved one.
11. Donate a sick day to a person at work – Not all companies will allow this, but some will. If you have a bunch of extra sick days, consider donating one to a coworker who is having a hard time. When there have been deaths or serious illnesses in the family, people can run through their sick days faster than they would have otherwise intended.
12. Be there for someone during tough times – Just lending an ear or a shoulder can mean the world to someone who needs to be heard. Offering that time can mean an awful lot and it doesn’t have to cost you anything.
13. Offer to drive an elderly person to the store – Many older people aren’t comfortable driving past a certain age, but they have to get to appointments and the grocery store (where you should consider using two shopping carts so that you can drive the heavy one). Make yourself available to be of service to an elderly neighbor in this way.
14. Offer to help someone with their kids – Parents need a break sometimes. Offer to babysit for a friend’s child one night or – if you also have kids – offer a babysitting swap. You watch all of the kids one night and the next time they watch all of the kids.
15. Smile. A lot. – A smile can brighten someone’s day! You never know what someone is going through and a friendly face can really help change the mood of their day.
16. Donate blood to a blood bank – Do a quick Google search in your area to see where you can donate blood. Blood banks are always looking and are a free and easy way to truly help someone else!
17. Do something – as a family – to help another family – This can be anything from asking the kids to bake cookies for them to offering hand-me-downs of clothing, toys, or other gently-used items. See what you can come up with!
18. Invite another family or couple over for popcorn and a movie – Invite another family or family member over and have a movie night as a group. Make some of my Easy S’mores Popcorn to make it even more delicious! Not into movies? Play some board games!
19. Spread good cheer – A good mood goes a long way! Wish everyone that you see good things or a happy holiday, depending on the time of year. A simple smile is one of the easiest things to give someone. Did you have a great experience somewhere recently? Go online and leave them a positive review!
20. Give out your knowledge, if it’s welcome – Do you know someone who is struggling in school or wants to learn a trade? Spend a few hours with them and see what knowledge you can impart.
21. Ask someone how you can help them – We can’t always know what someone needs, but we can ask! Sometimes just asking is the key to making someone feel better.
Whether the answer is walking a neighbor’s dog while they’re at the hospital, returning library books, or volunteering at a community garden, you won’t know what someone needs until you ask.
22. Donate to a drive – Many stores and schools have regular drives, whether they be gently used old clothes, canned food, or gently used toys. See what you have around the house and contribute to a local school or community drive.
23. Be the best person you can be! – It doesn’t take much to think of something kind to do for another person. Say “please” and “thank you,” open a door for the person behind you, hold the elevator for someone approaching – there are lots of little things. Do what you can do.
Random Acts of Giving That Cost A Bit
24. Pass out water to city employees – You may not think of it, but the city employees who have been on the job all day (in the cold or heat) get very thirsty.
Bring a case of bottled water to a construction site or a group of police officers and wish them a good day or leave a cold bottle for your mail carrier or FedEx driver on a hot day.
25. Pay for someone’s meal in the restaurant drive-thru – Have a few extra dollars to spare? Give someone a surprise and pay for their meal. Let the cashier know that you’re taking care of the order of the car behind you as well as your own.
26. Give a person $10 for gas – Buy a $10 gift card for gas at your local station and hand it off to the first person who talks about struggling to find gas money or what a tough year it’s been.
27. Help a college student with something they need – College students don’t always know what they need until they need it.
Pick up a 4-pack of toilet paper, some ramen noodles, and some body wash at the Dollar Store and gift it to someone you know. If they don’t need stuff, offer to talk to them about easy college jobs to work, easy college meals to make, or money saving tips!
28. Put together a care package for someone – It doesn’t have to be a college student that you’re helping. Head to the Dollar Store and purchase a small bin or shower carry-all to fill with items at the store. With only $5, you can get a nice handful of personal care items, makeup, food, or household items.
29. Tip your server or delivery driver an extra $5 – Servers work hard at their job. They are given absolutely zero tips more often than you would like to believe (I speak from experience here!), so giving them a big tip? That is going to make their day. Keep this in mind for when you are at a coffee shop or picking up take-out from a restaurant as well.
30. Instead of eating out, pay for someone else’s meal – This is a sacrifice, but one you can make. If you have leftovers at home, go to your local diner and pay for someone else’s meal while they are eating. Make it someone you recognize or someone you don’t. Your choice.
If that is too much of an expense, put some money into a vending machine so that the next person’s treat is on you.
31. Pay for someone’s parking – Do you have a bunch of quarters laying around? Walk down a street of parking meters and increase the time allotted on someone’s parking – or help take care of someone’s expired parking meter.
If that person doesn’t use it all, the next person will benefit. If your area doesn’t take quarters, use the app on your phone and gift time randomly to people in the parking lot or on the street.
32. Put dollar bills in envelopes with nice messages, and hand them out to the homeless – We can’t give money to every homeless person that we see (unfortunately), but we can give something. This will make someone smile and help a little bit financially.
This list of simple acts of kindness ideas is just a place to start. If you have a great idea for helping someone, do it! There are so many easy ways to lend a helping hand and one small thing can make a big difference.
It is often the simple things that will bring a smile to someone’s face and turn a bad day into a lighter one. Not only are you making their day better, but the feeling of helping someone else will fill your soul as well. It doesn’t have to cost a thing to help someone else!
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