Tips For Helping Someone Else Financially
It can be really tough – watching those around you struggle financially. In this age of natural and unnatural disasters, it is an issue that will likely exist indefinitely. In addition to this, most of us have people in our lives who we love, but maybe don’t make the best financial decisions. While most of us can absolutely relate to having the desire to help someone who is in need, we don’t always have the funds to be able to help in that way. That said, there are lots of good ways for helping others without going broke yourself. Here are some tips for helping someone else financially even when you’re on a tight budget.
Provide the Manual Labor – If your friends or family have just been through a natural disaster, pitch in with the cleanup. Providing your time is often more of a contribution than money, so do what you can to volunteer to help on your days off from work or after school. Helping to go through water-damaged items or taking water-logged or smoke scented loads of laundry home with you to wash will be a huge load off of your loved ones.
Give Them Resources – You don’t have to be the one to dispense the money when someone is struggling. Instead, help them hunt down resources in order to get help somewhere else. Whether it is links/phone numbers to a food pantry, a job, counseling, or financial assistance, give them information to help themselves. It’s a great place to start.
Help Them Apply for Programs – Just because you don’t have money to give doesn’t mean you can’t give your time. Offer to help them fill out paperwork to apply for financial programs. If you can’t fill them out directly, offer to watch their children and/or pets so that they can have an afternoon to fill them out themselves.
Donate Plasma with Them – You can get paid around $150 per month donating plasma (this may be a bit more or less depending on both area and current industry plasma needs). This is a nice chunk of change when you’re struggling! Offer to do it with the person, so they aren’t alone, and you both make money with your generosity. You can do a Google search for where to donate plasma in your area to find the most convenient locations to you.
Pay Bills Directly – It is a good idea never to give someone cash, because you don’t know what it will be used for. Many times, a bad financial situation occurs because the person wasn’t wise with their money. If you’d like to help them financially, pay their bills directly, put gas in their car (don’t buy them a gas card – these often get cashed), or buy what they need. This allows you to protect yourself by knowing exactly where your money is going, while still helping out here and there.
Help Them Make a Budget – The key to financial success is making a budget and sticking to it. One of the many reasons people struggle financially is because they lack the skills to save, plan, and be patient. Teach them how to budget their money so they are successful. You can read more about budget mistakes to avoid to help set you both up for success. You may also want to help them find out their credit score (free for all) so that they can track their hard work.
Pay Them for Work – Do you have housework that needs to be done? Does your yard need to be mowed or does your storage shed need repainting? Instead of paying contractors to do the work, pay someone in financial distress. This helps build work ethic, but it also gives you the chance to help them financially. If you plan to do this, be sure to write out a small contract. You don’t want to ruin a friendship over this kind of thing! If the job is worth $200 to you, be sure to agree on the price in writing so that no one is unsure.
Combine Plans – If you trust the person you are helping, you could combine family plans such as cell phone bills to get a better deal. Many cell companies offer better deals for two households with multiple lines than 1 person. Set them up with a payment plan to you. A word of caution – be sure that this is someone you can really, truly trust. If your friend stops paying, this could affect your plan and your credit as well as your friendship.
Just Say No – Sometimes tough love is actually what will help a person most. The fact that they always get bailed out of a financial situation (if you see a pattern) is only enabling them. When it comes down to it, saying no may be the only way you can help the person. If you need a little emotional backup, my series on empowerment will hopefully help!
Ask for Donations – In some situations there is a legitimate need where a person has fallen in hard times without being at fault. Between the hurricanes and forest fires, most of us know someone in a situation just like this. In addition, if a loved one dies, a child gets sick, or a company closes their doors, you may feel your heart being torn even more. Instead of depleting what little resources you have, ask for donations to help. If many people offer $5, it goes a lot further than a one-time contribution from you. Consider anything from a GoFundMe page to a bowling party fundraiser!
Be There – Whether someone has just been through a natural disaster or a personal one, what they often need more than anything is a shoulder to lean on. Offer to have them over for breakfast, come by for a chat or just be available by text whenever they need. Not everyone wants to talk about their financial issues on a regular basis, but knowing that you are there if they need you can be gesture enough.
Helping someone financially doesn’t have to drain you financially. The bottom line is that you care, not that you have money to solve any problems. Show your love and support without putting your own family at risk – there really are ways!