18 September 2008

5 Ways to be Generous in Tough Economic Times

A small vegetable garden in May outside of Aus...Image via WikipediaWith prices rising and the fear of deepening recession over our heads, its easy to justify a little selfishness. Its hard enough to look after our own families in these times of doubt, let alone trying to help anyone else, right?

Our communities have become so fragmented, and people are so busy with their individual concerns, that quite often they don't even know their neighbours, let alone know how they are coping in the current uncertain economic climate.

But for our Communities to come out of this better off, we all need to give a little - or even a lot. And I'm not talking money here. Peruse the list below for ideas on how you can give even when times are tough!

1. Got a Green Thumb?
If you already have a vegetable garden, consider growing extra to donate to the local foodbank or to families you know that are in need. You could donate your expertise to help start a community garden or teach your neighbours how to grow their own food. You could organise for everyone in your street to grow a different vegetable and share amongst yourselves.

Read more about growing your own vegetables in pots here. Find out about creating your own Urban Homestead here.

2. Be Kind
Be thoughtful, try not to judge. Nobody in financial trouble specifically chose that outcome. They probably made choices along the way that made it more likely, but I doubt they woke up one morning and decided they wanted to be a statistic in the next recession.

Many people are afraid at the moment. Afraid they may lose their jobs, their businesses, the things they have worked hard to accumulate. Bear this in mind during your dealings with others and be kind.

Read more about the importance of remembering to be kind here.
Check out Operation NICE's beautiful NICE Tip Cards here.

3. Are You Good with Money?
Personal Financial Management skills are sadly lacking for many people these days, and frugal living is only just coming back into fashion. If you have budgeting and frugal living down to a fine art, offer your services to others in your community. You could work with individuals, or offer classes in the evenings or weekends.

Got Skills?
Are there people in your community that need things done but can't afford to pay? If you've got the skills to help them out, then be generous with your time and offer your services for free. It could be anything from advocacy to yardwork, car repairs to home maintenance. You could even set up some sort of Time Bank or barter system.

Read more about Time Banking here.

5. Be a Good Neighbour
Support you neighbourhood. Shop locally wherever possible - it saves you money on petrol and it saves you time because you don't have to go as far. Shopping locally keeps money and jobs in your community (in comparison, when you shop at the supermarket about 80% of your spend leaves the community), and a thriving neighbourhood keeps your property values up!

Read more about building a strong neighbourhood here.

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