We have a phrase we have adopted in our family this past year. Spend less. Give more. I wanted to give you 12 ways to cut spending so you can be more generous. We all have those small moments throughout our shopping experiences where we can make a decision of how we are going to spend our money. Today I am teaming up with Unilever Project Sunlight Share a Meal, to shed a little light on childhood hunger in America. When we make small choices to spend less and give more, we have more in our pockets so that we can give generously. I want to show you 12 ways you can cut spending so that generosity is a key component of your family life. I have put together 12 ways to cut spending so you can be more generous.
The Hunger Issue in America
Did you know that 1 out of 5 children in America is unaware of where their next meal is coming from? We have 16 million children struggling with hunger in the United States. 16,000,000 is the entire population of Los Angeles, New York City, Philadelphia and Chicago combined. The issue is real. Sometimes we don’t see it or understand it, but this issue is so large that it touches your children’s friends and classmates. It touches your neighbors. It may touch your own family. Unilever Project Sunlight is hoping to rally the people across the country to share a meal and help turn the tables on child hunger in America. Please visit Project Sunlight to learn more about how you can get involved. I also want to encourage you to watch the this childhood hunger documentary on YouTube to learn more.
Ways to Share a Meal in your Community
Sharing a meal in your community can be involved or it can be simple. Here are 6 ways you can contribute food to your neighbors so that we can tackle the issue of childhood hunger together.
- Share a Meal Potluck – Host neighboring families for a dinner and invite a family in need.
- Get Your Community Involved – Partner with a local community organization to organize a larger community potluck in your area.
- Local Food Drives – Every time you go to a store, plan on buying a few extra things to donate to your local food bank. Organize your own food bank or utilize the Feeding America online Food Bank Locator tool so you can get in touch with, donate and/or volunteer locally.
- Host a Virtual Food Drive – There is a personal fundraiser tool at Feeding America which helps raise funds for feeding children in need.
- Create your Own Way to Share – Get creative. Come up with unique ways to serve the families in your own area. This might include getting involved more closely with family in need and inviting them into your home to sit at your table with you. It might involve a door to door can drive. Your kids might want to get involved to help in a unique way. It might mean delivering a freezer meal or warm meal to the door of a family in need.
- Build Awareness – Share this post. Share links and the YouTube video. I am sure so many are unaware of the stark number facing children in our own country.
12 Simple Ways to Spend Less so You can Give More
It’s easy to fall into the trap of buying things just because we can. It might be little stuff, but the little stuff adds up. What if we took that money that we think about spending elsewhere and work it into our giving. If this issue of childhood hunger has touched your heart, please look more into how you can contribute to this issue.
- Cut Back on Bills – When the recession hit, we took a big hit. My husband is commission based so income isn’t guaranteed. We started to be in the red each month, and we slowly watched our saving dwindle. We are glad we do a David Ramsey emergency fund because that is what got us through those times, but another way we got through it was to really re-examine our bills. Do we really need that fancy cable package? Could we cut back on a more reasonable insurance policy? Could we be more energy efficient? That un-used gym membership could be canceled. We found a number of ways to cut back in our monthly spending just by looking a bills.
- Skip the Coffee Shop – Those fancy coffees are expensive. If you have Starbucks habit of one a day, you could save over $1600.00 annually on coffee alone. Think of all the food that could buy a family in need.
- Skip the Drive-Thru – So many times I want to run through the drive-thru for convenience. I need to tell myself, “Spend less. Give more.” When the kids ask, I can use that simple phrase that we have been instilling them. They’re beginning to use that phrase with me too.
- Pay Attention to Coupons, Prices and Deals – I have to admit that this is a harder area for me, but I also know it is a great way to cut spending. I do compare prices in the grocery store and know which stores are generally more expensive, so that’s a good start.
- Don’t buy things you Don’t Need Just Because It’s a Great Deal – I think we all fall into the trap of buying things just because it’s a good deal. I didn’t come to Target to buy cute cups, but they were 50% off. Stick to the list. Yes, if it’s something you will need down the road, and it’s on sale, now is the time to buy it. However, if you’re buying something that you don’t need just because it’s on sale, skip it.
- Evaluate your Cart – You’ve just finished your run at your local store. Look at the cart. What did you just grab that you didn’t need? Start to consider why you are spending. Does it fulfill a need? Are you worrying too much about external appearances? Are we filling our homes with too much stuff? Try and eliminate the excess.
- Do it Yourself – Are there things you hire out for convenience – yard work, house work, child care, etc? I do think there is a time and a place for that, and I also believe you are helping feed the family you are employing. That said, it might be a good time to evaluate what you can do yourself.
- Re-Consider Christmas Spending – The holidays are coming up, and it’s a huge time for overspending. We have significantly cut back in Christmas spending, and I want to cut back more. How much more stuff to my kids really need? Consider giving the gift of time rather than things. Evaluate how you could do spending different with extended family. For example, with our children’s cousins we have done a book, slipper or PJ exchange rather than spending a lot on toys. They have also given up their exchange to make homeless packs.
- Re-Evaluate Your Shopping Locations – I like Nordstrom. I do. However, you will rarely find me there. Nordstrom Rack is a much better alternative. Consider how much you can save by shopping at different types of stores and looking at different kind of brands. You’re looking at huge savings just be finding an alternative to name brands.
- Make a Budget…and Stick to It – Maybe you want to be a cash envelope type of family. Stick your monthly grocery budget in an envelope. When the money is gone. It is gone. Sticking to a budget can greatly reduce your monthly spending and increase your giving.
- Pack Lunches – People out in the work force spend so much money on eating out. Brown bag it, Baby!
- Re-Consider Online Spending – I used to receive updates from companies like Living Social and Groupon, but I found myself spending money I wouldn’t usually spend. Re-consider getting deals sent straight to your inbox that will tempt you to spend money.
I hope you are inspired to help your family have a desire to spend less and give more. The need is great. It can be completely overwhelming. However, the actions that you take can help families in need. We are called to consider the needs of others. We are a selfish people, and it can be super hard. I am glad I get to partner with companies like Unilver to help shed light on some of the hunger issues facing our country.
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Unilever. The opinions and text are all mine.