Part of kicking a credit habit and acclimatizing yourself to a cash lifestyle is embracing the ability to live simply. One great way to incorporate some of those values is to include volunteering in your life. Volunteer work and charity are great ways to teach kids about those tough intangibles around the value of money. The same can be accomplished by adults who are trying to make life changes to get rid of debt for good.
“The main objective of volunteering is obviously to help those who can use your support, either financially or with the donation of your valuable time. However, from a money and debt management point of view, there are lots of other benefits to volunteering, from teaching you how to manage an extra line item in your budget, to creating job opportunities, to learning about the simple pleasures in life, all helping you on the road to financial health,” says Jeff Schwartz, executive director, Consolidated Credit Counseling Services of Canada.
“Although volunteer work and/or donations are unpaid, you should apply the same approach that you would in managing your money. That means researching causes that are important to you, finding out how they might be mutually beneficial to you and strategizing your involvement through financial support or other activities,” says Schwartz.
Here are some points to consider about the value of volunteerism for you.
Time = money. Literally.
Often, debt is accumulated because of emergency expenses, unexpected life events or even as a result of addition or gambling. However, many of us overlook the simplest of contributors; the desire for instant gratification through shopping.
One of the basic tenets to living within your means is to understand the relationship of value, time and money. When debt problems are mounting, sometimes credit is seen as “free money”, which of course anyone with a debt problem will tell you is not the case at all.
Engaging in unpaid volunteer work is an excellent hands-on way to connect your time with the concept of money. If you are struggling with the concept, this may be a way of lending yourself a fresh perspective.
Maybe a part of your debt problem is because your income or growth possibilities are limited, either because of a lack of education or experience. Volunteering at an organization of your choosing can help you fill in those gaps.
Similarly, it can help you network to identify new job opportunities the chance to try out different roles or jobs that you might not otherwise have access to in paid work.
If you’d like to support your charity of choice financially, there are ways to accomplish that by being creative with your budget. One way of keeping your other finances on track is to set a specific amount to donate monthly or quarterly.
Not only will your donation help your cause, you may even be able to get a tax receipt for doing so, which could come in handy at tax time.
A word to the wise when choosing your cause: be very wary of fraud. Unfortunately there are a lot of “charities” out there with less than charitable motives, and function only to take advantage of the kindness of others.
Is mounting debt controlling your life? Are you seeking out some fresh ideas on how to get rid of it once and for all? We have resources to help you accomplish that. Call one of our trained credit counsellors at or visit our free online debt analysis.