Help without lending money
Young newlyweds want to start their marriage on the right track, but maybe money is already tight. As a loved one, you shouldn’t bail them out financially right away. This situation may be the only way they get the gravity of their plight and learn from it. Or maybe you have a friend who is having a tough time. You don’t want to watch anyone struggle, but at the same time, you want to help.
How have you helped friends or family without giving or lending money? Here are a few suggestions.
CREATE A BUDGET:
Encourage or help them to create a budget. Have them list all of their income and bills, and track all of their daily spending. They need a clear picture of what is going on with their money so they can cut expenses. If food is a high expense, find out the reason. Do they know how to cook? If not, show them how to cook a few simple meals. You can invite them over and feed them without giving or lending money. Or you can give them a few of your own tried-and-true recipes or an easy-to-use cookbook.
One reader, Carol, suggests: “For people who are relatively new to cooking, I suggest looking for the 3-ingredient, 4-ingredient, or 5-ingredient-type cookbooks. Recipes like that are a whole lot less intimidating than some of the recipes you’ll find in typical cookbooks. Once you get confident and comfortable with that, you can move on to more complicated recipes, although you may find that some of the simpler recipes actually taste better!”
Maybe their food expense is high because they don’t know how to stock their pantry by shopping sales or using coupons. Take them shopping and show them how.
GIVE THEM INFORMATION:
Sometimes the right book can be an eye opener. It could put them in the mindset to save money and live within their means. You can give them books or simply write down the titles and authors, and let them look for the books at the library. Share your knowledge and experience, too. Let them know about bakery outlets, Freecycle, Angel Food Ministries, thrift stores and local community help. Find out if they have anything they can sell to pay debt or to establish an emergency fund.
GIFT OF GARDENING:
If they have garden space, give them seeds, vegetable plants or fruit trees.
Offer your support through talking. Ask them their goals and about what is important to them. Sometimes people need to see past today and the impact their choices have on their future. Another reader, Jean from Canada, says: Communication is key. Set priorities. People need to determine what they value most in life.”
Do you work similar hours? Can you carpool? Maybe you can offer to drive them to run errands when you are doing your errands.
Maybe you want to give money because they’re in a more desperate situation. You can still create boundaries. Find out if they have skills you can use. Can you offer them work around your house in exchange? Maybe you need a room painted, yard work or help organizing. Let them “earn” money. Remember never to give what you can’t afford. Don’t put your own finances in jeopardy.
photo by playfullibrarian