I listen to Dave Ramsey on the radio on my way home in the afternoons. For the most part, I think he’s got great information which he doles out in a gleefully brutal way. I listen because he’s smart. I itch to change the channel because he often uses his forum to be a jerk. ANYWAY… on to my point… I listen to Dave Ramsey and I’m struck by one thing that keeps coming up again and again. The “personal economy” of most families is not changing. The Economy is getting worse, but aside from injecting fear in most households, the vast majority of the country’s financial situation has not changed.
In our group of family and friends, this isn’t the case. We have friends who are out of work, and have been for a year. We have family members who are unable to find work too. Even within our own walls, the economic situation is grim. So, what do you do when you can’t lend a monetary hand to those you love? How can you help without spending cash you don’t have?
Here’s what I’ve been doing:
- Stocking up on everything I can get for free with coupons – Medicines, baby items, foods we don’t generally eat… etc. This has come in really handy many times when grocery budgets have been tight for my family members. My brother has been having back problems, so I had 3 bottles of Excedrin Back & Body that I shared with him.
- Office Tasks – We have a home office with computers, internet, fax, printer, and scanner. I’ve printed business cards for a friend who is hoping to get the word out about her pet bathing/grooming & general housekeeping business. I can’t help by giving her a bunch of referrals, but I can absolutely help her get the tools to market herself.
- Share money saving tips – As I learn tricks and tips to save money, economize, reuse things, and just plain get more use out of everything, I share what I’ve learned with those people in my life that I think will benefit from it. (I talk a LOT about what I learn from other finance bloggers… so keep those great articles coming!)
- Shut Up and Listen – Seriously, just listen. Being a good and supportive friend occasionally means just listening. Let your friend or sister or mom vent a little about how tough it is. Sometimes (often?) people know everything you’re getting ready to say. So, just listen and be supportive. It’s hard for me to not try to help all the time. I’m working on being a better listener and not trying to fix everything all the time. If you know me in the real world… just remind me to shut up and listen. I won’t be offended.
What do YOU do to help your friends and family that aren’t tied to money? Please leave your tips in the comments.