This site originally launched 7 years ago, as FeedIndy and was a way to help my friends, family & church give more to the food pantries in need. The concept was simple—pickup a few good deals each week and pass them onto those who need them.
As the site grew, so did my vision. I wanted to help people afford all kinds of things they didn’t think they could—including more ways to be charitable, even on a budget.
The weekly Giving Inexpensively series was born out of that desire, but lately, my heart just hasn’t been in it. Oh, I still fill bags to dropoff each month. I still keep a going donation bin a we declutter the house. And, I still donate my time to the school, church and Scouting.
But, it’s all become a little rote. The giving sacrifice isn’t there anymore. I’ve just been doing only what I’ve always done, giving only the bare minimum. When that hit me, I decided I needed to change it. Yet, I still didn’t give as freely as I should. And, I still passed up simple opportunities to make a difference.
Then, I remembered 29 Gifts—a book & worldwide movement created by Cami Walker. When my friend Angie blogged daily about her experience with the concept, after reading 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, I was intrigued & inspired. Yet, I did nothing about it. So, earlier this month, I picked the book up from the library.
It was a fascinating (and easy) read, and I was once again inspired! I started last Thursday, and while I don’t know that I’ve noticed any of the instant karma others have reported, I am feeling more peaceful overall. The house has been calmer, the girls seem to be getting along slightly better and things are running pretty smoothly right now. I am just more centered, and I think our home is starting to reflect that already.
I decided to track my journey, and I’ll be blogging my giving each week. This will temporarily replace Giving Inexpensively, letting Alicia have a little more time for Mommy. (A little extra gift to her this month!) I will be including my reflections on the week, my daily “meditation” to go with each gift and details about what I am giving.
Day 1: Today I give in gratitude.
I donated to Jacob’s MS Bike Tour. My Personal Finance Journey is one of the blogs in the Yakezie network with me. In addition to support & tips, we frequently share advertiser contacts. Last week Jacob helped negotiate a new ad contract for me, and the payment arrived on the first day of my 29 Gifts journey. Since I knew that he was trying to raise funds for his ride, I used a bit of my cash to make a donation to his team.
Day 2: Today I give in friendship.
Along the same theme, a childhood friend of mine was raising money for an MDA walk. When I saw her final request for donations, I wanted to contribute. This is not the sort of thing I do often—you’ll notice I said “final” request as I’d ignored all the others—but another check had arrived in my mailbox that day, and I wanted my gift to help a lifelong friend. Literally. We’ve been together since infancy!
Day 3: Today I give with purpose.
On Saturday, I hit the gym for a Zumba class with MFJ. We went out for lunch afterwards, and the opportunity for the day’s gift was presented when I saw the tip jar at When Eddie Met Salad. I always tip well at restaurants—both because it’s expected and because they do work hard to keep us hydrated. However, I rarely (if ever) tip for counter service. When I saw the jar, I decided to offer a little something to the guy who was so helpful with my first order & allergy substitutions.
Day 4: Today I give with abundance.
This past weekend, my girls had scheduled cookie booths on Saturday & Sunday. At our final booth, another cookie mom stopped by to see if I had any extra Thin Mints or Trefoils. The entire council was out of mints, but we hadn’t sold a single Trefoil all day. Yet, I didn’t need anything she had extras of. My instinct was to tell her sorry & wish her luck with her next stop. Instead, I swapped a case of cookies, out of my abundance of shortbread. I still have the cookies she gave me to get rid of, but I hope it helped her troop a little bit.
Day 5: Today I give with inspiration.
Monday’s gift was primarily time. My friend’s little girl needed letters cutout for a school project on blizzards, and I have a Cricut. I was originally going to use the blue construction paper they gave me, but found myself inspired to do more in the scrapbook aisle at Target, on an unrelated errand. When I saw the shiny, glittery blue paper, I just had to have it! I cutout the letters, included the leftovers in case she wanted to mat any of her other work and delivered them to her that night. That smile made it so worthwhile!
Day 6: Today I give with love.
A few weeks ago, I picked up a Miss You card for a friend who is just too far away. It sat here, bringing her no joy, in its original bag. Last night, I dug it out, signed it and got it mailed. I wish I could see her smile when it arrives!
Day 7: Today I give with hope.
I had to be very intentional about this one. I started a loaf of gluten free bread in the bread maker on Tuesday night. On Wednesday morning, I woke up late (as usual) and groggy. I did not want to go downstairs, slice bread and pack lunches. I wanted to throw some of the “lunch emergency” supplies in a bag and call it done.
But, it is pizza day and my girls are always so disappointed not to participate due to their food allergies. So, I lovingly made 3 gluten free sandwiches and even indulged a request for ranch dip to go with their carrots. I hope it provides a bit of a lift to their usual lunch, and I hope it reminds them that we don’t have to do without everything!
There was a wide range of gifts just in my first week—from digging into my checking account to a little extra something with the lunches I pack daily. It has already been an eye opening experience, and a fun way to renew a giving spirit. Will you consider giving daily along with me?
Photo Credit: Hamed Saber