Pay it Forward! (without paying anything)


December is a time of gift giving and going broke. Well it can seem like it. You know that saying: “Be kind to one another. Each of us carries a burden that others can’t see.” My mama has the at the bottom of her emails so every day while we email I see it.. Over & over.

Which is good. A constant reminder..

I was thinking for the month of December, every day, doing something nice for someone else. Whether it be paying the car behind you (which is a staple for the ‘pay it forward’ idea) or something else. Maybe you don’t have the money to literally “pay it forward” and that’s ok.

I was watching Rachel Ray a few weeks ago and she was saying several years ago when she was starting out as an adult she can remember going to the grocery store and she had chicken and vegetables. She wasn’t sure if she had enough money for both so in her head she was trying to do the math at the checkout.

How many people do you think you come into contact per day battling that exact same problem or something similar?

Again, not everyone has the financial stability to literally ‘pay’ it forward but we can certainly put a smile on someone’s face for free. It doesn’t have to cost anything. With all of the hate in the world – how nice would it be to give someone some hope.

Here are some ideas wallet friendly or even FREE to help spread the Christmas cheer..or even a smile.

  • Volunteer – I remember as a kid before we had our Thanksgiving, my mom would take me and my brother to the homeless shelter or the Durham Rescue Mission and we would serve those less fortunate without a family or a home to have a meal in.
  • Donate toys to a toy drive – A couple of years ago I had a Christmas party at my house and when everyone started asking what I needed them to bring – wine, beer, food etc.. I said just bring an unwrapped toy for a kid and I took the toys to the Salvation Army in Tampa.
  • Pay it forward (literally) – buy the strangers coffee behind you.
  • Let someone checkout in front of you at the grocery store – it costs nothing but a few extra minutes of your time.
  • Offer your parking space to someone in the parking lot – Now this one is hard to fathom… but think about the joy you would being to someone if you wave them the go ahead to get the spot instead of the traditional middle finger they usually would probably get…
  • Donate blood – One pint of blood can save up to three lives.
  • Donate your clothes – clean out your closet and anything you haven’t worn in the past year – donate to a local family/charity.
  • Hold the door – why not? It’s free and easy. And very underestimated these days..
  • Smile at a stranger – you never know how much they needed to see that.
  • Leave a note – Post inspirational sticky notes around your neighborhood, office, school, or any other area where a stranger will see them. Or maybe even on a car telling someone how great they parked…
  • Compliment – Set an alarm on your phone to go off at three different times during the day. In those moments, do something kind for someone else.
  • Pet’s need a little love too – Purchase extra dog or cat food and bring it to an animal shelter.
  • Heroes – Send a ‘Thank you’ card or note to the officers at your local police or fire station. Especially with all of the negative attention they’ve gotten in the media lately and they still put their life on the line, it would be nice to tell them we appreciate them.
  • Postal Love – Leave something in your mailbox for the mail carrier. Maybe a simple note telling them how much you appreciate them. Maybe a gift card for a 3pm coffee after a long shift.

Feel free to share your ways of paying it forward.