Have you ever volunteered for anything? I have a few times, but mostly only because I was required to before graduating high school and college. I was a timer at club swim meets, I organized runners by heat before their respective races at track meets, I sold concessions at various sporting events to raise money for booster clubs and I even served meals at a soup kitchen over the holidays with my family. Giving back is a great feeling, especially when you see how much your actions affect those in need. But did you know that although you don’t get paid as a volunteer, it can help save you money?
It’s hard to believe, but it’s actually simple. One reason volunteering saves you some cash is because if you have spare time, you might go shopping, see a movie, go out to eat, etc. which all cost money. Volunteering offers you great opportunities to spend that free time learning about and giving back to your community. There is most certainly a charity that fits your needs and most non-profit organizations welcome volunteers with open arms – there are always ways to lend a hand. Did you also know that in some cases you can claim your charitable time spent on your taxes? You may be able to even make money through tax refunds, or just pay a little less at the end of the tax year. This really is the ideal win-win situation. If you’re like me, you’ll feel great after you volunteer your time and you won’t waste money shopping or buying things you might not need. Plus, you cannot argue with a tax break, right?
Depending on where you volunteer, you may be able to pick up insider tips that could help you save money. If you volunteer at a hospital, the full-time staff of nurses, doctors and receptionists may be able to teach you valuable information about healthcare and insurance. Could you be paying too much or too little? Do you know the benefits you are getting on your current healthcare plan? Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask questions that may increase your knowledge in certain areas that can help you save money.
Not only can volunteering save you money, but it might actually be able to help you make money in the future. Are you interested in the non-profit sector of occupations? Do you have a passion for helping others and dream of turning that passion into a career? The first thing to do is find an organization you are extremely passionate about and start volunteering. It’s a great way to get a foot in the door, meet those that already work there, develop relationships and even get an early lead on upcoming openings. You will be able to demonstrate your skills and prove to the staff that you are a qualified candidate for the position you want. It might take time to establish your credibility, but when you finally land that job you will have turned your volunteer experience into a paying career.
Whether you’re looking to save money or just give back to your community, volunteering is a great way to go about both. Your time spent at an organization may even give back to you by helping you learn about an industry or possible career opportunity.