How to Be Generous Without Money (Hint: It's Easy)


In talking with thousands of people each month, whether in the workplace, churches, on  our website or on social media, we’ve heard this time and time again:

Money is tight right now - I can’t be generous!” 

“We are living paycheck to paycheck- there’s just no way to include giving in our budget.”

“I want to give, I just don’t know how to do it when I’m short on cash myself.”


Let me be the first to say….I hear you!

I understand a tight budget.

 And YES, generosity absolutely includes giving of our money.  

The belief we have about money (whether we are owners vs. stewards) is deeply intertwined with the state of our heart. Those beliefs certainly influence how generous you are with your finances.

Generosity is about more than money.  

It’s true -  there are realties when it comes to budgets and checking accounts, but you can create your own life of generosity even when finances feel tight.  

So, let’s think about generosity in a new way!

Here are 6 ways to be generous without money:

1. Be generous with your thoughts.

This is a constant internal battle.

·      Do you think about what you think about?

·      Are you paying attention to where your brain goes in good times and in bad?

·      Are you generous in your thoughts towards others? Yourself?

Try This:

Next time you begin to frustrated with a person or situation in your life, try giving them the benefit of the doubt. What a unique way to be generous, that will allow you to believe the best about another person, and probably save you from potential heartache!

2. Be generous with your words.

 Your words really matter.

The  words you say deeply affect those around you and the way you view the world. Maybe you find that you are able to steer clear of gossip and putting others down, but consider: When was the last time you were generous with your words? Building someone up, complimenting them? 

Try This:  

  • Write a handwritten note to share your thoughts or thanks to someone you care about. What an impactful way to be generous with your words- and what a treasure that note will be to your loved one in the future.  


3. Be generous with your time.

Sometimes time is harder to give than money. Your time is precious and you are likely pulled in many directions.

  • What are you giving your time to?

  • Are you setting aside time to be generous in your community or with others who may need you?

It may be as simple as volunteering in a ministry or cause in your community once a month, but surely, you have time for that!

Try This:

  • Carve out 30 minutes this week to find a person or a local cause that you could volunteer your time at. Some employers even promote taking time to volunteer during your work week.

4. Be generous with your attention.  

Being generous with our attention is becoming more and more difficult in this constantly connected world. As connected as our phones allow us to be, they are also the biggest distraction and attention-stealer in our lives. Sometimes the people we care about most are the ones who pay the most for this.

Try This:

  • Next time you are spending time with someone, put your phone away and don’t check it. Set up no-phone-zones (like at family dinners, during bedtime routines, etc.) so that the people you are with feel seen, heard and loved by you. What a way to give.  

5. Be generous with your stuff.

Even though we feel like we don’t have extra cash to give away, it’s easy to forget that you probably have a lot of things in your life that you could easily share.

  • Do you have a posture of willingness to share the many blessings you have, or are you worried they may never be returned (or returned in a lesser condition)?

Try This:

  • Need an idea of something creative to share? The I Like Giving community has no shortage of amazing and inspiring stories that will definitely get the wheels in your head spinning.

 6. Be generous with your influence.

You may have never considered how you can be generous with your influence.

Whether that’s connecting a friend for a job opportunity or introducing your friends to one another because you know they would benefit from being friends, too! There are so many ways to share influence that will only cost you the time it takes to make a connection! 

Try This:

  • Take a moment to examine a few people you know that could benefit from the generosity of your influence. Ask if they’d like you to connect them with someone you know that could meet a need in their life. You’ll be surprised at how many people would be grateful to you!

Now it’s your turn!

Are there other ways that you give that don’t involve money? We hope you are already finding how to be generous without money! Please let us know!


About the author:

Kierstin is a member of the I Like Giving team, wife, and mom of two toddler boys. She is doing her best to live a generous life from West Michigan.

Kierstin Toth1 Comment