Being charitable is a great way to please Allah(swt). You want to give for the sake of Allah(swt) specially especially when Al Kareem is so generous to us all the time.
When life is going well you can donate money to your favorite organizations as sadaqa but what do you do when you are barely scraping by? Here are a few ways to give when you’re tight on money-
Volunteer your time-
You can volunteer your time to be charitable while living on a shoestring. You can volunteer in your local soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, food bank, library, and other non-profit organizations. These organizations always welcome and appreciate extra help. And don’t forget your local masajids and Islamic organizations.
Teach a skill-
You can teach a skill that you have mastered mashaAllah. Charitable organizations can always use assistance in professional services, from legal work to editing emails. We all have some kind of skill that a non-profit organization could benefit from.
You can also teach a skill that you learned through practice and experience, like sewing a garment, or making an ethnic dish like biryani, kibbeh or shish kebab- offer a cooking/sewing/baking class at your home for a small group of newly wed sister. I’m sure you will get a lot of prayers from their husbands as well ;).
Teach a language-
You can volunteer to help others to learn a language that you speak with fluency. Some libraries offer ESL programs for free and they need volunteers to teach others.
Give with your presence-
You can give a great deal by showing support for other people. You can show up at an event that’s important for someone. Your presence means you care for them and you give them a gift of “feeling loved” just with your presence. Join others for a cause that resonates with you. Go to vigils or rallies to show that you care for them.
Gift of listening-
We all want to talk to someone when we are faced with challenges in our lives. You can lend a listening ear when someone is struggling and ease his pain. You don’t have to be a professional counselor or say something wise to make him feel better.
Give with your words-
Are you good at comforting? How about giving tips on cooking or baking? You can give so much with your words subhanAllah! Just think what you’re really good at and you will find so many ways to give insha Allah. We are always in need of a good listener or a shoulder to cry on in difficult times.
Teach tajweed lessons-
What can be a better gift than the gift of giving someone the skill of reading Quran correctly? You can offer these classes at a local masjid or open your home to offer classes. This will be a sadaqa jariya for you insha Allah.
Gifts from your closet-
You can always find something in your closet that doesn’t fit you or appeal to you anymore. These items can always benefit someone else like a shelter or an organisation that collects sends clothes to help the needy. Make sure they are laundered clean and are in great shape so they can be enjoyed by others.
Make a meal-
You can make a meal and take it to others or have someone over and share a meal. It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant: a simple meal served with love brings so much joy alhamdulillah. Invite your neighbors for tea or bring an ethnic dish to a friend who is struggling.
Do you love to do arts and crafts? You can send handmade cards to friends to encourage, congratulate or sympathize. If you are a deft knitter you can whip up hats for newborn babies or tiny sweaters for penguins for Knits for Nature programs. Do you love to bake? You can do a bake sales to support a cause.
Random acts of kindness-
I love random acts of kindness. I love to do them and receive them all the time alhamdulillah, from kind comments to unexpected gifts.The sky is the limit when it comes to doing random acts of kindness, from smiling a stranger to doing something super special for someone- just so you can please Allah(swt).
Recently I went to a specialty chocolate store and an associate was very helpful. I asked her which chocolates were her favorite and bought her one of her favorite chocolates along with the ones that I purchased for my kids. She was so surprised and happy.
All we can do is to give for the sake of Allah(swt) and no gift is too small to earn His pleasure insha Allah. Try these things to be charitable when you’re on a budget and can’t spare much. May Allah reward your efforts, big and small.