When we volunteer, the thing that often comes to mind is that we give our time to do good to others without expecting anything in return. What we often don’t know is that sharing our time and effort with those in need is also beneficial for us. The benefit goes both ways. The receiver may get something tangible but for the giver, the worth goes far deeper. Volunteering gives you a change in perspective, allowing you to appreciate what you have more deeply, even to the point of making the whole activity financially beneficial.
If you don’t believe this, consider the following things:
1. You get to realize that spending your time with your children is more important than showering them with material gifts.
After volunteering your time to coach the neighborhood’s soccer or baseball team where your son is a part of, you get to understand that your children value your presence more than what you can give them. If you don’t have to constantly make up for missing their game by buying them the latest version of an electronic game or gadget then you get to save money.
2. You get to value the time you spend reading and studying with your children than giving them material incentives to study on their own.
Remember how your kids looked forward to hearing stories from you before they went to bed? Well, volunteering at an orphanage where the children can barely read makes you realize that it is equally important to share your time and knowledge to your kids instead of showing your support to their studies by giving them a reward in exchange for a high score. Besides, when you actually help your kids with their homework and expound their lessons, you know what is in their brains and can be confident that they can pass tests even without any monetary incentives.
3. You become thankful for the home you have after volunteering at a shelter for the homeless.
If you’re like most people, you’re probably trying to figure out how you can live in a bigger home or thinking of getting a second job just to transfer your family to a more exclusive community. Once you have been to a homeless shelter and understand just how difficult life can be without a shelter over your head, you get to appreciate the home you now have and won’t even have to think about transferring to a costlier place.
4. You temper your urge to spend for useless things after you have volunteered to feed hungry people at a soup kitchen.
When you know what real suffering is like, you get to check your urge to keep on buying excessive and potentially worthless things. So many things we buy often turn out to be unused. A lot of food we buy often gets uneaten and expire in the fridge. When you have seen people actually go without food or mothers who can hardly provide milk to their children, you appreciate what you have and will check yourself every time you are tempted to buy more than what you need.
5. You get to stop planning for unnecessary renovations to your home after volunteering at the Habitat for Humanity.
When you volunteer at the Habitat for Humanity, you understand how difficult it is for other people to build their own homes that they are so happy to be recipients of the program even if they have to crowd in a very small space. For many of us, remodeling or renovating, even if these turn out to be unnecessary, is a normal part of home ownership. When you actually get to build homes for others, you realize just how extraneous this expense is, allowing you to save a lot of money.
6. You get to realize just how important it is to encourage your family to lead a healthy lifestyle after volunteering your time and resources to support cancer research.
We all know just how expensive cancer can be to treat. We also don’t have to lose someone to cancer to know just how devastating it can be. After helping the cause of a cancer research foundation by running in a marathon or donating your money, you are more encouraged to tell your family to start leading healthier lifestyles. This lessens their chances of getting afflicted with the Big C and spending a great deal of money for treatment.
You can achieve the same effect even if it’s not cancer research. If you volunteer to help families with sick children at the hospital, you also realize just how difficult and expensive it is to have an ailing loved one. Thus, you are more encouraged to teach them healthful practices to keep them protected from serious diseases.
7. You aren’t pressured to spend lavishly for Christmas after you’ve spent time with less fortunate families who barely have anything to eat.
Statistics show that people splurge during the holidays. This is the reason why retailers often ramp up their advertisements and prepare for the on-rush of holiday shoppers. It’s the time when they can make profits. Not only are we encouraged to spend a lot of money on Christmas gifts, we often overspend on Christmas dinners and prepare more food than we can consume. When you’ve gone to poverty-stricken neighborhoods, you know how people often have to make do with so little on these occasions and are thus encouraged not to spend more than necessary on gifts and food.
8. You have an incentive to teach your children how to be responsible after you’ve volunteered at a juvenile detention facility.
Parenting can be difficult and challenging. However, when you’ve gotten the chance to interact with troubled youths, you know that you have to really double your efforts in showing your kids the importance of responsibility. Your child’s future largely depends on your ability as a parent to steer them away from the influence of drugs, alcohol and other vices because when they do, hiring lawyers to represent them at court hearings and taking them to a rehabilitation facility are costly. You can avoid these by spending time with your children and teaching them how to be responsible.
9. You aren’t tempted to keep on spending money to stay updated on the latest shoe trends after you’ve volunteered at a center for war veterans who have lost limbs while in action.
When you have shared your time and service with those who have lost one or both legs in the war, you get to understand just how expensive and totally unnecessary it is to spend a lot of money on the latest footwear. Your perspective changes especially when you realize that the money you would otherwise spend on shoes can be better spent to help those in need.
10. You get to see just how blessed you are to have a reliable vehicle if you volunteer to help organize a Special Olympics or some other event for the disabled.
When you don’t see the day-to-day challenges of people who are suffering from disabilities, your focus is only on your own lack—how your two-year old vehicle isn’t any more fashionable and how your neighbor’s sleek and shiny car is making you look quite poor, for example. When you volunteer to help others with special needs, your focus is now on them and you become less self-centered. Suddenly, you get to appreciate the fact that you have a vehicle and that you are blessed to be able to drive one. There’s no more need to buy a more expensive car.
11. You are encouraged to help lessen your carbon footprint by volunteering at an organization that helps save the environment.
A lot of our money is spent on things that harm the environment. We put a strain on our finite energy resources when we forget to turn the lights off when we leave a room or turn the tap off while brushing our teeth. When we don’t recycle, we fill Mother Earth with garbage. When we ride our car instead of walking to nearby places, we don’t only contribute to pollution, we also waste resources. However, your perspective does a turnaround when you work with an organization that seeks to help the environment. The ultimate effect when you are apprised of the real score as far as environmental conservation is concerned is to get only what you need. Doing so makes you save money as well.
12. You get to live an outstanding life when you volunteer regularly.
Volunteering encourages you to live a life that is worth emulating. You get to understand just how important service to others is. These kinds of activities allow you to see what things are really important. When you see how others are suffering or doing what they can with less, you understand just how much you can do when you help. By leading an exemplary life, you set a good example to your children and other members of your community as well.