Frugal Donations: Giving Doesn’t Have to Cost You Money

Frugal donations help others without busting your budget. You can give even when don’t have money to donate. Many of them don’t cost you a dime – or a great deal of time. Donate your excess, your clutter, and even your garbage. Here are some of the things non-profits can use.

Animal shelters use newspapers, towels, blankets, and rugs. They may need cat litter, pet food, food and water dishes, leashes, collars, wood chips, hay, straw, and grain. They may need dishpans, aquariums, cages, pet carriers, and fencing materials. They may greatly appreciate a clothes washer, clothes dryer, refrigerator, or freezer. Some shelters may be able to use your excess meat or fish.

Libraries welcome books and videos. They add new titles to their collections. Older ones are used items in their fund raising sales.

Child care centers, children’s hospitals, and women’s shelters need children’s books and magazines, toys, games, and washable stuffed animals.

Shelters for abused families and the homeless may need clothing, household items, personal care items, and food.

Schools and other non-profits can use office, art, and school supplies. They can also use holiday decorations. Craft supplies, especially those found in nature, such as seedpods and seashells are useful frugal donations.

If you have old things, or items with historical interest, consider donating them to museums or historical societies.

Your frugal donations can help day care centers, nursing homes, and senior centers. They may especially appreciate your excess garden produce. They use a variety of things for crafts. Some unravel knitted sweaters for the yarn. Many use greeting cards and magazines. They may want seeds, cut flowers, potted plants, pinecones, or dried flowers. Some may welcome live animals, but it is vital that you inquire about this with them first.

Many non-profits have rummage sales and welcome donations of all sorts. Others have specialized sales and need art, antiques, crafts, quilts, or other particular items.

Some donations are so frugal that they are actually your trash.

You can donate pop can tabs to a Ronald McDonald House. Some organizations save aluminum cans.

Schools collect labels from Campbell’s soup and other Campbell’s products for the "Labels for Education" program. Campbell’s makes a variety of brands so check the labels. The schools can redeem the labels for supplies and equipment.

General Mills has the "Box Tops for Education" program.

Some schools may also collect grocery store or other receipts. They can turn these in for supply credits.

For one-stop-takes-all donations, look to thrift shops run by non-profit organizations. Churches, animal shelters, recovery programs, and other not-for-profit organizations run second hand stores. The money they raise from sales supports their programs. Some accept only wearable clothing and baby items. But, many accept most anything that is in good repair and saleable. Some even accept stained and badly worn clothing to sell for rags and rug making. If you can’t take your frugal donations to the store or drop-off points, the charity may be able to pick it up for you.

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