18 Free Ways to Be a Better Person

With a crazy schedule and tight budget, giving back is usually easier said than done. However, what if making a difference someone else’s life didn’t have to be that complicated, time-consuming, or costly? These 18 acts will help you become a better person, and help your community.

1. Bring in your neighbor’s trash cans

Sometimes it’s the simplest acts of kindness that can make a huge difference. If you’re already bringing in your own trash can, then rolling in your neighbor’s will just take a few extra minutes. You can also help neighbors along your block who are elderly or have disabilities that make tasks like moving the trash cans a chore. (See also: 12 Easy Ways to Win Over Your Neighbors)

2. Pick up trash at a local park

Have you ever looked around your city or local park and thought it looked a bit dirty? Where I live, the amount of wind we receive makes it nearly impossible to be a trash-free community. Simply picking up a few pieces of litter at your park or anywhere else can instantly improve the appearance of your town.

To get involved on a larger scale, research your city’s website for annual trash pickup days.

3. Volunteer at a school or library

Ask your local schools and libraries about volunteer opportunities. Many need readers for story time, especially on fun days like Dr. Seuss’s birthday (March 2).

You can also volunteer your time as a tutor. And you don’t need to be a 4.0 GPA rock star to help kids with homework after school. It also doesn’t need to take up every moment of your free time, either. Just a couple hours per month can make a world of difference. United Way and VolunteerMatch are sites that can connect you to tutoring opportunities and other volunteer gigs near you.

4. Write a nice note

Your encouraging words can mean more than you know. Send some to people you don’t talk to regularly, such as old friends and distant family members. You can also send notes to soldiers thanking them for their service through A Million Thanks or to hospitalized children to remind them that they have love and support all over the world through Cards for Hospitalized Kids.

5. Donate books

We all have one too many books lying around. Donate books that you and your family are done reading to local libraries, schools, or to organizations like Books For Africa and Books to Prisoners.

6. Make and deliver a meal

Know of someone who just had a baby or is recovering from surgery? Bring them a meal. If you can’t cook, no worries. Even easy-to-make sandwiches like peanut butter and jelly or turkey with cheese would be welcomed and appreciated by someone who doesn’t have the time or energy to prepare meals for themselves.

7. Send old tech gadgets to…

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