Live Rich with Less Stuff, Part 5: Pay it Forward

by CashTime Loan Centers

In our previous post on how to Live Rich with Less Stuff, Part 4, we talked about what to do with what’s left after you’ve gotten rid of everything that constitutes “excess stuff” for you. What should you do with the extra time, money, and your new-found freedom from things and commitments that didn’t add value to your life? Why not put all those wonderful resources to work helping to improve someone else’s life? In other words, pay it forward. If you took any of the suggestions for what to do with your extra time from our previous post, you may have already found a few things you enjoy doing, such as mentoring a teen, reading to a nursing home resident, or volunteering for a local charity. If so, keep it up! If not, pick one or two things from the list, and see how it feels.

Most of us have heard of The Golden Rule; do unto others as you would have them do unto you. In other words, treat people like you want them to treat you. The concept of paying it forward takes that principle and expands upon it by doing good unto others in order to inspire them to continue the trend. Have you ever been in line for coffee or food, only to arrive at the counter and find that the person in front of you has already paid for your order? Feels pretty good, doesn’t it? Kind of makes you want to do the same thing for someone else, right? That’s what paying it forward means. It isn’t about the grand gesture, and it’s not about receiving acknowledgement for your good deed, either. Part of the fun of paying it forward is knowing that even little things can make a big difference, and the person who benefits from your kindness and thoughtfulness will probably never know that their benefactor is you. If you’re thinking about Robin Hood right now, you get the idea.

Here are some ways you can pay it forward and improve the quality of life for someone else:

• Hold a door open for the person behind you
• Pay for a stranger’s coffee or meal, without letting them know
• Write a positive review for a business you frequent that provides good service
• Offer to babysit a friend or neighbor’s child or children for free
• Take someone else’s pet for a walk
• The next time you mow your lawn, mow your next-door neighbor’s lawn as well
• Cook or bake your favorite dish and give it to a coworker or neighbor
• Take a new parent out to lunch or dinner
• Introduce yourself to a new coworker or visitor at church
• Let someone cut in front of you in line at the store or restaurant
• Write a thank you note to your boss for their hard work
• Put some change in an expired parking meter
• Let someone else have that parking spot close to the front of the store
• Pick up litter in a park or green space
• Let someone merge in front of you in traffic
• Donate old blankets and towels to a local animal shelter
• Put someone else’s grocery cart back inside the store
• Slip some cash into someone’s Bible at church or in a neighbor’s mailbox
• Leave encouraging post-it notes in random public places
• Buy coffee anonymously for a coworker, and leave it at their desk with a “Have a good day” note
• Hug a friend
• If someone wants to repay a debt, ask them to pay it forward instead
• Teach someone a useful skill you know
• Offer to help someone move before they have a chance to ask
• Ask your boss if there’s an ongoing or upcoming project you can help out with

There you have it; at least 25 various and sundry ways in which you can pay it forward and make a positive impact on the world. As we mentioned in closing out our previous installment in this series, we all only have so much time on this earth. Let’s decide to spend it improving the quality of not just our own lives, but that of others as well. Concentrate on being present in each moment, finding the joy and/or lesson in that moment, and appreciate the people and experiences that bring you that joy and learning, and seize every opportunity to share what you’ve learned with someone else.

This is the final installment in our series of how to Live Rich with Less Stuff, and we hope you’ve enjoyed learning about minimalism as much as we’ve enjoyed sharing the information with you. If you take anything away from this series, let it be the knowledge that living with less can equal a life of more; more time, more money, more space, more freedom, more joy, and more meaning in life.