12 ways to be kind without spending a dime

You don’t have to buy more stuff to bring joy to others this season.

Profile picture of SiriusXM Editor
SiriusXM Editor
December 13, 2016

photo by Ryan McGuire/gratisography.com/

Courtesy of DaveRamsey.com. Hear The Dave Ramsey Show on Sirius Ch. 145, XM Ch. 207 and online Ch. 790 weekdays at 2 pm ET.

We have officially kicked off Christmas here at Ramsey Solutions. In this season full of traveling, feasting, and gift-giving, your budget might begin to feel the strain.

You love giving, but you’re committed to staying out of debt over the holidays. The good news is you don’t have to buy more stuff to bring joy to others this season. In fact, one of the best things you can give in the coming weeks is kindness.

It’s absolutely free and will do you (and those around you) a world of good! Here are 12 ways to multiply your kindness and brighten someone’s day:

1. Send a handwritten note (or email).

This isn’t a “thanks for the gift” card. This is an out-of-the-blue note you write to someone who’s impacted your life. Maybe it’s a parent, a pastor, a sibling or a friend. Maybe it’s your favorite high school teacher. Whoever it is, let them know how much they mean to you. Don’t assume they already know!

2. Recreate a special day.

Think of a day (or event) in your life that meant a lot to you. Maybe it was your first date with your spouse or a road trip with your best friend. Find little ways to share that memory all over again via photos, food, music and stories. They’ll be touched by your effort, and you’ll both have a great new memory to share.

3. Listen without distractions.

Often, we’re too busy multitasking to give our undivided attention to those around us. Put down your cell phone, mute the TV, and give folks some good old-fashioned eye contact (yes, even in meetings at work!). This simple practice signals that you value the speaker. And you don’t even have to say a word.

4. Include someone new.

We all have our comfort zone when it comes to our friends. They’re our go-to invites whenever we’re hosting a cookout or heading out to lunch. But be conscious of new people too. Maybe it’s been a long time since you were the new person. It can be pretty lonely. Add someone to your next guest list and you might just make their month.

5. Smile more.

One of the kindest gifts you can give someone is a genuine smile. We’re not talking a creepy glare-and-grin at strangers here. We mean look up at your cashier and smile. They aren’t robots who scan your groceries. Be kind by acknowledging them as a person. The same goes for waiters, neighbors, and the receptionist at your doctor’s office. You never know what people are going through. Your smile could be the kindest thing they see all day.

6. Look for common ground.

All of us know people who disagree with us on just about everything. You have conflicting views on politics, parenting and potato salad. Instead of dreading another conversation with them, try seeing things from their point of view. We’re not saying you have to become BFFs, but keep your cool and keep it friendly. The more grace you give, the more glory God gets.

7. Assume the best in people.

This one’s all in your head—but it’s extremely kind all the same. When you assume the best in people, it changes your attitude toward them. When a friend cancels lunch plans at the last minute or a stranger says something that hurts your feelings, give them the benefit of the doubt. This saves you the effort of trying to figure out their motives. And it gives them the kindness of your good opinion.

8. Share your prayers.

It’s a blessing to be able to pray for those you love. If your sister is home sick or your church friend asks for prayer, stop what you’re doing and share in their need. If you aren’t in a place where you can pray out loud, just type out a short prayer and email it to them. It will bless them to know you are lifting them up, and your words will bring them comfort.

9. Repeat someone else’s great idea.

When you’re in a meeting (or on an email chain), uplift the ideas of others. If someone has a great idea, tell them how much you like it in front of everyone! You’re being kind by encouraging them among peers. This will give them a self-esteem boost and bring the best thoughts to the top.

10. Apologize early and often.

The next time you strike up a fight with your spouse, yell at your kids, or snap at your friend, don’t wait hours to mend things. Go to them right away and ask for their forgiveness. You can’t undo what you said, but you can humble yourself and strengthen your relationship because of it. Oh, and forgive yourself too! You’re only human.

11. Be clear (but polite).

Around Dave’s office, we say “To be unclear is to be unkind.” This doesn’t mean you should blurt out whatever you’re thinking. It means you should be direct, but have the other person’s well-being in mind. If you want your spouse to do the dishes, don’t stomp around the kitchen and hope they get the hint. Ask them to do the dishes without any biting remarks. If that’s not kindness, we don’t know what is!

12. Be kind to yourself!

You know that annoying voice in your head that beats you up whenever you forget to mail your second cousin a birthday card? Or the harsh voice that tortures you with that unfinished to-do list? Be kind to yourself and let the little stuff go. Like lost-in-the-Bermuda-Triangle gone.


Used with permission from DaveRamsey.com

Photo Credit: Ryan McGuire/gratisography.com

For a free 30-day trial, check out siriusxm.com/freetrial/blog