Four and a half years ago, I started Want Not after several friends convinced me that my ability to squeeze blood from a stone when it came to spending was something I should be sharing with the world. Back then, in my very first post, I said—among other things—the following:
I believe in giving money and time to charity as a matter of course. I do both, even when sometimes it would be a lot easier not to. Part of the reason I make charitable donations even when money is tight is selfish; it reminds me that no matter how I’m feeling, there are plenty of people who have less. And as long as that’s true, I will donate a portion of my earnings.
I used to talk about charity here on the site quite a lot; and the truth is that I’m not entirely sure why I don’t as much, any more. Maybe it’s the economy, maybe it’s that I’m worried I’ll turn some people off to the fun of hunting for deals by droning on about my personal beliefs surrounding giving back, maybe it’s because we’re feeling the crunch this year as much as anyone and I’ve sort of been putting off some of my customary giving on the assumption I can catch up now, at the end of the year.
This weekend I listened to Stephanie Nelson (a.k.a. The Coupon Mom) talk about how her wildly successful site grew from the germ of a simple and selfless idea: She was trying to teach folks about grocery couponing so that they would then consider donating just one food item per week to their local food banks. That’s it. Stephanie wasn’t looking to run a business, she was just looking to feed the hungry. Save the money, make painless donations.
That got me thinking about how I used to spend the holiday season hounding y’all to pick up toy deals and donate them. It’s more fun to ogle pretty shoes and think about getting our kids the latest and greatest toys for less than it is to talk about all of the kids for whom Santa won’t be coming this year, or to remember that plenty of kids (and adults) still don’t have winter coats. But after listening to Stephanie talk, I remembered that having less money this year or more people stretching their own budgets further than ever before doesn’t mean we can’t do even more for those less fortunate than ever before.
So this is my challenge to you, and one I’ll be taking myself, as well: How much good can you make from the money you save this season? Can you buy extras for donations? Can you donate money to the charitable outlet of your choice? Does getting better deals and spending less money mean you can work a little less, and therefore donate your time? I don’t care how you do it, just find a way to turn less into more, because if every one of us does even a little, suddenly—like Stephanie talked about—there’s a big difference happening. And that’s awesome.
Here, let me help kick-off a bit of that generosity—how does a brand-spanking-new Windows Phone 7 sound in terms of being able to do more with less? Pretty good, right? From now until November 29th, 2010, leave a comment on this post telling me how you plan to make more with less this holiday season for a chance to win. Please see the official contest rules for all the details and a list of other sites where they’re also giving away a phone—you can only enter once here, and I only have one phone to give away, but you can also enter once on each of those other sites, too.
After the 29th, I’ll choose a winner at random via random.org, and that winner will have five days to get back to me or I’ll choose someone else.
What are you waiting for? It’s a chance to win wrapped up in a challenge to do more. I hope you’ll join me.
This giveaway is brought to you by the new Windows Phone 7. Learn more about Windows Phone online and see it in person at local T-Mobile stores today.