What is free-forward? Well, when many of us imagine paying it forward, it often has to do with giving a homeless man money, tithing at our local church, or donating canned goods. And, these are all wonderful ways to pay it forward, but why isn’t there a list out there (that I know of) that explores the options of paying it forward without opening your wallet? What about those opportunities that we pass up every day simply because we don’t think about them… or because, maybe, they take a little bit of pure guts. I’m talking free-forward, or literally priceless ways of caring for your community.
1. VOLUNTEER: Okay, so I’ll start with the obvious. Your time! (Oh I hear you back there! “But time is money, Amy!” Sure, sure… except they aren’t the same thing when you’re not earning money elsewhere. Just think on that one.)
2. A SIMPLE HELLO: Sometimes greeting a random stranger on the street can make their day! And it’s certainly a way to pay it forward. (It shows that you, in the slightest bit, care!)
3. A COMPLIMENT: Whether you see someone who’s down, or you’re totally shopping the leggings they are wearing, say something? Because, why not? Because it might just brighten their day? Because it show’s that you are aware of your surroundings & that, again, you care in the slightest!!
4. A PHOTO: There are so many people out there taking selfies! What if you were to offer to take a photo for them? I LOVE THIS. And it’s very common, which I also love. Free-forward win! Thank you for caring!
5. EXCUSE ME: Sometimes I find myself saying excuse me when I almost run into someone at the grocery store, even when it’s not my fault, because it’s polite. It’s always so nice when they say it back.
6. BLESS YOU: This is a big un-ease with so many people. I often hear, “But I’m not religious” or “What? I don’t know them.” But, honestly? Saying bless you not only shows your courteous nature, but it says absolutely nothing about your religious standings. And, for that matter, who cares about them possibly thinking you’re religious when maybe you’re not? It’s just kind. And kindness can go SO far.
7. A DIVIDER: You know when you’re at the grocery store line, & you cannot reach the separator because it’s at the front & the other person & all of their food is in the way, so you have to wait to set all of your stuff down, even when your hands are all full? I LOVE when that person puts the divider down for me! It’s just a sweet little gesture that truly shows character & a little compassion.
8. RIGHT LANE FREEWAY DRIVING: This is a BIG Free-Foward people! Staying in the right lane when you’re not passing someone on the freeway is one of the sweetest things you could do for anyone. They may not realize that you’re paying it forward, but you are. So congrats to those of you who do this! You’ve got this done down! And it’s GREAT! (This also prevents road rage, & allows for safer freeways all over.- Yay!)
9. DONATIONS: Instead of throwing away useful goods, consider donating them. Not only are you helping to save the world with less waste, but you’re helping those who cannot afford brand new.
10. SHOPPING LOCAL: Technically, yes, this MINDSET is free. Shopping local is a great way to help your community. I mean, you’re buying the groceries anyways, right?
11. RECYCLING: Similar to the above. If you’re already paying for your garbage to be taken away from your home, you might as well be recycling. (By the way, it’s free if you take it to your local dump…) You’ll be saving the environment, & again, limiting the waste! Check out your local recycling details asap. To beautiful Coeur d’Alene, here is yours!
12. AWARENESS: Being aware of your surroundings at all time is an awesome way to pay it forward. So many of us wonder through our days oblivious to our surroundings. *And cell phones are a big part of that! Your being aware is a free-forward because you can adjust according to those who aren’t paying attention – meaning, avoiding a possible collision, being able to identify a thief, or call 911 in case of an emergency.
Keep Looking Guys! There is opportunity everywhere!
Looking for more? Check out one of my old favorites, Celebrate May Day. Don’t worry – there is much, much more to come.