At the funeral home:
If your budget doesn’t allow you to send a lavish flower arrangement, you have lots of options to still show your support for the family.
• Picture album or collage: If you are friends with the deceased, you probably have pictures that the family would love to see. Consider printing some special pictures and making a simple flip book.
You can purchase a small album at the Dollar Tree and share some memories. If you are a scrapbook person, you could even go a step further and create a treasure that others could sign and add their favorite pictures as well.
• Thank you notes: One of the most time-consuming things for families after a funeral is the process of sending thank you notes to all the people who sent flowers and food.
Consider picking up a box of thank you notes and hand addressing the return address for the family members. You could even add stamps in a little package to help with the cost of mailing the notes.
• Take a stash of gum and mints: When you go to the funeral home, why not take a bag of mints or pack of gum to leave with the family? Many family members don’t think about taking mints or gum and don’t want to leave the funeral home to go buy a pack.
• Share your skills: If you are good at something, then share your knowledge.
If you can make PowerPoint presentations, offer to make a slideshow featuring the family and the deceased. This means so much to families but during the grieving time, this may not be something the family can focus on.
If you are a mechanic, offer to help a new widow with car maintenance such as oil changes or tire rotation.
If you know how to navigate eBay or Craigslist, you could offer your help in selling extra gear, supplies or an extra car that is no longer needed.
A printing company could offer a set of stationery for the family to use to write thank you notes.
• Tent spray for flowers at the cemetery: Someone shared this tip with me recently.
Any time they take artificial flowers to the graveside, they spray them first with a water-repellant spray that is designed for tents. You can find this spray in the camping supplies section of Wal-Mart. This helps preserve the color and keeps the flowers looking fresher longer.
Long-term illness for child:
• Monkey in My Chair is a program developed by the Love, Chloe Foundation. It is designed for pre-school and elementary-aged children who are away from school because of a serious illness such as cancer or a tumor.
Each child receives a “monkey kit,” which includes a big stuffed monkey that takes their place in school when they are unable to be there.
The kits include the monkey with a backpack, a book, and other items that can be utilized by the child and/or their classmates.
All kits are sent out at no cost to the families or hospitals. Website:¿www.monkeyinmy chair.org.
No matter what situation you find yourself in, there are still ways to stay on your budget and not overspend.
Do you have any tips for saving money in hard times? I’d love to have you share.
Sharon Williams blogs about saving money in real life at www.reallifedeals.com.