According to GlobalRichList.com, I’m in the top 0.82% richest people in the world.
That’s not to brag, though. Almost everyone with the means to read this post is in that top one percent somewhere.
But there are billions more people out there who are not in the top one percent, and they’re not in the top two or three either. The majority of our planet is living in poverty.
Economic crises (and the accompanied fear mongering) aside, we sometimes look at the world as a prosperous place with a few unfortunate pockets of poverty strewn about. It’s so easy to forget that the majority of the world lives in poverty, or pretty damn close to it. Easier for us, at least.
The UN definition of poverty is living on less than a dollar a day; I’d suggest that’s a number chosen to keep the sheer statistical size of this situation from light, since it’s hard enough to live on $30 a day. Sure, not as extreme, but by no means easy in many areas of the world. We are incredibly lucky to be a part of this miniscule percentage of people who are, by all means, rich.
Even if you’re in debt and have a terrible credit rating, you’re rich compared to much of the world. I don’t say that to deride anyone, but remind us all that we’re lucky, even when times are terrible by our own standards. There is something everyone can do to help. Even a mere dollar makes a difference; that’s a doubling of daily income for many.
Here are a whole bunch of ways you can save more money that we’ve discussed on Lifehack. If it’s this easy to find a few dollars, it’s easy to help stop poverty.
Make Your Own Coffee, Use the Library, Get Netflix
Chris Brogan shares a list of ways you can cut a significant number of expenses easily and immediately, from making your own coffee with an espresso machine instead of heading out to Starbucks, using the public library instead of splurging on books all the time, drinking at a friend’s place instead of the pub and laying off the lead foot on your accelerator.
With some or all of the money you free up using these tips, you could fund a loan with Kiva; and you’re not even losing money since the majority of these loans are fully repaid!
Stick to Your Budget
Here’s a list of 32 hacks to help you stick to your budget. I’m willing to bet that most of us run out of money just before payday because we’re terrible at staying within the boundaries of our budget. If you can get yourself to stay within your budget for just one month, you could still make a difference. Maybe keeping up with a few good personal finance blogs will help in this regard as well.
With the savings you could help out an organization such as USA for UNHCR, an organization that helps refugees; people who are not only living in poverty, but displaced from their own countries, cultures and families as well.
Wallet-Padding Tips for Troubled Economies
Our Thursday published a list of ways you could fatten the wallet up a bit even during harsh economic times. My favorite is the last item: stop paying attention to all the fear mongering in the news. Many are more practical, such as beefing up your resume and learning new skills so you can land a higher income.
With the savings you could donate to an organization like the Global Fund, which fights AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria in developing countries.
Insulate Your Crawl Space
Kyle Potts writes that by insulating your crawl space, you can save plenty of money on your energy bill over the long-term. You won’t just save on your energy bills: a poorly insulated or vented crawl space can lead to mold and rotting in your flooring, which can cost a fortune to repair.
A few dollars freed up on your energy bill can make a big difference, perhaps by making it more affordable to sponsor a World Vision child.
Save Money on Your Phone Bill
Do you tend to blow the budget on your phone bill? Not that long ago I wrote an article that described how you could save thousands on your iPhone bill, though many of these tips – and software suggestions – are adaptable to all sorts of mobile phones, especially any kind of smartphone or PDA that tends to run the bill sky high.
Whatever you save on your phone bill, you could give to World Concern, an international humanitarian non-profit doing some great work.
Use Your Digital Camera
Thursday strikes again with a list of ways you can save money with the help of a digital camera or your phone’s camera. The list covers everything from taking snaps to help you recall things that, if forgotten, will cost you more, to monetizing your best shots on stock photography sites.
You might use your savings to donate to the Action Center to End World Hunger.
Just keeping organized can save you a heap of dosh. I know the difference on my tax return between years when I keep meticulous expense records and years when I don’t is huge; organization certainly pays in that regard. Lorie Marrero lists a whole bunch of other ways that good organization keeps your bank account that bit fuller.
Getting organized can free you up to donate to Poverty Fighters, a microcredit organization.
Bring Your Own Lunch to Work
The amount of money you can save by bringing your own lunch to work instead of heading out to an eatery or the corporate cafeteria over the course of a year is pretty amazing. According to this article, the savings come to as much as $988. That’s almost three years worth of earnings for many people living in poverty. If you could pay for one person to live for three years, three people to live for one year, or thirty people to live for a month, wouldn’t that at least bring a smile to your face?
While you’re saving on food money, help feed someone else by donating to the Friends of the World Food Program.