$5 or less: Ways to spread kindness

Kindness doesn't have to cost much

In our busy lives, kindness can easily become an afterthought. But, with just a few dollars or less you can brighten someone's day. Try out these low cost – or free – acts of kindness to brighten someone's day.

• Buy coffee for a stranger: We all know how hard the morning can be without that first cup (or two!) of coffee. Brighten someone's day by buying for the person behind you in line.
Cost: $1-$5, depending on where you grab your morning cup o' Joe.
Impact: The gift of a happier day.

• Pay for parking: When you're out of change and in a hurry nothing beats finding a parking meter that is still full. Give the good fortune of a full meter to someone else by filling it up as you walk by, or as you leave your parking space behind.
Cost: $5.25 for a three hour meter in downtown Madison.
Impact: Saving someone a hefty parking ticket later in the day.

• Pay it forward with gift cards: Still have a few cents left on that old gift card? Instead of hanging onto it, leave it behind for the next person in line.
Cost: A few cents to a few dollars.
Impact: A kind gesture – and a little bit knocked off of that Target bill – go a long way towards a great day.

• Pay for a snack attack: A mid-afternoon craving for potato chips and a pop can derail anyone's work day. Give a co-worker a pleasant surprise (and a fully belly) by taping enough for a bag of chips and a can of pop to the break room vending machine.
Cost: $2 or less, depending on vending machine prices.
Impact: The gift of renewed focus.
Even if you don't have any money to spare, free acts of kindness can make a big impact on someone else's day.

• Pick up trash: Take a few moments to beautify your surroundings as you walk around town. Just pick up trash you see lying on the ground and dispose of it properly.
Cost: Free.
Impact: A healthier, more beautiful neighborhood.

• Donate used sports equipment: Some parents aren't able to sign their kids up for youth sports leagues because they can't cover the cost of the equipment.
Cost: Free.
Impact: Your donation could mean a great season for a young athlete who would otherwise be sidelined.

• Just smile: A sincere smile is a quick, easy and free way to make a positive difference in someone else's day.
Cost: Free.
Impact: Positive interactions make others feel cared for. A simple smile could turn around someone's entire day!

There are many, many ways for you to make a difference in someone else's day without spending much time or money. Check out The Random Acts of Kindness Foundation for more ideas and inspiration.

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