how to help someone who is struggling financially

This post may seem a bit out of place for this page, but it’s deeply tied into my journey and I’m kind of over “You got this” empty rah-rahs and actually showing up to help someone who is struggling financially.

For years, due to financial abuse, I found myself caught in the grip of financial struggle. The weight of bills, the struggle to put food on the table, and the anxiety of living paycheck to paycheck consumed all of my energy. Every last drop of it. It was a constant battle, one that left me perpetually in survival mode, with little room to dream or breathe. Yet, what made those years even more challenging was the profound isolation I felt.

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In the midst of my financial struggles, I couldn’t help but notice the absence of extended hands or the comforting presence of those willing to walk beside me. Friends, family, and acquaintances often stood on the outskirts, peering in with judgments or well-intentioned yet unspoken questions: “Why don’t you take action? Why can’t you change your situation?”

Navigating life with the relentless stress of financial instability while raising two children is a daunting journey on its own. But the lack of understanding and support from those around me made it all the more arduous. It’s a situation that countless individuals find themselves in, where silence and judgment often overshadow compassion and assistance.

This post is born from my own journey through the trials of financial hardship and the isolation it can bring. But it’s also born from a desire to shed light on a simple truth: that small acts of kindness and support can make an immeasurable difference in the lives of those facing financial struggles. Through the years, I’ve discovered many ways that friends, family, and even strangers can extend their hands, offering both immediate relief and the promise of long-term empowerment.

So, if you know someone who’s walking a path similar to mine, or if you’ve ever wondered how you can truly help, then this blog post is for you. It’s a collection of ideas and suggestions—a guide to not only alleviate the immediate burdens but also to nurture the seeds of change and empowerment. Together, we can turn empathy into action and make a profound impact on the lives of those who need it most.

Immediate Assistance to Help Someone Struggling Financially

Giving forms of immediate assistance to someone who is struggling financially, even something that you may feel is “too small,” can have a huge impact. For one, it will allow just a bit of breathing room and offer some relief. But more importantly, it is a way of saying, “I see you and you are not alone.” So often during my times of extreme financial struggle, I felt like I didn’t deserve help and so having someone remind me that I was deserving was huge. It’s also a great exercise for the person struggling to learn to accept help and feel good about it.

I want to say, that there are infinite ways to offer immediate assistance, but here is a list with some ideas.

  1. Financial Contributions: Providing financial assistance, whether it’s to cover rent, utilities, or other essential bills.
  2. Grocery Shopping: Offer to do a weekly grocery run or provide grocery store gift cards to ensure a well-stocked kitchen.
  3. Meal Services: Sign them up for meal delivery services or cook homemade meals to ease the burden of cooking.
  4. Childcare Support: Offer to babysit or help with childcare responsibilities, allowing them time to focus on personal or professional growth.
  5. Transportation Help: Covering public transportation costs or helping with car maintenance expenses can be a significant relief.
  6. House Cleaning: Besides hiring a maid, volunteers can help with cleaning or organizing the home.
  7. Education and Extracurriculars: Paying for school expenses, extracurricular activities, or tutoring for the children.
  8. Self-Care: Treat them to spa days, massages, or wellness retreats to alleviate stress. Or simpler things like a haircut, a new coffee maker, or some wonderful soaps.
  9. Clothing and Personal Care Items: Donating new or gently used clothing or personal care items can reduce their daily expenses.Gift certificates to clothing stores as well.
  10. Celebratory Gifts: Sending gifts for special occasions like birthdays and holidays can bring joy and alleviate the financial pressure.

Empowering Gifts to Help Someone Who is Financially Struggling

I look at these as super-charged gifts. They are really a way of saying “Even though you are down, I completely believe in you.” When someone is in finacial struggle, there is so much judgement whether it’s assuming the person is lazy or unmotivated or just not capable. Self-doubt then makes it even harder to pull yourself out of financial problems. So when someone steps up with an empowering gift, it is a reminder that you are capable, especially with the right tools.

When I was really struggling, a complete stranger (who saw a post I made in a private group) gifted me with a year’s subscription to a personal development platform. I cannot even tell you what this did for me. It was the first time in a long time that I felt seen and like I mattered.

Here are some wonderful ways to empower someone who is financially struggling:

  1. Educational Resources: Provide books or e-books on personal finance, entrepreneurship, or career development. Try to make these fit with the person you are giving them to, not necesarrily what fits with you.
  2. Online Courses and Memberships: Purchase memberships to online learning platforms like Coursera, Udemy, or Skillshare to help them acquire new skills. I highly recommend something like The Roadmap Course which will completely empower them to discover what they are good at and turn it into a business. This course was gifted to me and it really felt like the biggest shout of “I believe in you!” ever. Absolutely empwering.
  3. Mentorship: Offer your guidance and mentorship in areas where you have expertise or connect them with mentors in their field of interest.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Help them expand their professional network by introducing them to your contacts or suggesting industry-related events.
  5. Podcast Recommendations: Suggest motivational and educational podcasts that cover topics like personal development, financial planning, or career growth.
  6. Financial Planning: Assist in creating a budget, setting financial goals, and exploring investment opportunities.
  7. Entrepreneurial Support: If they have a business idea, offer guidance on how to start and sustain a small business. Even if the person has a job or career, staring their own business is incredibly empowering. My experience with being given The Roadmap is that the process of becoming and entrprenuer is also a very powerful process of personal growth. The community is also vital to the process, especially for someone who has felt alone for so long.
  8. Job Search Assistance: Help with resume writing, interview preparation, and job search strategies.
  9. Scholarships and Grants: Research and share information about scholarships or grants they may be eligible for to further their education.
  10. Encourage Confidence: Continuously express your belief in their potential and provide emotional support as they work towards their goals. A really powerful program, Release and Reclaim, is a great “dig deep” to let go to make room for changes. The creator, Michelle, has also recently released a more in depth program that would make a wonderful gift, Say Yes to Desire. Either of these programs will help to clear out the baggage and “give permission” to be confident in who you are. Highly reccommended.

The Importance of Being Seen for Someone Struggling Financially

It is incredibly isolating and very scary to go through a period of financial struggle. Simply having someone show up and offer any form of support is incredibly helpful. I had so many days when I was like, “Really? No one sees my situation? No one cares?’ Literally any form of outreach would have lifted me up.

So often, we have an immediate urge to help. But then our stupid ego gets in the way and wants to convince us that we’ll make the person uncomfortable, we’ll insult them, that they are doing fine one their own. Please always go back to that initial instinct to help because that is your heart speaking and your heart always knows best.

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