Everybody has crummy days.  We can (and should) encourage and brighten up our friends, family, and significant others when they are down. Here are some ways to cheer someone up without breaking the bank.

  1. Pick up the phone and call them. Tell them how much they mean to you and commiserate with them. Don't feel obligated to dish out advice... sometimes all we need is  just need someone to vent to.

    If the person does not pick up, just leave them a voicemail message saying that you are thinking of them and that if they need anything, to give you a call back.  You may also want to try giving them another phone call later.

  2. Write a handwritten letter.  This will work best if you live or work nearby the person you wish to encourage as you wouldn't have to pay for stamps. Handwritten notes can be a surprise to people and will encourage people because you took the time and effort to write something by hand.

  3. Send an ecard. There are a lot of websites that offer free ecards with encouragements. They have cute graphics and music and are a great way to brighten up someone's day when you cannot physically be near them. Some of the more popular sites are 123greetings.com and dayspring.com (religious ecards). Also, most major card manufacturers have ecards that they offer for free or at a small cost.

  4. If you and the person who is down are religious, offer to pray for them. If they are not religious, based on your judgement, you could still offer to pray. Some people just appreciate that gesture. But be careful; you don't want to offer to pray to someone who is very strongly opposed to religion. Be careful not to turn the offer of prayer into something more as well (like proselytizing).

  5. Make a mixtape.  Many people have lots of songs on their computers and may have some blank CDs lying around the house. If that's the case, burn a mix of songs you think the person would appreciate.  It could be songs that hold special meaning to you and the other person, songs that can encourage, or just songs that you know your friend likes.