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Simple Ways To Pay It Forward

By Edited Nov 13, 2013 3 8

What Comes Around Goes Around

Reaching out

Back in October 2000 a movie called Pay it forward was released. The main characters were played by Helen Hunt, Kevin Spacey and Haley Joel Osment. I can still remember watching it, Helen’s (who played Arlene) face as she was wowed by some of the things that were happening around her. That is exactly how this movie left me feeling, wowed. Since then I have remembered it, and think it is such an amazing yet obvious thing to do. If we all took some time out of our days to help someone else and show kindness, then the world would go around a lot smoother. As we all know however nothing is perfect, so here are my ideas on simple ways to pay it forward not only making someone else’s day, but feeling great for it. If ever there was a trend to follow, paying it forward would be it.


Remember, every bit counts!

Volunteer your time: It doesn’t have to be a week or even a full day if you aren’t able to spare that much time, but places such as Homeless shelters, Animal Rescue Centres, or Meals on Wheels usually have their hands full and would be very grateful for any extra help. You may find you enjoy it enough to make it a regular thing.

Sometimes it’s the little things that matter the most: Sometimes we tend to forget the easy and simple things that quite often mean more to someone that something dramatic. Hold the car door open, swap the washing over for your partner, cook their favourite dinner, let someone else have the last seat and you stand. Takes no effort, yet can mean so much.

Elderly Man
Help someone with their Groceries:  If you see someone struggling to push their trolley and load their groceries into their car then offer to help them. Some people might not accept, but others might be very grateful. I once had an elderly man who was having trouble walking himself; offer to carry my Fish and Chips out to the car for me as he could see I had my hands full with my Children. I was shocked and very moved.

Spend the day in a Retirement Village:  Some retiree’s aren’t lucky enough to have family or friends, or some that live close enough to visit and I can only imagine how lonely it must get at times. Take a game of cards or your family photo album and spend the day swapping stories. Such a simple way to give back yet could make someone so happy.

Spend the day cooking: If you enjoy cooking why not spend some time cooking up something and donate it to somewhere. Places such as Homeless Shelters, School Tuckshops (With the schools permission of course) would be thankful of the time and effort you have put in as they are usually on a low budget and low on staff or volunteers.   

Create a gift basket:  Create a gift basket with a range of products and give them to someone who needs or would like it. You could make two different types, either a gift basket with things that the person will enjoy such as pampering products, or you could fill it with household products such as Toothbrushes, Tin Food, Pen and Notepad, Clothes or anything that you know this person would be happy to have but is unable to for some reason. I know someone who did this over the Christmas period with the help of her work and friends, and the looks on the Mother’s and Children’s faces when she arrived with a basket of food and Toys, is a look she will never forget. To this family, she made their Christmas possible.

Pay for someone else’s bill: This could mean their lunch, their groceries or even just their morning paper.  Don’t ask them, just do it without them noticing. Can you imagine how happy you would be if someone did this for you?

Handpicked Bunch of Flowers
Hand-pick a bunch of flowers: I have done this myself, and they look great. While giving a bunch of flowers is a simple thing, it is still enough to make someone feel special, especially if you hand-picked and arranged the flowers yourself.

Make an anonymous gift and leave it at someone’s door: Something simple such as a scented candle, a gift voucher for dinner, or whatever you decide to make, wrapped and with a note saying “Creative Pay it Forward: Doing my part to spread happiness. Enjoy! From Anonymous.”

Tell them you care: Sometimes we presume people know how we feel, rather than actually saying it. Why not let someone close to you know exactly how you feel about them. You could write it in their lunchbox for work, leave a letter on their mirror, post it so they get mail, or tell them face to face. Sometimes hearing how special you are to someone can be one of the greatest gifts of all.

Help them fix it: If you have seen someone struggling with something, lend them a hand. Could be anything from rearranging the spare room, to helping them spread word about their new website. Two sets of eyes and hands are always better than one.

Offer to babysit: If you know someone who has children and would love or needs a break, then this is perfect. Take the kids on a day outing or even keep them over night. The parent will be able to enjoy some relaxing quiet time and will be ever so grateful.

Surprise them with a treat: Did your children do something extra today without having to be asked or helped someone else? Why not wait until they are in their pyjamas and ready for bed and then sneak them out on a night adventure for ice cream. Explain that they are being rewarded for doing such a good job and for helping someone else, kindness is rewarded.

Praise the Cashiers: A lot of people are quick to leave a complaint when a cashier is to slow, accidently scans something at the wrong price or doesn’t pack their bags to their liking, but rarely leave compliments. If I go through a register and the cashier has done a good job or is even just extra friendly I will often go aside and let their managers know. They are only doing their job and also have to deal with some not so pleasant customers. Knowing they did a great job and someone actually left a message with their manager, would help brighten their day.

Just listen: At some stage or another everyone

A shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen.
needs a shoulder to lean on and an ear to listen. Sometimes just listening to someone as they get things of their mind can be a massive release and make them feel better, whether there is a problem or not. Everyone likes to be listened to.  As you go around doing your normal things, take the time to say hello and ask people how they are.

Write a Thank you note to a company: I was recently going through the bathroom product battle of “what works and what doesn’t” although all the products claim to be brilliant. After repeatedly buying products that don’t work, I was so happy to have finally found a product that cleaned and left my bathroom sparkling as described on the bottle, that I decided to write them a thank you letter. It might get lost in their paperwork, yet it might make it to the manager. Either way, I wanted to write them a letter showing my gratitude.

Donate Blood: Will so many people needing blood for medical reasons in this world, there will never be enough. If you are able to donate, do so. You could be saving a life.

Offer your experiences: If you have a talent that others would like to learn, why not share it. You could offer to teach free classes, visit schools or even just teach the children down the road. Every experience is something learnt.

Be Kind: Emotions can be contagious! When someone is in an angry mood, they will quite often put others around them in the same mood. If you take the time to be kind to others, others will be kind to you in return.

There really are literally thousands of ways to pay it forward and show someone kindness, it depends on what type of things you prefer doing, where you live and what you have at your fingertips. Remember, it doesn’t have to be something major, sometimes it’s the smaller things that have the bigger result, but everything counts.


Have a Clean-up your street or Area Day.

Give a Housewarming gift to the new neighbours

Make your Child’s teacher a Thank you gift in appreciation of teaching your child each day.

Have a Spring Clean and donate unneeded clothes or household items to a local Charity.

If you’re looking for a pet buy one from your local animal shelter instead of the pet shop. Saving a life!

Treat your partner to a relaxing or romantic night doesn’t have to be a special occasion.

Buy animal food, litter, collars or anything pet related in your next grocery shop and put them in the donation bins at the front of your store.

Become a Foster Carer of an Animal or Child and give them a better life!


Adopting a Child - Paying it forward


As they say, what comes around goes around.



Aug 5, 2013 6:48am
I enjoyed reading this and I try and do some of these things regularly already. To make someone else feel great is the best way to feel fantastic yourself :-)Especially anonymously. Thank you!
Aug 9, 2013 7:48pm
I'm glad to hear that you enjoyed it, and yes my favourite way to pay it forward is by doing something anonymous as well. Something completely unexpected that usually leaves them thinking about it for the rest of the day. :)
Aug 5, 2013 7:41am
What a beautiful and sensitive article. Thank you for writing it. I have a similar article planned, but from a bit more forceful approach. Between the two of us, we will change the world! At least one or more worlds. When I finish my article, perhaps we could link. I will let you know when it is done. Then you can read it and let me know what you think. Keep up the kindnesses.
Aug 9, 2013 7:50pm
Thank you for stopping by, and be sure to let me know once you have written your article so I can read it and work in a link. Sometimes it really does take just one person to make a difference and get the ball rolling.
Aug 19, 2013 2:41am
great article and well deserved of a feature. We are travelling around australia at the moment and the times I see elderly(still youthful at heart) people like ourselves and some of them are doing it tough.
I agree it is the little things that help to make it better for them. It is sometimes hard to help because we are all a bit independent and think we can cope. Sometimes you cant offer to help you just have to jump in. One particular gent I saw carrying a heavy bucket of water from a creek and I offered to help, at first he wouldnt let me but I convinced him in the end by saying " I bet if you saw me doing something that you could help me with you would do the same.
We both agreed and he let me take the bucket, water is heavy and is not easy to carry over a distance. And yes it makes us feel better being able to help out at least I do. thanks for this great article
Aug 20, 2013 10:04am
That's exactly what I am talking about, we all need help even if we are to stubborn to ask for it. So if everyone did even just one random kindness to someone else, it would go round and round. People would not only be more accepting of help, but also more inclined to help others. I'm glad you enjoyed reading it.
Aug 19, 2013 9:27am
Congrats on the feature...!!!

I have read ur article earlier & thought why lot of PAY IT FORWARD articles recently ( without realizing that its the same article that has been featured now ). Good topic and I loved that movie but not the negative climax just to make sure it had a bigger IMPACT on the audience...

The concept was amazing...!!!
Aug 20, 2013 10:06am
Thanks, and yes I agree whilst I did not love certain parts of the movie, the concept and how they shared it was done well enough that people remembered it and made them think. Thanks for stopping by.
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