Comments 12


Thanksgiving is coming up, and it’s the ideal time to count our blessings, being grateful for everything we have. But another way to show gratitude is by helping others.

I came up with this DIY Pay It Forward Jar in hopes that it will be an inspiration to help others in this holiday season, even in some small way.


– a jar
– popsicle sticks
– paint (optional)
– permanent marker
– paper and pen to make a list of pay it forward deeds


1. Paint each small item if you wish, to make them look uniform.
2. Using the permanent marker, write a numeral on each popsicle stick until you have numbered all the items.
3. Place the sticks in the jar.
4. Whenever you are feeling inspired to pay it forward, randomly select a stick from your jar and check to see which item on the list it corresponds to.
5. Get out there and pay it forward!

Here are some examples of good deeds, ranging from easy to…not-so-easy:

  • Help an elderly or disabled person carry purchases to their car
  • Volunteer at a soup kitchen
  • Pay the bill for the customer behind you at the drive-thru
  • Pay the grocery bill for the family behind you in line at the supermarket
  • Leave your server at a restaurant a 30% tip (or more, if you’re feeling adventurous!)
  • Offer to watch your friend’s children so she can have an afternoon to herself
  • Donate $100 (or any amount that is a bit of a sacrifice) to a charity that you can relate to
  • Offer to clean up an elderly neighbor’s yard or garden

Mix up or add to your list whenever you get a new idea to pay it forward. That way the numbers won’t always correspond to the same things each time (element of surprise!).

As you can see, not all good deeds need to involve money. There are so many ways to spread positive energy and put a smile on someone’s face. Be as creative as you wish and have fun!

What would you add to this list? Have you done something spontaneously or anonymously to pay it forward to someone who never expected it?


  1. Pingback: 8 cheap, no-frills date ideas (for day or night!) | The Haute Mommy Handbook

  2. I quite liked the idea ๐Ÿ™‚ only, I wouldn’t want to pay for the next family in line at the store and not for the next customer at the drive-thru, would instead want to give the money to someone poorer. But I totally get it, to each his own and it is a wonderful idea. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks! I agree, giving money to someone in need would truly help that person. But I also wanted to include totally random acts of kindness that no one would ever expect from a stranger. If someone helped me in a way like that, even though I wouldn’t have needed it, the sheer kindness of it would stay with me for a long time.

  3. Becca says

    I did something similar to this years ago with my kids. It’s a fun way to give back if you’re not able to think of something on the spur of the moment.


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