Ever wish you could make every penny count twice -- especially around the holidays? Here are ways consumers can do what they already do, but also make those actions count for more in charitable and community contributions.
1. Free money for the charity of your choice
Use GoodSearch.com, powered by Yahoo!, for regular online searches, and the site will donate 50 percent of the revenue generated from the search advertiser to the charity, school or nonprofit organization of your choice.
Make sure you designate a specific charity before you begin searching, otherwise your revenue will just go toward funding the site's operations.
2. Save on groceries and help alleviate hunger
CouponsforChange.org makes it possible to save money and give back. Visit their site and you'll find hundreds of coupons for everyday grocery, personal-care and office items.
For every coupon you clip, they will give a portion of their proceeds to Feeding America, a leading domestic hunger-relief charity.
Every three coupons used translates to one meal. That means you are saving money and, at the same time, helping more than 16 million hungry American children.
3. Volunteer at a food bank
Volunteering at a food bank is another great way to give back. Sometimes donations exceed volunteer hours, which means food can actually go to waste rather than to families in need.
Three billion pounds of food and other grocery products are distributed each year through Feeding America's network of food banks. As you can imagine, it takes a lot of volunteer hands to get all that food to the children and adults who need it.
4. Turn your trash into someone else's treasure
Clean out your garage and turn your trash into an organization's treasure.
It's easier to clear the clutter when you know it's benefiting a good cause instead of taking up space in a landfill.
Through eBay's Giving Works program, you can donate 10 percent to 100 percent of an item's final sale price to a nonprofit of your choice. To make it more appealing, eBay will credit portions of the insertion and final-value fees for the percentage you give back.
For example, if you decide to give 30 percent of the final sale price to the American Cancer Society and your fees amount to $10, eBay will credit you $3. If you donate 100 percent, they will credit you back the whole $10. See ebaygivingworks.com.
Another way to unload your junk is to donate new and gently used building materials, furniture, appliances and home-improvement goods to one of Habitat for Humanity's 825 ReStores. Proceeds go toward building homes for those in need. See habitat.org/restores.
If you do your homework, you can donate just about anything. Help others dress to impress when you donate your professional attire to a low-income job seeker through the Women's Alliance, online at thewomensalliance.org.
Contribute to the more than 19 million pairs of shoes that have been distributed to those in need when you donate gently used shoes to Soles4Souls, at soles4souls.org.
There's even a better place than the recycling bin for old greeting cards. Donate them to St. Jude's Ranch, a Nevada residential facility for abused, abandoned and neglected children. They will turn them into new cards and sell them to support their program.
5. Products that do double duty
You may not realize you are already giving back simply by purchasing groceries.
From salad dressings to cookies, profits from all Newman's Own products go to charity through the Newman's Own Foundation. The group has given more than $330 million to thousands of charities since 1982.
Yoplait's annual Save Lids to Save Lives program is back. For every redeemed lid, 10 cents will be donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The program has expanded this year to include more than 20 General Mills brands, including Nature Valley, Pillsbury and Betty Crocker.