Making a Difference $20 at a Time

By | 2016-12-26

Making a difference doesn’t take hundreds or thousands of dollars. You can change someones day with a thoughtful gesture or an unexpected $20 surprise. If you don’t believe me you should head over to the Rockstar Community Fund thread and read all of the amazing stories people shared.

An Unexpected Gift

The Rockstar Finance team started with $500, and a few fellow personal finance bloggers (including Mrs AE and I) threw in $100 to make it go even farther. Shortly after that, $20 gift cards were mailed out to community members all over the country, into Canada, and even spanned the ocean to India.

Use your card to give an unexpected gift to someone in your world.

“This can be a friend, family member, co-worker, or even a stranger on the street. Our goal is to show that even a small amount of money can make a huge impact, and the more creative you can get, the better. Use it to help a struggling family, brighten the day of a service worker in a thankless job, delight a child, or bring a tear to the eye of an old friend.”

Shout out to the following sites for donating!,,,, and 

Our $20 Gift

Mrs. AE and I tossed a few ideas back and fourth over the last week and came up with some good ones (some we will save for round 2,3,4,5…..). But we landed on doing something for our local Fire Department.

After a little research we found out the fire station in our town is staffed 24/7 through the holidays. At that point we knew we made the right choice. People who spend time away from their families to keep the community safe deserve some love. We decided to bring them a meal on Christmas as a thank you.

I emailed the fire department Friday night trying to figure out how many people to plan for and got a call from the Fire Chief on Saturday morning. He thanked us and let us know how many people would be at the station and what time they usually break for lunch.

We planned on having pizza delivered, but quickly realized everything was closed. Take’n Bake Pizzas saved the day and we took 20 minutes on Christmas morning to make the delivery ourselves.

Two Firemen met us at the door and thanked us for bringing them in. We got hit with an ice storm in MN and I’m sure they were busy responding to calls all night.

It felt good, we looked at each other when we got in the car and both smiled. I think we will do this every year moving forward.

How did others spread the Love?

So far every person has done something different with their gift card. A car battery was replaced. Cookies were made and delivered. Anonymous gifts were left. People who sacrifice their time for others were given a token of appreciation. Beers were bought for strangers. Diapers for a new mom.

My favorite story is someone who took it to a new level. Turning a $20 gift card into $330 and giving it to pay down student lunch debt for families in need.

I had a smile on my face the entire time I read through the responses. Head over to read all the stories, lots of creativity and heartfelt gifts. I am amazed. Looking forward to doing more of this in 2017.

For more information on the Rockstar Finance Community Fund – Visit their one pager

Get out and do some good! Happy Holidays!

19 thoughts on “Making a Difference $20 at a Time

  1. Jon @ Be Net Worthy

    Wow, that’s amazing and so great to see over the holidays! I’m sitting down with my kids this afternoon to pick out our annual donation. We usually give to needy kids in underdeveloped countries, but I love how people came up with really thoughtful ways to help right here at home!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Jon!

      That is an awesome annual gift and its great that you sit down with your children to show them the importance of helping others,

  2. Amanda @ centsiblyrich

    LOVE what you did! I’m sure they loved your gift. And it’s just great that you took the time on Christmas to bake the pizzas and say “thanks” personally to the firemen in your community!

    I absolutely love this project! I’m scouting a way to give out my next $20 and would like my kids to be around when I do. Something pretty incredible happened to us on Christmas Eve! Alan (my husband) went to the store for some last minute food items I had forgotten and a kind stranger paid for them! It brought tears to my eyes and made my day!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Amanda!

      The project is awesome and I look forward to doing more of the same. Pretty cool that your good deed was already repaid with kindness from another person.

  3. Lindsay @ Notorious D.E.B.T.

    What a great idea!

    And thanks for reminding me about the Take N Bake pizzas- I used to eat those all the time (way cheaper than regular takeout pizzas). I need to start doing that again. 🙂

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Take N Bake pizza is great!

      Thank you!

  4. Physician on FIRE

    I bought beer! The next 4 people to the cash register at our local microbrewery were surprised with a free pint, courtesy of the Rockstar Community Fund.

    Your idea was much more noble.


    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      The gift of free beer sounds pretty awesome to me.

      Thanks PoF!

  5. [email protected]

    Great idea for the $20! I was thinking of doing something like that too – so many ideas, so hard to choose! I ended up giving it to a colleague who works with some really challenging kids with special needs. She makes a few dollars over minimum wage – and is an amazing person in these kids lives. I’m working on a plan now to give to the RC fund for future projects too!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Vicki!

      That is an AWESOME way to give the $20. I hope people go over and read that whole thread. It is giving gold.

  6. Pamela

    What a thoughtful gesture. I am sure you and your wife will remember experience for many years to come.

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Pamela! We definetely will.

  7. [email protected]

    Great idea! A few years ago, at the time of the Newtown tragedy (we live in CT) Ann Curry started a movement around performing 26 acts of kindness. Some of our acts were to bring coffee and donuts to our local police station, local hospital, and the ICU that treated my husband. It made them all surprised and happy to get a random treat like that, and I bet those firefighters felt the same.

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Liz – That is a great story, little things can go a long way.

  8. Mrs. Groovy

    Great way to stretch $20 and reach numerous people. And those fire fighters can eat! I’m sure they were very appreciative and it made them feel great to know that people in the community were thinking of their needs. Nice job!

    1. Apathy Ends Post author

      Thanks Mrs. Groovy. They got to the door pretty fast when they saw people hanging out in the entry way with food!

  9. moneycorgi

    Sounds like a really nice idea. reminds me of that movie “pay it forward”
    hopefully the people who got the donation this year will be able to help others in the future when they are better off.

  10. Debarati

    The $20 idea is really touching and inspiring. It is amazing how $20 makes all the difference between monotonicity and happiness. There are indeed many such people who cannot enjoy the holiday season. So even a touch of the holiday spirit is enough to bring a smile to their faces. That is why more such ideas are necessary. So, keep posting and inspiring everyone.


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