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5 Inexpensive Ways to Help Someone Who Lost a Loved One
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5 Inexpensive Ways to Help Someone Who Lost a Loved One

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After my 40-year-old husband died, some of the things that helped the most didn’t come at a big financial expense to the giver: the neighbor who started watching my girls for 90 minutes every Sunday so I could take a yoga class. The friend who would leave a $4 bouquet of flowers from Trader Joe’s on my porch and text me to let me know they were there. The massive supply of toilet paper my sister bought me (truly!).

There are many standout ways to help that don’t have to break the bank. Here are some meaningful options: 

1. Do a Costco run for house staples. In the weeks after my husband died, my sister sent me a giant box of trash bags from Costco. There were 200 bags inside, and I remember thinking, “Maybe this will last as long as my grief does.” I didn’t know then that the bags will always run out before the grief does. But it was such a kindness to not have to worry about the little things like restocking trash bags or toilet paper (another thing she sent me, via a regular subscription from Who Gives a Crap?). Spending $25 on household staples like these is a big help.

2. Send a Rainy Day Boxes Lite Box. Described as “the most thoughtful gift I’ve ever received," each Rainy Day Box holds four individually wrapped gifts that are meant to be opened over time, on your grieving friend’s toughest days. They can last days or weeks or months, and are there in the exact moment she is feeling her lowest. The $56 Lite Box features gifts that promote self-care and encourage calm and soothing moments.

3. Send a Whole Foods delivery order. Sending flowers on a whim can be pricey. But Whole Foods sells beautiful bouquets for a fraction of the price and can deliver them same-day, making it less expensive and quicker than placing a traditional flower order. I’ll often add a bath bomb, kombucha, and chocolate bar to my cart, for a “be gentle with yourself” delivery that typically costs $35-$40.

4. Sign up for a Felt Plus Subscription. Show up in your friend’s mailbox with words of love and encouragement on the regular. For $7 a month you can send three Felt cards, or one every 10 days or so. They’re simple (and fun) to design. For friends I’m extremely close to and have a lot of photos of, I’ll put a picture of us on the front and an encouraging quote on the back, but in many cases I’ll pick one of Felt’s designs, which span from colorful florals to quippy and cutesy scenes. Bonus: Felt mails it for you, and you can make all three at once and schedule when they’ll be sent.

5. Print and mail photos you have. Some high school and college friends of my late husband had copies made of decades-old photos they had of him and sent them to mein most cases very sweetly/wisely messaging me to tell me they were coming, so that if I wasn’t in a good mental place to open the envelope I could save it for later. Having extra images of him so young and happy is a treasure.