hand with pink marker writing on paper calendar

My grandma and Aunt Connie donated regularly to charities. They liked to give to veterans’ organizations, religious charities, and places that help children like orphanages and children’s hospitals.

And once they’d donated, the organization put them on mailing lists and sent them little thank-you gifts in the mail. Depending on the organization, they received greeting cards with the organization’s logo on them, a saint’s medal or a set of rosary beads from a religious organization, or return address labels. But the thank-you gift they liked the best was a new calendar.

Generally, starting in October or November, Grandma and Aunt Connie would receive three or four calendars from organizations they had sent money to over the course of the year. They would keep one for the house and give the rest away to people who could use them. After the year was over, they simply threw away the old calendar.

These days, I get my calendar from a co-worker who receives them from the animal rescue charities she donates to. Because the calendars have terrific pictures on them, the colorful pages of outdated calendars are great for crafts. But my favorite use for an old calendar is to roll it up into a tube to keep my boots in shape. And thankfully, I can simply put past years’ calendars in the bin with the rest of the paper I recycle.

If you’re getting unwanted calendars or other mail from the charities you support, you can simply ask them to remove you from their mailing list. Also, you can reduce your junk mail by registering with:

  • DMAchoice.org: to opt-out of unsolicited mail (as well as email and phone calls)
  • OptOutPrescreen.com: to stop receiving offers from credit cards and insurance companies
  • CatalogChoice: to cancel paper catalogs you don’t want to receive in the mail

For me, getting a new paper calendar from my co-worker means I get to enjoy something that would otherwise go unused. And it’s a fun way to mark the season and to look forward to the year ahead!

Happy New Year!

By Joanna Lacey

Joanna Lacey lives in New York and has collected thousands of ideas from the frugal habits of her mother and grandmother. You can find her on Facebook at Joanna the Green Maven.