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When you’re walking down the street and a beggar approaches you asking for money, how do you respond?
It can be an uncomfortable situation that leaves you feeling powerless unsure of what to say or do.
If this sounds familiar, don’t worry because we’ve got you covered.
We’ve compiled some alternative strategies for managing beggars that don’t involve reaching into your pocket and handing out cash!
Here we’ll provide several unique tactics for responding to a begging request, ensuring both parties engage in a safe and respectful interaction.
1. Ask Them For A Dollar
Surprisingly, this is an effective way to diffuse the situation and possibly provide a long-term solution.
By asking the beggar to lend you a dollar, you show that you aren’t afraid to talk to them as an equal.
This may encourage them to pursue alternative means of support, such as looking for employment or finding other more sustainable ways of income.
2. Offer to Help Them Find A Job
This can be a tricky one, as you don’t want to come across as patronizing or intrusive.
However, if you know of job opportunities in the area or have other contacts that may help the person out, offer them up.
You can also suggest they look into joining local charities or volunteering programs where they will gain skills and experience that could lead to further work opportunities.
Additionally, you could offer to help them in writing a CV and creating a portfolio of their skills and experiences that may be beneficial for a future employer.
With the right guidance and support, beggars can potentially find stability through employment rather than relying on donations alone.
3. Give Them as Much as You Can Afford
For particularly wealthy people, they have no problem giving homeless people as much as they can afford.
Many people recall times when they decided to change a homeless person’s life by rewarding them with a large sum of money. Having this kind of expendable income is something I wish I had!
4. The Death Stare
For anyone constantly encountering homeless people begging for money, sometimes matching their aggression is the best action plan.
“I don’t make eye contact and ignore them,” explains one woman. “If they continue to try to engage me, I give them a death stare and a firm no. Sorry if that makes me a jerk, but being a female, I’ve learned to look like I’m more trouble than I’m worth after multiple instances of attempted assault.”
5. Give Them Spare Change
When parting with physical dollar bills seems too much, many people are happy to hand over any spare change in their pockets or car.
Thankfully, these small microtransactions add up for the average homeless person over time. It’s better than giving nothing, right?
6. Offer a Few Dollars
Many people are happy to give a few dollars if they are approached kindly and respectfully. It’s their way of paying it forward in a sense.
“If I have cash, I might toss them a few bucks,” reveals one woman. “Don’t really care if they use it for food, drugs, or whatever; just be happy, my friend. If I don’t have money, I just tell them I got nothing.”
7. Ignore Them
Unfortunately, like many things in society we don’t want to see or interact with, many people admit they ignore panhandlers and homeless people begging for money.
“Out of sight, out of mind” is how millions of Americans choose to deal with the homeless problem on a personal level, which is something that sadly won’t change anytime soon.
8. Being Stern but Polite
Sometimes a stern “no” goes a long way. Whether you have the money to spare or not, some people confess to not giving homeless people money ever, out of principle.
These people admit they say “no” and keep walking, not allowing the person to engage them in a conversation where they may feel pressured to give them money.
9. Be Sarcastic
Some people aren’t the kindest men and women in the world; thus, they confess they take a sarcastic approach to denying homeless people’s requests.
“If you see them coming, ask them for a dollar first,” advises one man. “You get the best reactions and confused looks.”
10. Saying, “Sorry, No Cash”
With many transactions moving away from cold, hard cash, sometimes honesty is the best approach when people get approached for money.
Simply saying, “Sorry, I don’t have any cash on me,” works because it’s true. However, don’t be surprised if homeless people follow up with, “That’s okay; I have Venmo!”
11. Offer Food Instead
For many people, they would instead give homeless people food than money. However, it doesn’t always work out the way they imagined.
“I had a guy panhandling on the corner of a shopping center I was going to,” recalls one man. “I stopped at Wendy’s, doubled my order, and gave him the second half. He got mad and told me he was there for cash, not food, so now I don’t waste my time with those folks.
12. The Pocket Patdown
Countless people, myself included, utilize the tried-and-true method of patting your pockets as you walk as you mumble a quiet “Sorry” in their direction.
It’s the best way to distance yourself from the situation while making the least effort possible. This method isn’t pretty, but it’s effective.
13. One Step Away From Their Shoes
Some people we completely real with their answer.
They explained that their finances aren’t great and while it may appear they have some money, they are really one mistake or accident away from financial ruin.
14. Give Them Gift Cards
Have unwanted gift cards taking up space?
Some people give them to the homeless to use.
Whether it’s to a fast food restaurant for a meal, or Walmart to get a jacket, a gift card can be a game changer to someone in need.
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This thread inspired this article.
I have over 15 years experience in the financial services industry and 20 years investing in the stock market. I have both my undergrad and graduate degrees in Finance, and am FINRA Series 65 licensed and have a Certificate in Financial Planning.
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