Here is a brief list of things that one may give to their Deity when there is little to no money to be spent on expensive or traditional offerings. These are merely suggestions for those seeking alternatives. If you personally do not like these suggestions, do not use them.
1. Tap water. If you don’t have access to your own tap, most fast food restaurants will still give courtesy cups of water when asked. Guerrilla water collection techniques also include filling an old bottle with water from a neighbor’s sprinkler, public water fountains, or any clean public restroom.
2. Mud or clay effigies. Can you dig a hole? If so, then you can dig up some mud or clay from your yard, or a park, and commence molding a little something for your Deity. Decorating the effigy with flowers, weeds, leaves, sticks and found stones is another nice way to add a bit more love and energy to your offering.
3. Blood, sweat and tears. Whatever you are doing, dedicate it to your Deity, especially if it absolutely has to be done, and doubly so if you find it difficult. In my experience, They see our commitment, and don’t usually ignore those who are working hard.
4. Fake fruit/flowers. Low on cash for foodstuffs? Or simply afraid of waste? Maybe you’re like me, and can not afford to take any food out of your children’s mouths. In that case, invest in some craft fruit. The way I like to imbue the fruit with life energy, is to guide it through a natural life-cycle of the plant it was intended to be, through meditation. It is then ready to be offered in place of the actual fruit or flowers. The best part about this, is that the fruit can be re-imbued after the Gods are finished and the fruit has been removed from the altar/shrine. This type of offering is very good for seasonal festivals, when they may be re-gifted, yearly.
5. Found objects, and handmade gifts made from found objects. I include re-purposed objects here, as well. I can not tell you how many things I’ve given to my Gods which were first used for some other purpose. Never have They complained about hand-me-downs, but once the object is Theirs, it’s Theirs forever.
6. Tea-light candles. A pack of tea-lights goes for no more than four dollars around here. I know that even four dollars can be a lot to some people, so as an alternative for the crafty devotee, have you considered melting down your child’s old, blunt and broken crayons into candles? There are a variety of wick making methods to be found online, as the wick is the hardest part to make yourself. The crayons just need to be melted and poured into a mold. Don’t have an appropriate mold? Dig a hole and pour the wax down there. It will produce a crude but effective candle, with the added bonus of being completely in tune with the energy and rhythms of the land you live on.
These suggestions are only a few things that I can think of, and I’ve done all of them at varying times in my devotional practice. All were received with kindness and affection from my Gods. Some of these require a small amount of money, others do not. There is always a way to give when you think you have nothing. We just have to get creative about it sometimes.