I received an annual bill this week. I won’t name what it was, but it was an expected bill. What I didn’t expect was the additional $1 tacked on to the bill to a charitable organization.
At first, I was a little frustrated. I am very careful to choose good organizations to donate my money, goods, and time to. I don’t want my money going to an organization that wastes the donations. I use Charity Navigator to check out organizations before I donate, just to be sure that it’s a place I really want my money to go.
But it was only a dollar. And I figured it would take too much time and effort to get the $1 donation taken off my bill, so I figured that I would just pay it.
Conveniently, when I went online to pay, I discovered I had the option to check a box and not donate to the organization. Before I opted out, I used Charity Navigator to do a bit of research on the group, and found that it wasn’t one I would normally donate to. Sure, they do good things, but Charity Navigator pointed out that a lot of their money went to administrative tasks and not to the cause at hand. Naturally, I opted out.
And to ease my conscience, I put an extra $1 into my charity budget category for the month.
How do you feel about these “required” donations? I don’t mind so much when you can opt-in to a donation, but I struggle with the idea of opting out. Of course, if it were a good charity I supported, I would probably have a different view. Most people likely figure “Oh, it’s only $1” and donate without thinking, which is great for the charity.
Maybe I’m just being too picky about one dollar tacked onto an annual bill.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.