Warning: Solo Expenses may make you go warm and fuzzy inside

Being given an ill-fitting orange and yellow pullover made of scratchy wool that he wouldn’t like to be seen wearing outdoors has made our Giving Back blogger Ron Banks pause for thought about gifts, what they mean, and what we ought to give. We found it thought-provoking, and wonder if you do too…

They say it’s the thought that counts. Which explains why ripping away the birthday gift’s wrapping paper to reveal a hideous pullover can make you wonder what the giver was thinking when they chose it. However, unlike the cat in our picture, we hide our feelings, and make all the right noises.

But what if the gift had true value, rather than being just another item of clothing that you don’t need, bought because someone had to buy ‘something’? What then? How much more valuable would it be?

Giving back to charity
That’s been the thinking behind the Solo Expenses Giving Back initiative of making regular donations to charity from the company revenues. The causes being supported should matter to all of us, even though we’ll probably never know the people who benefit.

Blind girls in India, orphans in Africa, and victims of sex-trafficking are all out there at this very moment, making the best of the poor hand that fate has dealt them. And a pretty poor hand it is.

Those individuals lead very different lives from our own, on different continents, but they’re people just as we are. Solo Expenses invests in their lives from the company revenues, by providing secure and regular income where little, if any, would otherwise exist.

Expense management means everyone wins
Being a Solo Expenses customer and using the company’s online expense management software means that you’re part of that initiative. Your money is being invested in people who could make something of their lives if they were just given a chance. What’s more, you could even be a net gainer, because using the expenses manager app can save time as well as money – but although that’s true, it’s not the reason to give money to charity. We all ought to be doing that because it’s the right thing to do.

No cat needs a hat
And all of that makes me wonder. If gifts are given because they’re ‘expected’ aren’t we, as receivers, as guilty of the choice of hideous ill-fitting knitwear as the misguided purchaser because we ‘expect’ to be given a gift? What cat needs a woolly hat, even if it is pink, for goodness’ sake? Have we become so greedy that we want even more than already exists in our cushioned and comfortable existence?

I’d like to think not. I’d like to think that Solo Expenses has made me take a different view to gifts, and highlighted the need for giving back to society; to recognise that others have human rights to the good things in life that I have by the merest accident of birth; that I should be a change maker in the tough lives of others. (Though if I’m honest, it’s a lesson I’ve already learned thanks to Solo Expenses, and I’m already investing in those causes). In fact, I’d go further: I’d say we all have a duty to do something, anything, to help. If we don’t, I’d suggest we’re actively denying these people a better life, for no other reason than because we can shut them out of our thinking, which is kind of shameful.

Instead, by extending that helping hand, we can help others to a marginally better life.

As far as I’m concerned, knowing that I’ve done that makes me feel warmer inside than any scratchy, hastily-bought pullover ever could. And I’ll always be grateful for that. Perhaps you could try it yourself, to see if it makes you feel the same? Together, we can be change makers.

Picture: Vvvita | Dreamstime.com