We should all wake up to the fact that we could help others more

Solo Expenses giving back blogger Ron Banks gets a noisy awakening from an early-morning motorbike, and realises that all of us are in danger of being as selfish as its rider by ignoring the consequences of our actions on others – and that it doesn’t take much effort to turn us into change makers.

I can’t have been the only one awoken by the selfish cacophony of a motorbike being driven, at full volume, past my open bedroom window a little before 4am.

This was no ordinary motorbike. The noise it made was akin to a thousand shotguns being fired in a continuous volley. It might as well have been; the peace of the night had been shot to pieces. I listened to the motorbike’s stentorian progress up through the gears down the road; it grew quieter at the T-junction, and then, as it moved off, up went the volume again. I listened as it drove on through the town, its noisy progress breaking into the sleep of others at that early-morning time when it’s far too early to get up, but far too late to get a good night’s rest.

I wondered if the rider was aware of the scores of wakeful people, their human rights to a reasonable night’s sleep denied, staring into the darkness in his wake. I decided that he couldn’t possibly be. If he had been, and it mattered to him, surely he would have done something about the motorbike exhaust long ago?

But what if he knew how loud it was, and the pleasure he derived from it was such that he didn’t care about what he was doing to others; about what impact his lifestyle choice was having?

Selfish behaviour: Are you guilty?
Now before you agree that his behavior was selfish in the extreme (and I hope you do), I want to sound a warning, because those of us living in the west do much the same things on a near-daily basis, although usually at much lower volume. By which I mean we ignore the feelings of others by living our lives in the way we do. We keep what we have, always want the very best, and don’t really bother about the people who are worse off than us. The result is, for example, that we throw away perfectly good clothes to replace them with new ones and, if supermarkets are to be believed, demand perfectly-shaped vegetables. I’ve got to ask if, in the context of children in the Third World who haven’t got clean water to drink, or a mosquito net to sleep under, should we be worrying about having non-wonky carrots?

How to make lives fairer
The world is an unfair place where there will always be people who are much less fortunate than ourselves. But that’s no reason that we should walk by on the other side of the road, without trying to help, even in a small way. That’s why I’m enthusiastic about the stance taken by money management app Solo Expenses, which sets out to support charity by helping others to donate in a way which can actually make them richer – and I’m not talking simply about emotionally richer, the feeling that always comes when you help others. This is financially richer, and is a really effective way of fundraising. Here’s how it works.

Giving back is simple – and important
The company’s ‘giving back’ policy is simplicity itself. Solo Expenses, along with its big brother Expense on Demand, has chosen a variety of good causes, all of which you can read about here, to which it gives a proportion of its revenues every month. I’m just fortunate enough that the company has allowed me to write about the work it does to help clients in their efforts in giving back to society. It’s a really effective way of fundraising for the good causes, and turns all clients – and they’re in 90 countries – into donors.

Make money by giving back
Well, that sounds impossible, doesn’t it? Well, it may well be nothing of the sort. Here’s why. Until we record just what we’re spending money on, there’s a real danger that we’re spending more than we think we are. Using the Solo Expenses money management app allows you to track that spending, and cut out what you don’t actually need, or make better-informed spending choices. The result is that, without appreciably changing lifestyle, any individual is likely to have more disposable income; any business likely to enjoy enhanced profitability. At its entry level, Solo Expenses is a free download, but in each of the packages (and there are four), the saving, based on time involved in checking expenses as well as the spend itself, is likely to be more than the financial investment. And what’s more, you’ll be giving to charity at the same time. What’s not to like?