It can be hard to do good. From each client payment, I set aside a specific percentage of the check and put it in a savings account. I’ve found this
According to dear daughter I’m a world class know-it-all, but every once in a while it’s brought home to me that I don’t actually know everything. So this is another
We’ve all heard that we’re moving to a gig economy. I think this used to be known as being a freelancer, but there are some important new wrinkles. If you’re
It can be hard to do good. From each client payment, I set aside a specific percentage of the check and put it in a savings account. I’ve found this far easier than coming up with a lump sum at the end of the year. I can fund things throughout the year, rather than in a blitz in December. And, I know exactly how much I have to give—whatever the account balance is.
However, like all of us, I get multiple appeals from GoFundMe, Facebook friends, etc. I also just had a rather odd experience with a donation on Giving Tuesday (note to self: always write thank you notes when someone does something for you). I started to wonder about how this all works, and whether it was the best way to donate the maximum amount. Here’s what I found.
Donate your bag credit at Whole Foods?
Unless someone convinces me differently, I think this is a scam. Apparently, Whole Foods takes this as THEIR charitable deduction, not yours, so you’re actually funding a giant tax deduction for them. Also, you have no receipt. Keep your bag credit, put it in a jar, and give it to an actual charity at the end of the year. For me, 8 bags a week ($0.80) x (say) 48 weeks would be a $38.40 donation.
This turns out to be an actual donation to Petsmart Charities and you should save your receipts showing this if you do so. However, according to my research the deduction will be reduced by whatever the merchant credit card fees are, if you use a card.
Not only is this not deductible, since it’s considered a personal gift not a charitable donation, but the recipient is charged 5% by GoFundMe as well as 2.9% by payment processors. This is an outright waste in my mind, and I recommend never donating in this way. Just send the person a check if you really do care.
These donations are deductible if the organization is a 501(c)3. However, FB charges the charity 5% to sign up. FB did match the amount if you donated on Giving Tuesday—but only up to $7 million, a pittance which was gone in minutes, as far as I can determine. For all my kind friends who have been induced by FB to post donation requests on their birthday—maybe think again? I suppose 95% of something is better than 0% of something but again, a direct contribution would be better.
Credit card, Paypal, or Square payment?
Once upon a time, some credit cards did not charge charities for donations put on cards. As far as I can determine, this is no longer the case, and charities are charged whatever the merchant fee is for the card. Pay through Paypal and they’ll be charged 2.2% + 30 cents per donation. Square rips them off at 2.75% if there’s an actual credit card to swipe through their reader. It’s an even more whopping 3.5% + 15 cents if the number is manually entered.
Sure, it’s easier to give a charity request a credit card, but for most charities, especially small or local ones, every cent really counts. Many people tell me they no longer have checks, but here’s the ideal place to use them if you have them—or learn to send one directly online from your bank if you don’t use this service.
For more information, check out this site:
According to dear daughter I’m a world class know-it-all, but every once in a while it’s brought home to me that I don’t actually know everything. So this is another chapter in the ongoing saga entitled, I Make All the Mistakes So You Don’t Have To. Herewith we have a cautionary tale about online banking.
Despite my advocacy for keeping on top of your finances, I must admit that I’m somewhat lazy about balancing my check book. Downloading statements has really nudged me up a notch on this, even though my bank has a somewhat cumbersome process on this—sometimes the magic works and sometimes it doesn’t. By that I mean sometimes Quicken will auto-download, and sometimes I need to go to the bank’s website and do it manually. I do manage to get to this, um, almost every month.
I have found, however, that occasionally there are transactions missing and I’ve been lulled into complacency since most of them tend to appear in the next month. But ugh, I’ve just had a major glitch.
Usually, I use mobile deposit for the checks clients write to me. These are occasionally rejected, because either I’ve tried to deposit too much money or I’ve exceeded the check limit for the time periods. It’s a nice problem to have, and a good excuse to walk the dog over to the bank, which she thinks is the biscuit store.
On those rare occasions when I actually get to the health club, I’ve used the drive-up window. One time a very large check did not appear in my account after the drive-up, and I noticed it immediately and it was found (it had been mis-deposited into someone else’s account!).
However, the computerized reconcile that I use for the business books had been carrying 4 relatively smaller deposits from month to month. The reconciling does get a bit off from time to time (double entered, missed a withdrawal, etc.) and I pretty much just ignored it until I started worrying about getting ahead of the end-of-year tiding up. So, I finally decided to compare these with the paper statement.
I still get the paper statements (although I’ll probably switch to the PDFs next year), because that’s where I’ve been able to identify the few transactions each year that don’t download. To my shock, these four deposits, all made on the same day, have never showed up. In re-contacting all the people who wrote the original checks, each reported that the checks were never cashed, and have graciously re-issued them. But I can’t take it up with the bank, because I don’t usually keep deposit receipts in a feeble effort to maintain a clean car.
What I’ve learned:
- Keep your deposit receipts until you get your monthly statement, or at least until the deposit shows up online in your account.
- If you use computer download/reconcile (does anyone still do it by hand?) be sure you double check anything that is still carrying over after you check deposits and payments. Anything that doesn’t check off should be verified with the bank.
- Within a day or two after in-person, automatic, or mobile deposits, make sure they show in your online statement. Even robots make mistakes. Eyeball your paper or PDF statements that everything is there as it should be.
So, even though I embrace online banking, I’m still a little reluctant to eliminate paper statements. I find it’s much easier to ignore online and electronic information. True, the paper piles up into a mound near my desk, but at some point I can’t ignore it, and it does provide a follow-up trail. Make sure you have back-stops and double-checks in place before you go 100% virtual.