Want to hear the most ridiculous way I spend five dollars a month? I signed up for a professional G Suite account so I’d have an official email address for a brand I was developing over two years ago. And then in mid 2018, I put a pause on that brand so I could write my book without distraction.
In the meantime, I also streamlined my budget. I canceled my MLM direct sales account that cost $17 and change a month in membership fees. I canceled one gym when I started at a new one after I moved. The usual stuff. My goal was to have as few line items to deal with as possible.
Except for this G Suite account. I kept going in and messing around with the settings, and I thought I had it taken care of. But the next month I checked my bank account one fateful payday and saw another five bucks gone for something I wasn’t using.
Finally, I’d had enough. I wrote it down on my monthly to-do list: CANCEL G SUITE ACCOUNT. And I promptly forgot about it. Until the charge hit my bank AGAIN. And I managed to remember the email address (on the third try) and password and looked up how to cancel the account. Once I found it, I canceled, and I should never spend five bucks on that particular waste of money again.
This is all well and good for me, as a privileged person with a random five to spare at any given time. I keep a buffer of $50-$100 in my checking account for unforeseen expenses so they won’t affect my budget lines. But not everyone can do that.
Over 75% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck. Now, I’m sure some of them can afford a random five dollar mix-up now and then, but not everyone can.
Then start thinking about overdraft fees (punishing people who don’t have money by charging them more money they don’t have) and service fees for paying bills over the phone (which precludes people who don’t have internet access or reliable transportation from paying their bills effectively). Think about people in food deserts with high markups on healthier, fresh food options. How much is $5 in grapes, vs. fruit cups? How much is $5 in whole grain brown rice, vs. ramen noodles?
My challenge to you: Do something good with $5 today. It can be for yourself or for someone else. Just don’t spend it on a G Suite account you’re never going to use. Google doesn’t need your money.
Consider some of the privileges you have, and find a way to get five bucks to someone who doesn’t have them. If you’re white, send five bucks to a person of color. If you’re straight, donate to that queer crowd fund thread you see going around Facebook. If you’re cis, set up a recurring Patreon donation to a trans creator.
Here are some Patreons and other links you can donate to (and please leave yours in the comments or shoot me an email so I can add you to this list).