What Would You Do With an Extra $100, $1000, $10,000?

by Katy on August 28, 2009 · 28 comments

100 Dollar Bill

I had the privilege of taking my aunt Anne out for breakfast today. It was her birthday, (which I had actually forgotten about) which made it all the more special. Our original plan had been to go out for dim-sum, but we ended up finding a wonderful little café not far from my house which hit the spot.

This aunt is actually only 15 years older than I am and lived with us for a few years when I was growing up. She has always been a true inspiration to me — gleaning fabulous treasures from thrift shops and taking me and my sister to musty old used book stores when we were at our most impressionable ages. (The smell of old books still arouses an overwhelming feeling of contentment for me.)

She is smart, funny and generous beyond a fault despite never having excessive income.

Sadly, she now lives in Florida, which means that I hardly ever get to spend any time with her.

On our way back from breakfast, (plus a couple of garage sales) she started talking about what she would do if she won the lottery. I can’t actually remember what she said she would buy for herself, but she did say that she would give us each $11,000 per year. She said this is the amount one can receive annually without having to pay taxes on it.

I started to think about what I would do with an extra $44,000 annual income, (yes, she said she would give $11,000 to each of us!)

I would most definitely eradicate any and all consumer debt, but then what? Travel? Charitable giving? Cool clothes? Savings?

What would you do with an extra $100, $1000 or $10,000?

Here, I’ll start:

$100 — I would put it in savings. (There’s nothing for $100 or less that I don’t already have.)

$1,000 — I would pay off debt.

$10,000 — I would travel with my kids to somewhere like London, Japan or Greece. Perhaps somewhere sunny like Hawaii or Mexico, (which would be cheaper and allow for leftover funds.)

Okay now, your turn! Please put your answers in the comments section below.

Katy Wolk-Stanley

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do or do without.”

{ 23 comments… read them below or add one }

WilliamB August 28, 2009 at 6:26 pm

This is a very useful question to pose to yourself: if you had infinite money – I use $10MM – what would you do differently? Answering this gives you a good handle on what you really want to do. Apropos of this blog, would you buy more things new?

FYI, your aunt’s info is out of date. She could give each of you $13,000 per year. If she’s married there’s a way for her to give you both her and her husband’s gift amount.


Leigh @ compactbydesign August 28, 2009 at 10:47 pm

My mother used to spend hours detailing exactly what she would do if she won the lottery. She actually played so at least she had a shot.

Me, I’m waiting for the skies to open. But if they did?

$100 – take my husband out for all the sushi he could eat for his birthday this weekend.

$1000 – put it towards moving out of LA (hopefully to Portland).

$10000 – move to Portland. Figure it out when we get there.


Meg Haskins August 29, 2009 at 3:02 am

Great question! I’m as poor as they come, currently, so this is a real stretch.
I have no real debt, so I’d get to be really greedy! lol
1. I’d spend a small fortune travelling the world. There is almost no place that I would not love to go. I’d take my three kids to some of those destinations, so we could experience it together. (They’re 20, 18 & 17)
2. I’d buy my sweetie a boat. (He’s a sea captain)
3. I’d set up a trust to leave to my local library & one for each of my kids.
This is about as far as I can dream, this morning. I enjoyed it, though!


Kristen@The Frugal Girl August 29, 2009 at 4:47 am

I answered a question like this from William on my blog recently, although his was more of a “What would you do if your income increased?” kind of question.

If it’s just a one-time thing, though, here’s what I do.

$100-into savings for a car for the husband

$1000-into savings for a car for the husband

$10,000-into savings for a car for the husband

I’m really boring right now, huh? We’ve got no debt aside from our mortgage, we have a good emergency fund going, so our next big job is to save up enough money to pay cash for our next car.


NMPatricia August 29, 2009 at 6:14 am

Not real sure the point to this posting other than to dream. This is/was a favorite passtime I have/had. More so than in the past. $100 – give it to my husband to blow on something for himself. $1000 – give some to DH, some in savings, and blow the rest on fabric. $10,000 – invest so that we would have a little more each month for spending money.


lauren August 29, 2009 at 6:59 am

i think i would do the same thing w/ all dollar amounts. tithe, pay down debt, save and some of it mad money.


Jinger August 29, 2009 at 7:00 am

Any windfalls that come my way I would put toward my huge debt for an educational loan for a specialized school that saved my granddaughter’s life 6 years ago. I invested in the life of a child, rather than a luxury vehicle or such and my investment has paid off in a wonderful young woman….however, the debt will be with me until I am about 80 years old!!!!


Wendy August 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

This is fun!

1. $100 – take hubby to our favorite restaurant and enjoy a nice evening out
2. $1,000 – put it in savings
3. $10,000 – half to debt and the other half would go for a much needed vacation


Kat C August 29, 2009 at 2:26 pm

100 – go for a massage
1000 – put in savings (for around the house projects)
10000 – put towards debt, part into savings


Marj M. August 29, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Oh goody. Money suppositions.

1. $100……….savings
2. $500 to savings and $500 for a super fun grocery store run for a local food bank.
3. $10,000. Hmmm, $2500 should pay recent medical debt off, $2500 to savings, $2000 cash to a food bank, $1500 for each of my 2 kids.

Super fun. thanks.


Klara Le Vine August 29, 2009 at 9:16 pm

Well, honestly, me reading your blog makes me feel guilty sometimes as I am one who did come into alot of money after my father died, may his memory be blessed.

And as you, the first thing was to get out of debt.

The second was to continue giving some to my kids, but that has stopped as they too received more after his death.

The third was to increase our charity giving

And as so many things in our home just happened to start falling apart, we got a new car (this I posted to you, as we also got a second car for me and I mentioned how I insisted it be a hybrid), a new fridge, a new stove, a new dishwasher, and just recently a new printer – funny how suddenly so many things were breaking down on us – and yes I kind of felt guilty about it all

We did go on a family trip to London.

But most important to me, I try to buy more organic products without feeling guilty. I still haven’t succeeded in that area.

The most impact it has had is to not argue too much about money, as I still have the frugal attitude, while my husband greatly enjoys new toys.


dink2sink August 29, 2009 at 10:51 pm

an extra $100? Probably eat out and not feel guilty.

an extra $1000? Give $500 each to two charities.

an extra $10,000? Give $1000 to those charities, five grand to our Europe fund, and the other four grand to the car fund.


Keema August 30, 2009 at 12:26 am

This is a better dream that winning the lottery. It seems more real.
If I had an extra $100, I would save it to repair my car, which is sitting in the driveway.
$1,000 would take care of the car with $400
left over to help make ends meet. 10,000 – pay off debt-no credit card debt, just a student loan, plus a small amount in back taxes.

It wouldn’t bring a lot of fun, just peace of mind, and that is no small thing.


terilyn August 30, 2009 at 1:14 am

$100– Stock up on canned goods
$1000– Stock up on all supplies/pantry items
$10000– Move to the cabin we have in the woods. This much would cover the cost of moving plus sundry expenses like gas/water deposits and hook up costs. I would also buy a few goats and stock the pond with fish.


jenn baron August 30, 2009 at 8:36 am

How fun!

$100- A gift card to The Fresh Market for my honey.
$1000- Directly into our emergency fund.
$10,000- A nice dinner out ($125) and then the rest to paying down debt.

Thanks for the fun question! 🙂


Lucia August 30, 2009 at 8:49 am

I think that I would
$100 – put it into savings so I can see some progress and it will encourage me to continue
$1000 – put it into our European vacation fund
$10000 – Eliminate all debt except our mortgage. This would more than cover it.

I think I am boring, but I could enjoy my life so much more if our debt were gone (minus the mortgage, and we are making a dent in that as well). Sometimes boring is worth it.


Connie Walsh August 30, 2009 at 8:54 pm

$100 – I would put it away for Christmas
$1000 – fix my car (my 15 year old car may have bit the biscuit, I don’t even know if it is worth reviving). If I can’t revive Suzie Bell then the $1000 would go to Emergency fund
$10,000 put it in our Emergency fund account


AnnaK August 31, 2009 at 3:12 am

$10,000 and you’d take a holiday to London/Japan/Greece/Hawaii? Would you fly?

That seems pretty high-consumer, carbon-intensive to me…

I don’t fly anymore. The supposed ‘right’ that we wealthy people have to zip off for short holidays to all over the world is one of the greatest contributors to climate change, and is an indulgent luxury that our grandparents just didn’t have.

I believe that if we are to take holidays, it should be done locally (or at least in the same country, reached by rail/bus) for short periods of time, and those who want to see the world should take the proper amount of time to do it. Actually go and live there and learn the culture, stay for a few years and become part of that country. Then travel back the slow, low-consumer way.

Check out this group, who travelled from Singapore to Poland without flying to attend the UN climate talks:


AnnaK August 31, 2009 at 3:34 am

$100 – savings
$1000 – $500 savings, $500 to debt repayment
$10000 – $4000 to nullify my consumer debt, $2000 on website design and hosting for a low-budget, awesome charity I know that needs a website, $2000 for solar panels on my mum’s roof and an LED-lighting retrofit of her home, and $2000 savings.


Tammy August 31, 2009 at 7:31 am

$100 -Split between my kids’ savings accounts
$1000 – Pay down some debt
$10,000 – Pay down more debt
I find myself in quite the debt hole and it is more than worrisome so every penny I have is going to debt reduction. I MIGHT take some of the $10K and save it for a vacation next summer – but even then it would be a small amount.
Only recently found your blog and am lovin’ it! Thanks.


Sierra August 31, 2009 at 7:36 am

In reverse order of enthusiasm: I’d use $10K to take my whole family to Argentina to visit our relatives there, and put the rest into savings.

$1000 would pay off my credit card.

$100 – this is tricky. I would like to say I’d save the $100 toward the iphone of my dreams, but the truth is that my income varies a lot, and I fairly frequently come into an extra $100. I don’t know what I do with it, so probably my real answer here is that I’d fritter it away on taking my kids out for ice cream.


Laurie August 31, 2009 at 10:47 pm

My sig-other & I have been unemployed for a year & a half now…but we still enjoy an abundance of blessings! Money is so overrated! LOL!
BUT, this is what I would do if I suddenly had an extra:

$100-dinner & wine at Serious Pie, dessert & latte at Vivace’s

$1,000-purchase several round trip flights from Seattle to St. Louis to span over the next year so I can fly home every few months to see my adult kids & first grandchild (he is due in Oct.!)

$10,000-pay ahead on our mortgage payments so we know we have a roof over our heads for at least 4 more months!


Julie September 4, 2009 at 7:12 pm

I have a patient who has been a cna for 17 years. She would like to become an LPN and I would love to pay her tuition. It would make me extremely happy to see this talented and sweet woman be paid better for the care she takes of elderly people. I would spend the 100 or 1000 bucks on a good pair of shoes and the rest to my roth.


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