I was listening to the radio on my drive home (in my paid off car, of course) just last week and heard an interesting advertisement for a contest the radio station was running. If you called in at a certain time you could win a chance to win (not straight out winning) a trip to Germany, a trip to Orlando or $500 cash. They then played a sound bite of someone freaking out when they won a $500 cash prize from a previous contest.
Since I have won multiple radio contests in the past, I wondered what I’d do if I won the same contest. At one time in my life, I might have been that person. I might have freaked out and been screaming, jumping up and down with joy, because I had an extra $500 to my name. Today it wouldn’t be the same story though. $500 wouldn’t change my life.
Why Winning $500 Wouldn’t Change My Life
Ok, so it would technically change my life, but not in any major way. The reason I’m confident that it wouldn’t change my life is because I’m on financially solid ground. I’m caught up or ahead on all of my bills. I have a decent emergency fund that I’m comfortable with. I’m not living paycheck to paycheck and we haven’t stretched our budget to the limits.
With all of those things nailed down pretty well, $500 just wouldn’t have a major affect on us. It wouldn’t catch us up on our rent to keep us in our home or give us $500 to pay off that nasty credit card balance. It wouldn’t turn our electric back on or prevent us from having our cars repossessed. So what would we do with an extra $500?
What I’d Do with an Extra $500
Sure, it’d be nice to have an extra $500 and, don’t get me wrong, I’d be happy about it. We’d like throw it toward my fiancee’s student loan debt and it would move our pay off date up a bit. Other than that, we could spend it on ourselves, but I doubt we’d find anything worth splurging for that would be more important that knocking the debt down.
What If I Won Only $100 Instead?
Then I got around to thinking, would I have changed what we’d do with the money we won if it was a smaller amount? What if I only won $100 on the radio contest? After giving it some thought, I decided I’d probably do the same thing and pay the student loan debt down. However, I’m guessing a lot of others would splurge with the smaller amount of money than with a larger amount like $500.
What If I Won Even More Money?
Naturally, because I considered a smaller amount, I wanted to consider a larger amount of money too. What if I won $1,000? Would that change how i dealt with the money that I won? I think at this point I actually would say yes, even though it seems a bit counter intuitive.
Instead of throwing it all towards the student loan debt, I think I’d set aside a small amount, such as $50, to splurge on a decent dinner out or something similar. Why? I don’t know exactly, but I feel like $500 wasn’t quite enough to take a small bit out of but, for whatever reason, $1,000 was big enough. Hey, at least I’m an honest PF Blogger!
The Ideal Thing To Do With Money You’ve Won
In my eyes, the ideal thing to do with money is to further yourself as much as you can. In most cases, this would mean treating the money like any other money you’d earn from your job or any other source. Put it toward your goals, whether that is paying down debt, contributing toward retirement or saving for the next big chapter of your life.
So, what would you do if you won $100 today? How about $500? $1,000? Would it change your life, or would it just be more money in the bank? Let me know! I’m interested to see everyone’s answers and their rationale for what they’d do with the money. Be honest! I don’t care what you do with it, I’m just more interested to see how everyone would react!