Muted fantasies: An open thread on a stolen idea

The Billfold asks several people what they’d do with a $20,000 windfall, and the result is predictable — the majority are thinking primarily of paying off debt. My impulse is similar. I’d put half of it into savings, almost just for the novelty of it, and use the rest to do some combination of paying off my credit cards and buying certain consumer goods. Maybe I’d get cable! I’ve gone without for three years now, but I miss it. And how much does a nice upright piano cost? Though it’d be a huge pain to move it…

What about you, dear readers? In what depressingly utilitarian ways would you mostly respond to a financial windfall?

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9 Responses to “Muted fantasies: An open thread on a stolen idea”

  1. mattintoledo Says:

    In reality, I’d pay off my student loans. If that’s not depressing enough, I’d almost certainly use that saved monthly payment and redirect it toward my mortgage. A year of that, tops, and we’d be able to refinance!

  2. Mikhail Emelianov Says:

    You can get one of those decent half-sized pianos (console pianos) for $200 from people who bought it for their kids who never played and then pay a tuner to tune it up.

  3. ben Says:

    I guess I would save most of the money if I got $20,000? Maybe I would replace some of my shitty furniture or buy a laptop or something. Probably save.

  4. Stephen Keating Says:

    Excluding the obvious debt reduction/savings route, I would use the money to spend a month in France and/or Germany, really immersing myself in the language(s). I can’t think of a better way to have a really good time, drink copious amounts of good, cheap booze, and further my academic goals. Three-fer!

  5. cruth01 Says:

    I was thinking about this recently, and I wouldn’t use the money to pay debt–that would be just like burning it. Travel, drugs, books, booze, cds, maybe a decent car.

  6. Josh K-sky Says:

    Home improvement (HVAC, redo the kitchen). Travel with a babysitter (or a babysitter budget). Buy some time to get back on the horse, writing-wise. Probably buy some expensive versions of things I already have, like the absolutely gorgeous-sounding $900 ukulele I strummed last week. Start the baby’s 529.

    Mikhail is right — there’s a brisk trade in free pianos, you just have to pay to move it and tune it.

  7. Justin Ashworth Says:

    Mostly student debt. (Blah.) And some decent furniture. (Much less blah.) Something not yet mentioned: extended surf trip, probably Costa Rica — a twofer: work on Spanish and, well, surf! (Entirely un-blah.)


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