What to do with my windfall

February 26, 2011 at 8:16 am (spending habits)

So my settlement check (between $7K-$8K) will be arriving soon and I’ve been pondering receiving this unexpected windfall. I knew I’d probably get something out of this lawsuit, but never planned on receiving the money, nor expected anything out of it. I am doing fine on my own, paying down my debt, keeping to a budget, and minimizing extraneous expenses. There’s a part of me, and quite a sizeable part, that wants to use $7K to go straight to my debt (which would bring it into the $19K range!!!), and then use whatever was leftover to splurge. On something.

But what? I’d like to take mr. maven out for a nice dinner in the city. Maybe this amazing tapas restaurant with a good stiff single malt scotch (or two) and their el diablo chocolate desert (it looks like the borg cube). With a movie and popcorn afterwards. Or maybe a dinner at Jazz Alley? Jazz entertainment up close and personal, a bottle of wine, dinner… For me, splurging on a meal is like spending $100 for 2 people. If I make it something special, I could see spending $150-$200. But beyond that? I have no idea what I’d want to use the money for! I’ve gotten pretty much all the stuff I really need.

What do I not have that I’ve been salivating over? I have all my expensive cookware (le creuset pots ain’t cheap!) and kitchen motorized tools. I did talk about getting a $350 ice cream maker, but since I’m now in dietmaven mode, I’m not really wanting to have a machine that makes fatty non-nutritous, weightgain-inducing indulgent food! How about some nice new clothes? Um, I have enough jeans and shirts for work and home. I have all the exercise clothes I currently need that I am willing to purchase, and to be honest, I expect to be losing 5+ lbs a month for quite a while. Clothes are a poor investment right now! I could use some expensive workout bras ($50 a pop), but I have 2 that I am currently not using since they are just a “tad” too small. I will lose weight and fit into them soon, so spending more is a waste.

I do need some new sneakers. That’s $100, but there’s room in my budget for that. Hmm. Art? Nothing that I currently want by my favorite sculptor (she’s between clay firings right now anyway). A trip somewhere? I suppose I could afford a trip up to Whistler up in BC for several days of snowshoeing and hiking. I need to renew my passport though, it expired on my birthday last year.

So the things I am already planning on spending money on in the next few months:

Renew my passport: $75-100? (no idea on cost, but need a new photo, too)
New sneakers: $100 (in March)
New jeans: Planning on going to the thrift store this weekend ($30 or so) – I just got rid of 2 pairs that were serviceable but fit me poorly and didn’t look all that attractive. They are hanging a little too much now that I’ve lost about 10 lbs, and it’s time to get rid of ’em!
Fixing up my old all-purpose bike: $60 (new tires, new inner tubes, probably nothing else but elbow grease) – I’m comfortable on this bike, and I want to go for some big rides this summer. If I have something I’ll ride, I’m much more likely to go out for a 2 hour ride on the weekend than without it. It’s part of my exercise goals to have more non-gym activities to do.
Fixing up my “new” roadbike: I got my first roadbike (used from the ’80s) 2 years ago and have been too scared to ride it! It needs new handlebars + moving the brakelines up to the handlebars from the riser (reaching down to shift gears when I’m really not very stable or comfortable on the bike is really scary – it’s an oldschool bike!) – this will make me able to use it safely and confidently. Whether or not I can adjust to the position of a road bike is yet to be determined. But once I get in shape and lose some in my belly area, I hope it that hunched over position becomes more comfortable. We shall see!
New tires for my truck (2 front ones) – already in the budget; I’ve saved $300 for it already, need to do in the next few weeks

Hmm. It’s wierd. When I don’t have money, I want all this STUFF. If I wait and think about it (since I don’t have money for it, as all my income is already earmarked until the last week of the month), eventually the desire wains and I realize that I don’t really need it. But then when I have money, I can’t figure out what to use it for. If I can think of something, I feel like I’ve been working at trying to spend money I don’t need to spend! Does that make sense?

What would you do if you came into a windfall?



  1. Bank CD Expert said,

    If I came into a windfall I would pay off a big chunk of my current debt, buy a couple of nice things (nice dinner like you where saying, clothes, accessories) and invest the rest to make the money grow a little. Hope you make up your mind and get to spend your money in the above goals 🙂

  2. Laura said,

    WOW! A windfall. I think you should use some for pleasure, some for debt repayment and some for savings.

  3. debtmaven said,

    Bank: Good ideas! I am going to do all, but not invest, but pay off debt first. I feel like that’s more of a priority for me. As soon as it’s all paid, however, that’s another story!

    Laura: that’s definitely a great idea. I think I should probably refund my EF fully. No more piddly, any leftover unused free spending? Good idea. I think I will fund the EF fully, then pay the remainder (of 7K) to debt, and whatever is over 7K as fun money. A big fun dinner out, and some holdover money for something fun later on maybe… Not sure yet how much it will be.

    Thank you both!

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