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What Would You Do With $1000?

Written by Nickel - 34 Comments

The cover story on this month’s Money Magazine asks “What would you do with $1000?” We’ve talked in the past about what you’d do with a major windfall, but I thought it would be interesting to take a look at your options with a smaller windfall.

Here are Money’s suggestions:

In our case, we’d either sock it away in our taxable investment account (we already max out our retirement accounts) or use it to pay down our mortgage. Other solid options that they didn’t list include charity, opening/funding an IRA, preventative maintenance on your house or car, planting shade trees around your house, and so on. Or maybe… Use it for something fun.

Now it’s your turn…

What would you do if $1000 fell into your lap today?

*Note: Money mentions several funds that have low minimum investments, including the Schwab index funds, whose minimums have been dropped to $100. I also like the Vanguard Star Fund for creating a diversified portfolio with as little as $1000.

Published on October 16th, 2009 - 34 Comments
Filed under: Miscellany

About the author: is the founder and editor-in-chief of this site. He's a thirty-something family man who has been writing about personal finance since 2005, and guess what? He's on Twitter!

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34 Responses to “What Would You Do With $1000?”

  1. 1
    wrc1000 Says:

    Fund my 2009 Roth . . .

  2. 2
    Adam Says:

    Add it to my house downpayment fund.

  3. 3
    BG Says:

    I’d use it for maintenance / repairs.

  4. 4
    Matt Says:

    I would throw it at my auto loan. I hate that payment!

  5. 5
    Greg Says:

    I would add it to my emergency fund for some extra padding.

  6. 6
    Ankur Says:

    I would send half to my mutual fund and half to the local food bank.

  7. 7
    Meoip Says:

    I was very happy to see this article, I have about $5,000 extra this year from a side business I run. I want to put it someplace wise. I’m giving 25% to charity. so I really have 3,750 to use. I know paying off a car may not be the best long term investment but that’s where I’m leaning. I’m already putting nicely into retirement and I’m going to get the max tax benefit from my son’s 529 contributions, my appliances are 2 years old so I can’t justify dumping them.

  8. 8
    Lee Says:

    I’d add $500 to my emergency fund, and use the rest to pay down my debt.

  9. 9
    Robert Says:

    I’d toss it into the bank…or then again maybe I’d put it on a horse at the track?

  10. 10
    Matt Says:

    Reinsulate my attic. As the season changes, I can practically FEEL the dollars being sucked through the ceiling.

    Plus, I’d get 30% back as a tax credit, so it’s a doubly good investment. Maybe I should just pony up the $1000…

  11. 11
    Penny Says:

    I’d use it to make my home more comfortable; perhaps keep plugging away at remodeling the basement level? If I had any debt other than a mortgage however, I’d be inclined to toss it at that

  12. 12
    prufock Says:

    Put it all on black and let it ride!

    Just kidding. I’d sit on it for a few days, then probably put the entire sum toward debt repayment.

  13. 13
    Richie Proud Says:

    Not going to lie, if I came across $1,000 that I could just “do whatever I wanted to with it” then I’d buy a brand new Smith & Wesson M&P AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. I’d have to pony up another $400 for an auto-loader to make the rounds cost affordable.

    So it looks like if I come across a random $1,000, I will end up -$400 in debt ;)

  14. 14
    jnc51247 Says:

    I happen to have that $1,000 (didn’t fall in my lap but I’ve been saving a little at a time).
    There are two things I am leaning towards that are not on the list:
    1. A little more food in the cupboards, dry goods packaged for 20 years, it seems to be a sound investment in the future. Our economist friend says inflation will hit us like a train in the next few years -
    2. A few classes at the college for a back up in case of job loss. I have a degree, but that field is a no-hire one in our area.
    When I thought about it, for me, those both seemed like the investment with the best returns over the next few years.
    P.S. Our house and car are paid off and we have a emergency cash fund. Also, we do not carry credit card debt. Otherwise, that’s where the $$ would go.
    Thanks Nickel, you are providing such a great service!

  15. 15
    Shakela Says:

    Pay down my car! Since I have no credit card debt and am a single student, it’s my biggest outstanding debt that I can pay on yet. (Student loans are still in process 3 years to go for my license!)

  16. 16
    Rex Huston Says:

    I would invest it in myself by taking some classes. Also my local NPR station is having their fund drive right now. I would donate some to them.

  17. 17
    Shannon Says:

    $1000 would be nice to just fall in to my lap. All of the things I have heard on here are great ideas…even the AR-15 purchase. I think I would have to figure out a way to turn it in to more money now. I have been reading some books, and listening to teleseminars about building a cash machine. From what I am learning from Loral, you dont need $1000 to fall in your lap, but it would only help get you to your end result more quickly.

  18. 18
    Clf Says:

    I’d put it straight into the house or yard. Probably the best dollar I’ve ever spent was on our property.

  19. 19
    The Biz of Life Says:

    Get out of the falling dollar and invest in emerging markets (VWO).

  20. 20
    Dan Says:

    A Smith & Wesson M&P AR-15 semi-automatic rifle cost only $1000? I know a few banks I can take it to to get a rebate. I think we own some of these banks.

  21. 21
    Bobby Says:

    Ticket to Bangkok. I won’t remember the $1000 in twenty years; I’ll remember a trip to Bangkok.

  22. 22
    Greg Says:

    The last debt standing, our mortgage….

  23. 23
    kenyantykoon Says:

    spend like 15% of it and the rest i would put it in my investment portfolio or invest it in one of my businesses

  24. 24
    John DeFlumeri Jr Says:

    Buy airline tickets and take a short vacation!
    And buy flowers for my wife!

    John DeFlumeri Jr

  25. 25
    Grant Baldwin Says:

    Good post Nickel…I posted about this same article the other day but took a different slant on it. The subtitle was “Here are 68 of the smartest options,” so I made the point that with that many choices, most people will just end up doing nothing. Sad, but true.


  26. 26
    fairy dust Says:

    Sock it away in a CD for the cruise we’re already planning for Jan 2011 :)

  27. 27
    gr8tful Says:

    I would add it to our emergency fund – we are always nervous about our job security and think we need even more cash while we wait for our NW to re-emerge. We are late 50’s and mid-60’s and are obviously extending our retirement – it is SCARY.

  28. 28
    Stephanie Says:

    I’d use it to pay down my student loans or car loan. I tend not to spend money if I can help it, so anything that reduces my debt/increases my net worth is the way to go for me.

  29. 29
    Matt Jabs Says:

    If we were to come upon an extra unexpected $1,000 we would use 100% of it to pay down on our Lending Club loan. Period.

  30. 30
    Kathleen Says:

    Put it on the mortgage – it’s fixed for 5 years and I can only repay up to $20,000 extra in that time, so I’m trying to pay it off as soon as possible (already $5k down in 4 months on top of scheduled repayments!)

  31. 31
    Davon Says:

    I would send an extra car payment $300, spend $100 on food for pantry, $100 mad money cash fund-for life’s little nuances, and the remaining $500 into my emergency fund.

  32. 32
    Tim Says:

    Anything that lowers regular monthly expenses. The key is how low can you get your monthly bills down to. Once they are low enough not to be a problem, you can relax.

  33. 33
    John Says:

    I would put it towards my mortgage to get it closer to eliminating PMI. I plan to reach 80% L/V in Feb/March 2010 and thus save $60/month on top of the interest saved.

  34. 34
    dalia Says:

    i would go shopping! :)

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