Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Money is not the key to happiness

Ok readers.  I need some advice.  So many of you have been wonderful in the past to offer me words of wisdom.  I'm asking for you to please send me a comment telling me what you would do if you got $500 that you weren't expecting.
Here's why I'm asking:
Ben spent all day on Saturday working for his grandma.  It was backbreaking labor (literally) and he spent almost 12 hours clearing out the dead trees around her mountain cabin.  As payment, she gave him $500.  And since our budget is tight right now, its been months since we've had any sort of money to spend on fun things.  The money is literally burning a hole in Ben's pocket.  Although he earned the money, he wants to spend it in a way that the whole family can enjoy.
Yesterday, he kept asking me what he should spend it on.  My immediate reaction was that he should buy a road bike.  He's been wanting one for months.  Recently, my brother offered to sell his to Ben for the price of $500.  That seemed like the most likely way to spend it - like it was meant to be.  But Ben doesn't want to spend it all on himself.  So, I offered some other suggestions, such as:
a)  put it in our money-market account and save for a rainy day
b)  make an extra large mortgage payment
c)  buy light fixtures for the basement we've been trying to finish for months
d)  go golfing
e)  buy some new clothes
He didn't like any of my suggestions.  He asked what I would spend it on (not counting boring ways like paying bills or saving it).  I told him that I would buy Gracelin a bed (right now she sleeps on just a mattress).  So, that is now what he wants to buy.  Only now I feel badly - that was my "dream" scenario - not what I really think the money should be spent on.  Ben's dream is an xBox 360.
Needless to say, we've reached a stalemate.  In fact, our debate got quite heated last night.  I really wish he'd just do whatever he wants with the money, but somehow I have to be involved in the decision.  So, that is why I am asking for help.  Please take a second and post where you would spend an extra $500 that you weren't expecting.  Give me some great ideas!  Thanks in advance!


Kristina said...

Honestly I think it's a good thing that he's checking with you about it. Some guys would just spend the money on something stupid while there are bills that aren't getting paid. But... you guys pay all your bills and you don't use credit cards so I'm thinking you don't have any small debt that could be repaid with $500 so you might as well do something fun./

I would go away for a weekend- either with the girls or without, it doesn't matter. $500 would get a room at a nice hotel and a fancy dinner. Or it could get a room at a budget hotel someplace fun near an amusment park or something that the girls would get a kick out of.

What kind of things do you like to do together- do you like camping? Get some higher end camping equipment. You like hiking together- what about some new hiking gear. That kind of thing.

I'm getting the sense he wants to have some fun with it and while fixing the basement, making a bigger mortgage payment and even doing Gracelin's room are all worthwhile projects- doing something fun isn't such a bad idea either.

Good luck!!

(And yeah- I'm with you on the tantrums. Don't worry- they do figure things out, but you MUST ignore them. By pay attention to her you're actually rewarding the bevahiour and she'll keep doing it. Toddlers... gotta love them!!) TTYL

And I don't know why the private blog isn't working... I wouldn't worry too much about it, I'm not really posting there anyway. I'll check it out one of these days and see if I can figure out what's going on. TTYL

Jess T said...

I'd save half, because you never know what might come up, and have fun with the rest. :)

BTW-I'm going to add you to my list! :)

Kriss said...

Have you found a bed you like for Gracelin?? Maybe if could be that you spend $250 on the bed and then he gets to keep/save/spend $250 on himself. If he really wants to spend it on the family and you can't come up on a way to spend it, you could always put each thing in a hat and draw. Christmas is coming up, three months away actually. You might save it, let it earn a little interest in the bank, and at christmas go buy something really cool for the kids. Maybe one of those ride on two passenger Barbie jeeps or a nice big swing set. Santa would be the bomb at your house this year. You could also save it and let it be the beginning of an awesome vacation, maybe plan to add to it every month. Sorry that the $500 has been hard to decide how to spend. :) kriss

Chelsea said...

What a great dilemma to have! And how nice of Ben to want to share w/the whole family. I don't have any great ideas - except to say don't get the xBox. Eric got one a couple of months ago and our leisure time with him has been significantly reduced. I call it his mistress.

The Scotts said...

I am a random blogger and just read your dilema. Have you looked at Ikea for a bed? They have a really cute black rod iron one I think the twin is around $100 and a full is around $140. Anyways they are very cute if it is your style. Good Luck!