Monday, September 19, 2011

What Would You Do With $150?

After selling our car and paying off the last of our non-mortgage debt, we have about $250/month not yet allocated in our budget. We want to put at least $100/month toward increasing our "emergency fund," but it's tempting to use the rest for something more fun.

  • Buy a dog. We took Peter to the petting area on Sunday and met Tippy. We're going again tomorrow morning to play with her.
  • Host an exchange student. My quest to learn German has fizzled somewhat. Hosting a German exchange student would be a great way to learn the language!
  • Enroll Peter in activities. Gymnastics, swimming, music -- you name it, it's available for toddlers. I'm sure it would be enriching and would force me to meet new people.
  • YMCA membership.
  • Buy better food. A larger variety of organic good, more local produce. The planet would thank us. Peter probably would, too.
  • Travel more. Not that my husband has oodles of vacation time (actually, no holidays and only 5 paid vacation days per year), but we could go places on weekends. See cool stuff. Visit Jazzy Mama. (We love Canada.)
Look! I even have a t-shirt!
  • Experience The Arts. We don't really go to museums or concerts, largely (at least on my part) because I don't want to spend a large chunk of my $30/month entertainment budget on something I don't find particularly entertaining. :-)
  • Eat more Chipotle. They're organic, close to our house, and delicious.

What do you think?

There is also a small part of me saying, "If you're not going to use this money to make yourself less financially vulnerable, why don't you donate it? Clearly you don't need it." We give 10% of our pre-tax income, but we also live in a country that is exceedingly wealthy by the standards of much of the rest of the world. $150/month, which is just a bit less than what we spend in gas each month, could make a huge difference for people in need. Tough decisions.


  1. Yay! Yes, come for a visit!
    But I have to warn you, you might never want to leave! Families have it pretty good here in Canada!

    But to answer the question of what I would do with an extra $150/month....

    I would give $50/month to UNICEF or Compassion to help a child in need overseas. I would put the other $100/month into an Education Fund for my children (in case they ever want to attend post-secondary school.)

  2. Get some teeth. For real.

    What do you want to do with it? What was the first thing that came to mind?

    I'm a saver, so I'd save a good portion of it too. For me, the rest would be used to pay down debt, or to save up for an upgrade, like a new couch, extra freezer, more "green" kitchen utensils...I'd also give more to church or buy food for a friend in need. And get diapers for whichever cat seems to find the carpet more appealing than the litter box.

  3. get a dog! do it!!!!!!! peter would love you forever...and i would think you are more amazing than you already are...not to mention you know jeremy wants one :D

  4. @Patti: If we ever move out of NYS, it will be to Ontario. We've done a lot of research and seriously considered moving, but our families are here. I'll let you know if we ever change our minds! :-)

    @Amanda: I didn't even think of that! I could get surgical implants and have the toothiest mouth around!! Good call. And your diaper comment has done nothing to sway me towards getting a pet. :-)
    Honestly, the first thing that came to mind was doing foster care. But we've talked about it and decided we wanted to wait until Peter was older. Maybe we'll talk about it again. He's older than when we discussed it 6 months ago. :-D

    @Courtney: Yes, I know it's you even though you went anonymous. :-) Sorry, OUR dog was not recommended for homes with small children. The only dog who was "safe" just didn't capture our hearts. No dog.

  5. Compassion International is $38 a month! I LOVE getting and sending letters to my little girl in Indonesia! Such a great thing to teach Peter about too as he gets older too. :)

    Then I would add the rest to entertainment - I love me some books from Amazon! (Or I would save the rest).

  6. I've thought about that, too. I like writing letters, so it seems like it would be a good fit! And yes, Amazon is awesome. I try to refrain as much as I can -- thankfully we have a great county library system here!