What would you do with a windfall?

by Rhett

What would you do with an extra (after tax) $2500 month?

Totebaggers have kids no longer in day care, kids aging out of the need for a nanny, some even graduating from college. Others are getting new jobs, promotions, etc. What are some of the things you’re doing or would like to do with these newly available funds?

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Choosing a Vacation Destination Based on its Economy

by Honolulu Mother

Vox put together this Vacation Index showing which countries are the best – and worst – bargains for vacationers at the moment. According to the article, it’s not intended to compare bang for the buck in absolute terms, but rather to show which countries are cheaper or more expensive than they usually are. Do you think the index is an accurate representation of that? Would you consider choosing a vacation destination based on it?

Our next vacation is to the very worst bargain listed, and yet the exchange rate is still better than it was the last time I was there. I think the index is looking at a relatively short-term timescale.

Graduation costs

by Grace aka costofcollege

This time of year many families are celebrating graduations, whether preschool, elementary school, middle school, high school, or college.  The costs can mount up, as discussed in this CollegeConfidential thread.

Cap and gowns, diplomas, yearbooks, photos, rings, invitations, dinners, parties, travel, and gifts are some of the typical expenditures.  If your child is receiving honors of various types, costs for awards dinners can mount up.  One parent with twins complained she would be spending several hundred dollars for those.  Other end-of-year expenditures like recitals and proms can also strain family budgets.

How lavish is your spending for graduation celebrations?  What is common among your friends and relatives?  What about spending for other types of milestones, like First Communions or bat/bar mitzahs?

Which live events are worth the money?

by L

EXPERIENCES. Which experiences are “worth it” to you? Totebaggers may disagree on whether the following are worth spending money on:

  • Concerts (non-classical).  For this Totebagger, concerts are uniformly not worth it:  too expensive, too LOUD, and too late at night.  I have only been to a handful during my life, and found the Depeche Mode one the best.  (I saw U2 in 2001, and Bono was unfortunately flat during many of the songs!)
  • Concerts (classical).  Definitely worth it, but at choral concerts I find myself wishing I was performing instead of watching/listening.
  • Opera – Nope, unless one of my friends is performing.
  • Ballet – yes for the Nutcracker or similar fairy tale; for the modern ballets, I would go more if I had a non-DH friend to go with.
  • Broadway musicals.  Worth it!  I plan to see “Hamilton” later this year.
  • Plays.  YAWN, except for comedies (“Noises Off” and similar).
  • Live sports.  Pass, other than the Red Sox once a year.
  • Kid shows (Disney on Ice and similar).  We have so far managed to avoid going to these!

What about other Totebaggers? I know some of you are bigger sports fans than I! What is the most you have ever spent on a live event ticket? My max is $150.

Powerball fantasy

by Finn

With the huge Powerball jackpot having put lotteries into the spotlight recently, perhaps we can indulge in a bit of fantasy.

What would you do if you won a lottery? Would you take the lump sum, or the annuity? Would you keep working? Buy a new house? Pay off your mortgage? Invest it, and if so, how?

Obviously, one factor in the answer to these questions is the size of the prize. What would you do with, say, a $1M (lump sum) prize? A $10M (lump sum) prize? A $100M or larger (annuitized, less if lump sum), prize?

At a more mundane level, do you buy lottery tickets? If so, do you buy regularly, or just when the jackpot reaches a certain point?

To splurge or not to splurge?

by Grace aka costofcollege

Some questions to ponder:

  1. What is worth splurging on?
  2. What were splurges that were NOT worth it?
  3. What was the splurge that got away?  The one you regretted not buying?

A splurge doesn’t necessarily have to be exorbitantly expensive.  It could be a small luxury that you feel is worth the few extra bucks.

Some examples of splurges that are totally worth it might include water-view hotel rooms, a housekeeper, or premium quilted toilet paper.  Some examples of splurges that were not worth it might be expensive meals that disappointed, fancy dining room furniture that is rarely used, or a treadmill that ends up serving mainly as a clothes hanger.  The splurge that got away may be that fixer-upper home in the San Francisco Bay area that you passed on a few years ago.

Here are some of mine:
Splurges that are worth it:  Aisle seats on a plane and non-stop flights.
Splurges that were not worth it:  Upgrade to business class.
Splurges that got away:  That cute gemstone necklace I saw in a Brooklyn boutique but I thought was too expensive.  I still think about it and I’ve never seen anything I like quite as much.

This post was inspired by these CollegeConfidential threads:

Stuff worth SPLURGING for

Splurges That Weren’t Worth It

The one that got away or what I should have splurged on