if money were no object

– Posted in: other, travel, work

Lately it seems that life’s finest pleasures are restricted by a limited cash flow. Never before has this stopped me from doing what I love best: dinners with friends, travels, concerts, the occasional splurge in a favorite store. I was always able to afford what my heart desired with a quick swipe of my American Express card. After years of this behavior and delaying payment (a dream come true for the folks at credit card companies who thrive on late payment and finance fees), I have made it my mission to pay off the bills once and for all and am proud to say that the remaining balance has slowly dwindled over the past few months. Once it’s all over, I think I’m going to close this account for good. Their rewards program sucks anyway.

It hasn’t been an easy road, but it’s one I know I don’t walk alone. I haven’t received a raise in five years, I pay much more than I should on everyday purchases due to my proximity to one of the most expensive cities in the world, and I seem to get slammed when times are especially rough by something that is necessary. Then there’s the whole cost of living increase we see each year.

But I know so many have it much worse than I do. I see it all around me every day. Coworkers who are forced to move back home with their parents; young parents who appear on a buddy’s doorstep until they have saved up enough for a nest egg; and friends who have sold their houses, cars, and other prized possessions simply to stay afloat.

I have started playing the lottery more frequently and have been busy behind the scenes in search of side work until I win that lump sum (ha!). I often fantasize about what I would do if money were no object. Here are just a few things I would indulge in:

  • Pay off the bills and do something nice for the wonderful folks who helped me along the way. I am eternally grateful for the many wonderful friends and my supportive family who came through when I needed them the most. Wouldn’t it be kickass if we could all take a week and party in the Caribbean together? Or maybe you and your loved one could enjoy an all expenses paid spa trip because hey! I just won $12 million. If I ever wake up a millionaire, you just let me know how you’d like me to repay you.
  • A trip around the world. Obvious choice, right? Travel is always on my mind because I wish I had the funds to afford a vacation in Europe. I have many friends/relatives I haven’t seen in ages and sometimes I experience a bit of guilt because of this. At the same time, there are so many destinations I have yet to step foot in. I have dreams of a safari in Africa, an overwater bungalo in French Polynesia, and an ashram in India. Bryan and I have started saving up for a trip to India, and so far we have a whopping $60. At this rate, India is in our future for 2017.
  • A villa in Italy. What a dream this would be. How I’d love to wake up, ride a bicycle to the nearest local store for the freshest bread and tomatoes imaginable, and sit under a lemon tree to get some writing done. I should add that I do not know how to ride a bike, rarely eat tomatoes, and am not even sure that lemon trees are indigenous to this region of Italy. But this is my fantasy so let’s just roll with it.
  • Animal sanctuary in my backyard. This is something I think about quite often. My heart aches whenever I hear about any kind of animal abuse and I think it would be wonderful to open a rehab center and surround myself with furry friends every day. There is nothing quite like the love of a beloved pet. My dog Linus died last October and I think of him always. Since then, my parents adopted the sweetest griffin (named Pedro or “Mouse”) and it makes me excited for the day I’ll have one or 50 of my own.
  • Quit corporate forever and work on blogging full time. This is actually at the top of the list for me. I have been working in Manhattan for nearly ten years now and each year, I tell myself this is it. What keeps me here? The security, the health insurance, and many of my sweet coworkers. But… this isn’t my passion. Writing is. I don’t want to sit in a cubicle from 9-5 and have to deal with the usual nonsense that exists in every corporate office in every corner of the world.

also I've kind of always wanted to do this

What would you do if you won the lottery or fell into a large sum of money?

30 Comments… add one
Blond Duck July 25, 2012, 12:03 PM

What I’m doing now…trying to establish my novel writing and improving my blog. I’m planning a huge new overhaul…I’m going to check in with studio 30 and see if there’s any good designers they recommend! I keep meaning to get more involved but right now I’m fighting freelance jobs. Funny, now that I want to focus on my writing I get work… but I’m not going to look a gift horse in the mouth!

Kristin July 25, 2012, 12:14 PM

Oh man, I’d do many of the same things as you. Travel is a big one, take the family all over the place, and pay off bills for my in-laws who have allowed us to live with them for the last 7 years, quit the day job. I’d also invest in an AHMAZING camera, because at that point, I could. πŸ™‚ $3k? Sure, why not? πŸ™‚

(FL) Girl with a New Life July 25, 2012, 12:37 PM

I was asked this question recently so I’ve got my answer already prepped. I’d buy a house on the water and hire a maid.

I grew up with very little, so life has trained me in the art of making due, though my circumstances have changed. Kudos to you for moving toward a positive lifestyle change. Cheers to finding beauty in the little uncomplicated things. I have no doubt you will reach your goals.

Misty July 25, 2012, 1:01 PM

i LOVE your list!!!! It’s perfect… PERFECT! IF money were no object I would spend it on life as well. helping spread love… travel, quality time… forget fancy cars and jewelry.

Kristen July 25, 2012, 1:31 PM

If I ran into a large sum of money…. I would buy our family a house a bit better suited to our family. We live in a 1200 sq ft home right now. If Alexander needs a wheel chair… I don’t know where it will fit. In fact… his stander is currently in a corner because it takes up a ton of room (with the gait trainer and the other equipment.) We just need a bit more space. Then…. I would give it to other families with special needs – those families that need help. Because I know what it is like.

shannon July 25, 2012, 2:25 PM

i would buy a house, first thing. i have never lived in one, and my kid has grown up in an apartment. i just want a house, a nice normal sized house with a decent yard and a pool with a deck that can fit a couple people. once i’m done kissing the walls of my new house i would like to go somewhere like Bali for a month or so, and then i would come back and help some people out (promises have been made in the case of a lottery win πŸ˜‰ and then i would find things close to my heart to help out with fat lumps o’ cash, mostly hungry kids and mistreated animals, prolly….sigh…this is one of my favorite games…

Mark July 25, 2012, 3:07 PM

I’d buy some wine that doesn’t come out of a box.

@bluenotebacker July 25, 2012, 5:05 PM

What comes to mind immediately are the 1st and last items in your list: paying off bills and quitting my 8-5 corporate grind.

I’d buy a house here in my hometown because I love it here. I’d likely do a lot of charitable things for friends and family, but I’d also travel, mostly to Europe, possibly Australia. I think I’d like to attend the Clarion West Writers Workshop next year in Seattle, WA.

I’d tuck away enough for my daughter to go to the college of her choice and to be able to one day do all the things I’d be doing if money was no object.

I’d get a dog and pay for a personal trainer at the gym. I’d take guitar lessons and spend as much time as I wanted every day on blogging. I’d finally devote time to writing a novel.

Krysten July 25, 2012, 5:21 PM

I’d pay off debt, by the house out from under my parents, go on a cruise with Izzy and get us both new cars!

And I’d quit working to write full time, both blogging and working on a novel.

keishua July 25, 2012, 6:06 PM

Great question. Honestly, i am not sure what i would do. i’ve never had any super big dreams. i think i would want to buy an apartment/condo, help out my family/friends and others in need but not sure what i would do with my time. i need to muse on this…

Karen Peterson July 25, 2012, 8:57 PM

I like your plans. They all sound awesome.

I think the big thing I would do if I had a large sum of money is to move to buy a private island.

Alison July 25, 2012, 9:40 PM

When you hit the jackpot, make sure you visit me in Malaysia, ok? xo

Brian July 25, 2012, 10:00 PM

I’d actually pay off my mortgage with that kind of sum, and then just freelance work since increasingly it seems working in an office sucks a lot. Traveling is an obvious choice too!

Alison July 25, 2012, 10:40 PM

When you do your world tour, make sure Malaysia is a pit stop, yes? xo

Bryan July 26, 2012, 7:59 PM

Would it be cheesy to add to that list purchasing a huge plot of land in Holland near Oude Tonge (of course). And building a nice home for our children and puppies while doing our best to live completely off the land…..? Man O Man my ol skool hippie mindset is shining through right now…..

Nicole July 26, 2012, 9:07 PM

The part about Italy cracked me up. You would be able to afford bicycle lessons, so the dream is still alive!

I think about this all the time. Course, it’d help if I bought a ticket now and then… lol. This list is based on PowerBall or MegaMillions, assuming it’d be like $130 million.

1. I’d set my family up: Give my ‘rents a cool mil or two so they can retire comfortably. Give my brother enough money to open his own gym, and my sister enough money to open up a storefront for her catering. Set the kids up for college funds.

2. Travel, travel, travel. I’d just go for like, a year. All around the world, wherever, whenever. No itinerary. No Perillo. Just… go.

3. Come back and find a nice place for Team Tigerlily and MojoPup to settle down. A quaint little ranch with a decent amount of land, a pool (Mojie loves swimming!) or maybe lakefront… Nothing ostentatious. We’re not ‘big house’ people.

4. His and her motorcycles. πŸ™‚

5. Write, and keep teaching, but just for the love of it. I’d donate whatever I earned from that to charity.

Kassie July 26, 2012, 10:11 PM

That is awesome that you’ve decided to pay off your debt! You can totally do it. Thanks for stopping by on my SITS day!

Sorta Southern Single Mom July 27, 2012, 10:32 AM

Buy a beach house and be a SAHM.

Kudos to you! I am debt free except for my mortgage and now my car. It’s how I’ve been able to manage as a single mom!

Mrs. Match July 27, 2012, 9:21 PM

First off, great job tackling that debt! It’s not fun, but you will feel SO good when you’re done. Match and I are trying to do the same, not with credit card debt but with our mortgage, student loans, and car payment. Our goal is to become debt free in the next 10 years. I play the lotto once in awhile, and I’m always signing up for free sweepstakes.
I daydream all the time about what I’d do. Pay off all our debt, then pay off our parents’ mortgages, close family, and then maybe go on a big family trip, and of course a long overdue real honeymoon to New Zealand. Sigh…maybe someday! Oh, and I highly recommend blogging full time. Message me if you want any tips for how to make some extra money with the blog.

Blond Duck July 28, 2012, 2:19 PM

Did you see that SITS posts on making $ blogging?

Motherhood on the Rocks July 29, 2012, 11:45 AM

I’d move to Hawaii. But a villa in Italy sounds good too! πŸ™‚

Pretzel Thief July 29, 2012, 9:20 PM

Well, I’d do pretty much all the things you’d do. True story. Heh heh. Except for the animal sanctuary because that’s a huge responsibility I can’t see myself taking on at the moment (but I love the idea and I loooove animals, DUH). I’d also buy a beach house (::sigh::) (or a house in the hills OVERLOOKING the ocean, eeeep!) and an apartment in Paris, too. I’d buy craploads of gorge dresses from Modcloth and Shabby Apple (bwah!)…I’d go to the hairdresser once a week, just because. πŸ˜‰ I’d buy Yogi a grand piano (he’s got a lovely digital piano, but still: grand! :P)…
…there are too many things to list, but it’s always fun to think about, huh? XOXO

(FL) Girl with a New Life July 30, 2012, 11:40 AM

I stopped by to vote for you again today! Happy Monday.

Stephanie @ PinkPeacockDesignStudio July 31, 2012, 3:26 PM

I would buy houses in all different parts of the world. That way, no matter what time of year it was, I could jet off to somewhere where I could either: ski (I don’t actually ski, but that’s not the point!), sit on a warm white sand beach, go out on the town, or retreat to the woods. That’s all I ask. That’s no too much, is it?

Gia August 2, 2012, 5:07 PM

One day, one day, one day – I’m sure you’ll be able to do all of these things! πŸ™‚

I have no idea what I’d do but I think it would probably involve a lot of shoes….. :/

Dawnee August 9, 2012, 12:29 AM

Oh my gosh, my husband and I talk about this kind of thing all the time!!! In fact, this sounds like a fun thing to blog about! Maybe it will help me get out of my funk. One thing I’ve always wanted to do if money were no object is purchase a large piece of land (I mean REAL large) and build homes for everyone in my family…. creating a cool community that the people I love the most can live together and play together in. We’d have a courtyard and everything would be connected with cobblestone paths. πŸ™‚ And…. I am so sorry I haven’t been around lately to keep up. For some reason (4 grandchildren, chronic pain, emotionally blood sucking entities AND an upcoming wedding) I’ve been very wary about being social. I think about you so much though! <3

Rebecca Rider August 11, 2012, 10:55 AM

Great post!! I would do exactly what I’m doing now – blogging and taking care of my son – except maybe I’d do it in a mansion with a jacuzzi!! πŸ˜€

Adrian August 11, 2012, 7:04 PM

Funny you should ask. Believe it or not, this actually happened to me. I found out that a guitar my father had left me was worth almost $50,000. It was the most amazing, surreal experience – I was shaking my head in disbelief for weeks afterwards. But it was the most wonderful feeling of freedom to be able to buy literally whatever I wanted. But I was sensible about it. I paid off my bills, I bought a new (used) vehicle that I needed, replaced our 10 year old furniture, even put a bit aside in the bank.

Glamamom August 11, 2012, 8:26 PM

I’ve contemplated this more than I’d like to admit and if I won the lottery, I wouldn’t tell anyone and try to avoid making any major moves that indicated I was wealthy. I realize it’s public but from what I’ve heard and read, once people know you have money you didn’t earn, they never stop coming out of the woodwork with hands out. Sad but true.

I’m totally with you on the traveling and charity though!

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