Tell Us Tuesday: Sudden Windfalls

by Kelly · 14 comments

in Tell Us Tuesday

tell-us-tuesday1The topic of today’s Tell Us Tuesday post is sudden windfalls. Imagine that you get a lump sum of money, and that however much it is is enough to be surprising. What would you do with it? How much money would it take to make a difference in your life?


1 Frugaller April 28, 2009


I had this recently happen to me. Unfortunately my grandmother passed away, she left me with a great windfall of £12k. Now with £21,221 of debt I really REALLY resented throwing the money into the debt well.

I paid off my overdraft – paid £3600 into an ISA and kept the rest ready just in case. It is just as well I did as I have just lost my job and need some readies to tide me over until the next job.

So, although it isn’t all in the black hole. I am down to under £16k of debt and have some savings. Everything is managable.

I also have a beautiful print that I bought specifically with the idea that I wanted something to remind me of Grandma.

Fru xxx

2 Amanda @ Mommy's Idea Book April 28, 2009

First I would give God his tithe. Then depending on how much it was, I would pay off my house if I could. And/Or maybe put some back for my kids’ college.

Amanda @ Mommy’s Idea Book´s last blog post..Tips for Family Vacation Planning, Part 1: Deciding Where to Go

3 Melissa April 28, 2009

While its not a windfall, my parents extended me a zero interest loan payable whenever when I purchased my house, which enabled me to put 20% down. I was discussing repayment with my parents and my plan to write them a lump sum check each Christmas for the next four years. My father instead told me to pay down my mortgage and to repay the loan out of my equity when I sell the house someday.

So…looks like I’m using my “windfall” to pay down my mortgage!

4 no name today thanks April 28, 2009

This did happen to us. My mother in law sold her house, and each of her kids got a lump sum. Even though I was expecting it, I was still startled when I checked my balance at the bank machine a few days before payday. I wanted to buy some stuff that could wait that day instead of my day off the next week. I was expecting less than $500 in the account, instead, WOW, $30K!!

We paid off every bit of debt except the car & house. Those expenses were budgeted out of our current income, paying off the other debts improved our cash flow & there’s tax reasons to not pay off the house. The car was nearly paid off, so might as well continue as planned.

We paid cash for a second car (used). We bought some someday items for the house, cause someday was here: window treatments for the downstairs, a complete set each of dishes, cutlery & glasses. Ohmygosh no bedsheets over that extra-big window in the living room! Tableware that matches! We had storage system built into the garage & cleaned the garage & paid someone to deal with getting rid of the junk. We probably spent a third to a half of the cash. Considering we were already working on paying off debt, the lump sum probably brought our financial plans forward by 3-4 years. We were out of debt a year sooner than planned, so began saving sooner, on top of the lump not spent.

We reconsidered our car & home insurance policies. Improving the coverage but raising the deductibles, paying less overall.

Since then, we haven’t used credit cards at all. The improved cash flow meant we could now save money monthly. Major purchases happen when the money is available in savings or when a CD needs reinvesting. Home improvements continue bit by bit. Travel to see family across the U.S. & in England is budgeted for.

Having grown up in the sort of home where money was always an issue; and having been in debt all my adult life, I find this new lifestyle where I can afford things odd. NICE, but odd. Sometimes I have a problem remembering that I dont have to pinch my pennies quite so hard. I still prefer to wait for a bargain, but it’s not the end of the world if something is needed before a bargain turns up, I don’t have to do without unless I choose to. Surprisingly, we choose to rather often. Now that purchasing something is not a longing, but a possibility, it’s surprising how much we don’t care. (admittedly, this is after a couple of years of gradual improvements to house, garden, wardrobes etc.)

I do think if we’d not already been on a debt reduction/begin saving schedule, we’d have indulged ourselves more. as we were, we worked it into the existing plan. There were indulgences, but nothing out of scale to the longterm plan. No super vacations or shopping sprees. Just stuff we planned to do, done sooner.

5 Kika April 28, 2009

If the windfall was big enough, I think I’d be tempted to use a good chunk for an overseas family vacation (which we’ve never had); the rest could go to paying down our mortgage or increasing our emergency fund.

6 CdnStealthGirl April 28, 2009

If we had a sudden, surprising windfall, there are a few priorities I’d like to think we would use it for (paying off the line of credit, increasing the emergency fund), but I think a small portion (think under $1000) for a few fun things. That might be some toys or an experience.

7 Denise April 28, 2009

I am not sure how much of a windfall I’d want to get, though if it were enough I’d…:
-Put money in the bank
-Open accounts for both my kids
-Give money to my parents to pay off their house/car/savings
-Give money to my brother/family
-Give money to my sister/family
-Give money to my FIL/MIL (Stepmother-in-law)
-Give money to my FIL/MIL (Stepfather-in-law)
-Purchase a new sofa, a big comfy sectional with a chaise at the end
-Get new slipcovers for our existing couch/chair and let the kids have both pieces in their playroom.
-Having said this if I managed to do all of this AND have money left over, I’d love to go with my husband and kids to Hawaii. My husband proposed to me there in Feb. 04 and it was ABSOLUTELY STUNNING!!! 🙂

8 LJ April 28, 2009

What an interesting question! It really made me think. A vacation sounds nice, but I’m not all that adventurous. I’ve very blessed, and I have absolutely no debt, and I was just offered a job. That job seems like a windfall to me right now, as my living expenses are very minimal. However, if I did get a windfall, maybe I’d buy a house. It would be fun to have a yard/garden, but I’d want to have enough money tucked away for repairs – and enough for someone else to do them!

9 Jennifer April 29, 2009

A lump sum would be great! We are actually expecting a couple of lumps sums: a $7,000 comission check from my husband's job this month, and an $8,000 tax refund. So, while $15,000 is a lot of money to my family, it is just going to push us along in our financial journey a bit.

Since we are debt free except for the house (as of our refinance today!) this $15,000 will be added to our Emergency Fund bringing it to $17,500. I have a big security gland so I would really like a $30,000 emergency fund.

So, at this point I feel that another $15,000 would just get us to where I think we should be. A lump sum bigger than $15,000 might allow us to do something just for fun. 🙂

<abbr>Jennifer´s last blog post..Buy 2 Get 1 Free – RAINBOW PEACE – Scrabble Pendant</abbr>

10 Julie April 29, 2009

A lump sum would likely go to either paying off our car or my student loans which are substantial. Any dent would be good though!

Julie´s last blog post..Traditional Buttermilk vs. Cultured Buttermilk

11 Billie April 29, 2009

A lump sum of 25k would pay off our car loans.

I would like to use a lump sum of 62k or above to pay down our mortgage and leave the car loans as is. This would bring us back to having 20% equity and we could refinance. I would like to refinance with the goal to bringing the monthly cost of the house down to the cost of renting it out. This would allow us to save for a bigger home and then rent the current place out when we finally buy. Then we could sell the house at our convenience when the prices go back up rather than selling it now at a substantial loss.

Aren’t I so very practical *sigh*

Billie´s last blog post..The seventh ring of ….

12 fairydust April 29, 2009

We aren’t carrying any debt, but we also don’t end up with enough income to be able to “do” much extra, so if we found ourselves with a windfall, I would vote for a nice, long European vacation OR buying a little cabin in the middle of nowhere that we could retreat to whenever. I’d also beef up our son’s 529 so he can consider grad school without needing a TAship or to go into debt for it.

fairydust´s last blog post..Down the Stretch to Friday

13 rachella April 29, 2009

I received a windfall, though it wasn’t sudden. I moved to England and put a down payment on a house in London. Now I’m in the same position as all the other posters who say they would pay down their mortgage. First, though, I’d get new linoleum in the kitchen and buy an eglu.

rachella´s last blog post..

14 Rini May 1, 2009

How much would it take? I have three “dream windfall” levels:

$15,626 – we’re done with credit cards
$86,400 – we’re 100% debt-free
$171,400 – we’re 100% financially stable (and I can quit my job!)

But since I have no windfalls coming, I’ll be celebrating in 2010, 2012, and 2014, as our snowball rolls its own windfall. 😉

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