I sat in a comfy chair downtown reading my iPad for two hours, and received $175 in Amazon credit for my troubles. That’s nice work, if you can get it. Even better is getting paid four figures to fly to France on a private G5 and take four naps a day for a week. (Yes, I’ve done that too, but napping on a rigorous schedule is much more difficult than it sounds.)
What do you do with this unexpected little bonus? I’ve been making a list of possibilities with accompanying pros and cons. For example, normally I’d buy books but we’re packing up our apartment to move to Paris for six months, and more books are the last thing we need. (BTW, available: one apartment in Brooklyn, stocked with scripture/Mormon-nerd books. Sublease, and I don’t have to pack.)
Ebook/Kindle, you say? You can get a lot of $9.99 ebooks for $175. However, I try to buy serious ebooks on Logos if they’re available, but Amazon doesn’t sell those. For non-serious books, I tend to use the library. Since I like to run, I’ve considered cold-weather running gear (Smartwool!) or nicer headphones that can go for more than three months without losing all sound in one ear (I’m looking at you, Sony!) After nine years, my laptop bag has started to develop dangerous holes, and could stand to be replaced, but that seems so boring and practical. On the other hand, “boring and practical” is often another way of saying “performs such a necessary function on a daily basis that you’ll really miss it if you don’t have it.”
Do you go for practicalities or do you go for luxuries you wouldn’t have bought otherwise?
Multiple items in the $10-20 range or a few “big” items in the $50-70? I can usually get away with one or two of the first in the monthly budget, but items in the second price range or higher generally have a price-to-actual-need ratio that is too high.
Spend it all at once or wait for other things to come along?
Spend it on yourself or others? Early Christmas shopping?
Wait until you’re both out of school, and laugh at how much the value of money appears to change once you have more of it?
Simple it’s not, I’m afraid you will find, for a mind maker-upper to make up his mind. So how do you do it?