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New Experiment: How would your partner spend $1,000?

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Today, a $1,001 gift for you.

A few months ago, I ran a crazy social experiment. I gave away $1,001 (Indians always add an extra $1) to see how one IWT reader would spend it.

Over 2,900 people shared their plans, but J. Money was the lucky winner.

Here’s how he SAID he would spend it:

  • $500 into our baby’s 529 fund
  • Then I think we’d use $300 for a nice trip out to a bed and breakfast somewhere in wine country, Virginia
  • Then another $200 towards charities of my friends’ choice
  • And the last $1.00 would go to a new lottery ticket! (In May, of course ;)) I figured if I got lucky enough to win this $1,001 in the first place, I should probably try and extend my good fortune!

And here’s what he ACTUALLY did:

  • $200 — Bed and Breakfast trip (1 night at the B&B and then tkts to James Monroe’s house)
  • $350 — 529 College Fund (will be xfered in as soon as baby is born and I get ss#)
  • $150 — Donated to two charities: Autism Cares and Charity Water
  • $300 — Set aside for taxes – something I forgot to do earlier 🙁
  • $1.00 — Mega Millions lottery! (I lost)

Pretty interesting, actually. I thought people’s behavior would diverge a lot more (n=1) but the big insight was how he forgot to think about taxes.

Today, I’m giving away another $1,001.

This time, I want to see how you’d spend your money — and how you think your partner would spend it.

Your partner could be your girlfriend, boyfriend, husband, wife, roommate, whatever.

As always, no catch. I’ve written the check and I’ll send it to one couple on 8/14. Spend it however you want.

All the details — plus sign up in 30 seconds to win $1,001:


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  1. I would not spend the money. I would put all of it towards our emergency savings account which is a little lean right now, since I’m taking three weeks off between a change in jobs.

    My wife would spend on home improvements and a ticket to see her nana who just recently moved from her home into an assisted living situation. I’ll guess on amounts.

    $201 paint
    $350 new electrical outlet installed in upstairs bathroom
    $450 trip to Louisville

    Would not have to set aside for taxes as a medium to low income combined w/ 4 kids means the only taxes I pay are of the payroll variety.

  2. Ramit, why did he need to set aside the $300 for taxes? Does this not qualify as a gift? Or is it considered prize money?

  3. I’d put it toward the intensive German class I want to take next year to cover the portion my employer won’t (they are willing to pay–the result of the “you don’t get the shit you don’t ask for” mantra–not sure yet how much they will cover)

    My husband would save it–or use it for the motorcycle course sponsored by the state.

  4. I have an insanely low cost of living, so with this money I could actually buy a new suit (I’m looking for a new job at the moment), pay rent/utilities for a couple months and probably put half of that into savings for a down payment on a car, since at the moment I’m stuck traveling by foot, bicycle and the local bus system.

  5. I would use the money toward taking a self-improvement class–one of yours if there is enough in the $1001 to cover it. I believe my husband would use the money for:
    $24.00 (4 movie tickets, plus 2 drinks and 2 popcorns)–hey, it’s cheap where we live
    $250.00 — 3 day weekend trip to a city for the 2 of us
    $300.00 — new snow tires for his car (needed this year)
    $427.00 — repair ancient shower with new tub surround, grout, and paint (we’d do the labor ourselves and have already priced replacement parts)

    Of course, that’s what I believe he’d spend it on. No telling what he’d actually do with it!

    If his mother is still alive, he

    • Please ignore the last 2 lines. My husband’s mother is in hospice, so if she died before the money was won, we would both choose to use it towards travel to her funeral.

  6. I’d blow the money. Without a doubt. I’d pick up things I’d like that I haven’t yet spent money on. My conscious spending plan is in full swing and I’ve got myself in a position where I’m saving/investing at least $1500/mo. I allow myself less “blow money” than suggested in the book, so I feel comfortable spending more of the little bonuses that come along.

    My partner, on the other hand, would almost certainly use it to clear her student loan debt. There isn’t much left, though, so there’s a chance she’d go 50% there, 25% towards our wedding, and 25% to spend guilt-free.

  7. I would do two things with the money.

    First, I would definitely use the extra lump sum to supplement the little I have saved towards my goal (planned 8 years ago when I was 16) to start a business– and it doesn’t matter if it fails–by the age of 24. The first $800 would go toward investment capitol with an extra $100 towards unexpected costs.

    Second, I would use $100 to “sponsor” a goat for a family in a developing country.

    My partner on the other hand would use $800 to pay off debt and the other $200 to visit family in NYC. Now that I think about it, I would use $200 for us to visit her family too.

  8. I would put some aside for taxes (good reminder!), and split the remaining between registering for dance events (I’m a swing dancer and in order to improve, you need to travel to find the good instructors and dancers), and paying off student loans.

    My partner, since he doesn’t have student loans, would probably put all of it (minus taxes) to dance events. He’s an instructor for swing dancing so to him, it would be an investment in his side business of running a team, helping build the local dance scene, and get his name out there as a local instructor.

  9. Daniel Cardenas Link to this comment

    I would take $100 every month and invest it on me bettering myself (books, seminars, whatever I feel will contribute to me being a better person both financially and physically). Until the money runs out.

  10. I would invest the money in myself:

    I’ve started a new business this year as an author, speaker and publisher. The money, $1001.00, all goes into the business,

    My partner also would invest the money. If I can talk her into investing it in my business, I believe it’s a good choice for the money’s ROI. However, if she chose to invest elsewhere (it is her money) I can’t say where. She is very careful and researches funds…I can say it will be a mutual fund for her Roth IRA.

    Good luck everyone!