MoneyUnder30.com
Simple. Honest. Personal finance.
MoneyUnder30.com

Tell Us How You Would Use $250 for a Chance to Win It

How would you use an extra $250 right now?

What if I said that you could not just stash it away in savings or use it to directly pay down debt?

Well, that’s the challenge.

In a comment, tell us specifically how you would use $250. The reader who leaves the best response before 11:59pm EST on Monday, October 1, 2012 will win a $250 Serve prepaid card courtesy of American Express. Update: The contest — and comments — are now closed. We are in the middle of the (very difficult) process of picking a winner, which we will announce here soon. Thank you for everybody who entered and all the great ideas!

If you missed our review last week, Serve is a legit new alternative to debit and other prepaid cards that you’ll want to check out.

What I did with my $250 Serve card

As I mentioned, American Express gave me a $250 Serve card also to try out. Ultimately, I decided to use the money they gave me for charity. This morning I went out and bought $225.68 worth of new socks and underwear, coffee, and toiletries for The Preble Street Resource Center, a large homeless shelter, soup kitchen, and outreach program here in Portland, Maine.

I snapped the above pic of the bounty I got, and I’ll find a way to donate the remaining $24.32:

Donations for the Preble Street Resource Center in Portland, Maine made possible by the Serve prepaid card.

Obviously, just because I used the money for charity does not mean you have to. Consider this a donation from all Money Under 30 readers!

So have at it in the comments: How would you use $250? We’ll be looking for the most creative answer, so put your thinking caps on, and good luck!

Update: The contest — and comments — are now closed. We are in the middle of the (very difficult) process of picking a winner, which we will announce here soon. Thank you for everybody who entered and all the great ideas!

About David Weliver

David Weliver is the founding editor of Money Under 30. He's a cited authority on personal finance and the unique money issues we face during our first two decades as adults. He lives in Maine with his wife and two children.

Comments

  1. If I had $250, I would use it to help my fiancee and I pay for our wedding in a month. With so many changes right now (I graduated in May, bought a car in July due to a dying clunker, and am in the process of buying a house which we will close on before the wedding), funds are tight as we figure out our financial picture. $250 would give us just a little room to breathe right now.

  2. If I win the $250, I would use the money to hire a web designer on Elance, and make my blog really awesome! I am thinking sleek, minimalist theme, SEO optimized, easy to navigate for future readers! I would bid $249 on the project and buy a $1 lottery ticket to try my luck a second time!

  3. Hi there, I just bought my first condo at 26 years old and need pretty much everything. I have a TV and a bed (the essentials). I would use the $250 towards a massive Costco/ BJ’s stock up for food and supplies like cleaning things, laundry detergent and all that fun stuff!

  4. Well since you said charity it makes me feel bad for saying anything else! But honestly I would probably use $250 extra towards buying a few things to make our new house more homey. I haven’t been too anxious to spent a ton of money on stuff like this because it seems unnecessary right now but I would like to have a few personal touches that make the house “ours”!

  5. I’d put it towards remodeling my kitchen or putting in new floors for my condo. I only paid $60k for the place, so I want to improve it with a minimal investment (I’m aiming for not more than 10% of what I paid, since I may or may not recoup that when I sell). I want to re-do my kitchen to make it more efficient with the space that it has—the layout’s a clusterf— at the moment. Plus I enjoy cooking, but not in my kitchen as it exists now.

  6. If I had an extra $250 right now, I would use it to pay down my debt, specifically on my credit card. Right now, I live paycheck to paycheck and whittling down my student loan and credit card debt is consistently challenging. $250 would bring me that much closer to reaching my financial goals and building up a safety net.

  7. If I had $250, I would get my parents a nice ‘thank you’ gift for helping us out with our wedding. My dad was laid off 18 months ago and, though he did eventually find a good paying steady job, he and my mom made a lot of sacrifices while he was unemployed to make ends meet. Despite my many protests, they insisted on helping us pay for our wedding, and I’ve seen firsthand that they’ve gone without certain things to pitch in. I would use the $250 towards a nice weekend trip away from all the financial worry.

  8. I would use it to stock up on household essentials and necessary medication to hold me over while I play catch up with my bills.

    I was getting to a more stable place financially until I became ill and was recently diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder which has taken a toll on me physically and financially (meds/doc visits/lab tests). I have had to use my spare money and some of my household bill money for this and thus adequate food and household essentials had to go on the back burner while I get this medical condition figured out. Even a brief $250 bump in my finances would be a blessing because every little bit counts!

  9. I would pay my boyfriend’s student loan payments for the month so he could get a leg up on his savings. He has a lot of student loan debt and is a really dedicated saver (MUCH better than me!) but he feels like he’s treading water a lot of the time and I know he’s frustrated. We want to get married so it’s not like my reasons are purely unselfish :) but the guy deserves a break!

  10. I would put the $250 towards remodeling my basement. I still need to seal the floor and paint it for the winter.

  11. If I win the $250, I would use it to buy a (or two) new suit(s). I recently got more responsibility at work, and I need to present myself professionally and make sure my career continues on the right track. Right now I am still wearing my clothes from college, and I worry I am not being invited to the right meetings because of it.

  12. If I win the $250, I would replace my 11 year old work shoes, take my great Grandmother out for lunch and a pedicure, take salsa classes, donate real prizes to my great grandma’s assisted living home for bingo (usual prizes are a banana) , and save what’s left for a rainy day. :)

  13. My husband is a first-year junior high teacher. If I had $250 I would use it towards taking him on a short vaction during his fall break next month. When he’s at home he’s consumed by school, so I would use the money to pay for a hotel for a couple of nights and get him away. Maybe he’d be able to relax if he wasn’t surrounded by work.

  14. Just got married, so the savings is sort of low. I’d probably use the money for the holidays — either for presents for various relatives/friends or as flight money. That way we wouldn’t have to dip into savings for it.

  15. Hello! Well, with all the saving and paying down of credit card debt that my wife and I have been focused on, I haven’t had any spending money in quite a while to enjoy.

    Beyond my goal of being debt-free (or close to it) by the time I turn 30 on Nov 2 of this year, I also had another important goal. I wanted to be at the same weight I was when I graduated college. In the last ten years, I’ve put on about 50lbs (weight 260, 5′ 6″) and my blood pressure went up by about 40 points.

    So, when I decided that it was time for my debt to lose weight, I decided my body was going to lose, too! Well, 4 months later, I’m down about 30lbs, just a little over 20 to go! The problem now is: my clothes don’t fit anymore! However, I don’t want to spend any $$ on “interim” sizes until I’m at target weight (rather put that towards debt!)

    So, what would I do with $250? I’d buy new pants that fit my new fatter wallet and slimmer figure!

    Love the blog! Keep it up!

  16. With $250, I’d hit the home improvement store for some supplies for our kitchen renovation. We’ve got a contractor doing the big stuff, but things like lights and paint add up!

  17. Joseph Ferrar says:

    I would use the $250 to improve the value on my home. I am near $250 shy ($236.42 to be precise) of starting construction on a shed. The $250 will enable me to move my build schedule up from spring 2013 to immediately. The shed will serve multiple purposes. It will allow my wife and I to move all of our outdoors-y tools and materials to where they belong (insted of in our house or just outside and exposed to the elements). It will provide parking for my motorcycle, which is currnetly only protected by a thin cover. I’ll be doing the construction myself to keeps costs as low as possible and will have my father helping me, so it will also be father-son bonding time.

    I admit I’m not the most worthy of this since I am confident in my financial position and have the patience to wait until Spring 2013 to begin my project, but it would still be great to receive this gift.

  18. I am a graduate student without health insurance doing my masters degree in Public Health. This week, I just spent $400.00 out-of-pocket to pay for an opthamologist’s appointment and medication. With the $250.00, I would pay off this medical bill and not have to worry about a balance on my credit card! That would be really helpful!

  19. If I had an extra $250, I would spend it on items for a disaster preparedness kit. I would purchase gallons water, canned food, extra clothes, extra shoes, batteries, flashlights, radios, Most importantly, would be a fire proof safe to store all my important documents (deeds, car titles, insurance forms, etc.) I live in Southern California and fire season is no joke. A number of family and friends had to be evacuated, and I know a few that lost their homes. That $250 could save thousands in heartache and time. It pays to be prepared!

  20. I would use the $250 to rebuild my depleted emergency fund. I recently moved to a new city and of course, that is when my car trouble began. I had to pull from both my savings and emergency fund to pay for repairs. I had a little over $900 in my emergency fund and said goodbye to it all in one weekend. I’m so stressed without any emergency money. The $250 would definitely help me get back on the right track.

  21. If I won $250, most of it would go straight to my Christmas Fund! I come from a very large family, and though I don’t have any children of my own, I have 6 nieces and nephews. Since I am already on an extremely tight budget, I decided that all their Christmas gifts would be purchased through gift cards. I’m using a great app called Shopkick which allows you to redeem points earned for gift cards. So far I have earned enough points for $25(not much) in giftcards. Hopefully, with more points, the use of coupons, and sales, I will earn enough to give gifts to the children in my life! A $250 gift card would be extremely helpful for that goal. Anything that is left over would be used to buy a few wardrobe additions for work. I haven’t went shopping for any clothes in about 4 years, and my wardrobe is seriously lacking!

  22. $150 for a new vacuum
    $50 for my church
    $50 for a date night with my wife.

  23. What better way to use extra money than by supporting local artists? A good friend of mine is an incredibly unique and talented watercolor painter. She creates a special vision in her art but has had difficulty paying bills. My wife and I would love to put $250 towards one of her paintings. In this, we could share beauty in our home and support the ongoing efforts of a young artist in the community.

  24. This one is easy. My wife and I recently had a baby. If I won the $250 card, I would send my wife for a spa day of PAMPERING. My wife hasn’t been out in 9m. My wife hasn’t slept in 9m. My wife hasn’t done anything for herself in 9m. My wife is a saint, and she absolutely deserves this.

  25. If I had $250, I would buy an iPhone 5 ($199) for 16GB, then sell it on eBay, which is selling at ~$900 now. And I will have $50 left from serve card.

    With cancellation fee around $350, I get $900-$350= $550, all from that $250 serve card.

    Then $550 goes into investment, and I will buy me and my friend dinner with the remaining $50.

  26. I think we’d use it to buy our 6-month-old daughter a new car seat. She has nearly outgrown her infant carrier. We are debt-free minus our house, but those baby expenses just keep coming!

  27. Well, because a lot of my initial ideas have been stated (wedding money, helping with a loan, a nice thank you gift . . .) and because you asked us to get creative. I thought I would put the money towards little things in our kitchen renovation project. This would be the ‘O we need this’ type things. It would be a bunch of ‘little freebies’ we could look at later and be thankful for the extra boost. But as I got to thinking {and feeling a tad guilty and greedy} I decided that I would use the money toward boosting our curb appeal. This is something I would enjoy and something I could share – helping to make our neighborhood look better and possibly, help to add value to not only our property but those around us.

    Thank you for the opportunity!

  28. It’s Oktoberfest season. I’d blow $250 on a bar tab, of course using the funds responsibly to treat my fellow Oktoberfest patrons.

  29. I would use the $250 to buy my husband a special gift. I’ve had a lot of changes in my life recently and I’ve had some difficulty adjusting – within six months I got married, became a homeowner (my husband owned the house already), moved to an area where I need a car to get around (and I don’t have a driver’s license), lost my job, and changed my name. Mostly good changes, but it was a lot all at once. My husband has been unbelievably supportive and patient and kind, and he’s also been great about working with me to stay on a budget and improve our finances. He would do anything for me and I want to do something special for him without busting our budget and undoing everything we’ve worked on. Thanks for your consideration :)

    P.S. I do have a specific gift in mind – my husband desperately wants the new iPhone, but is waiting because of the price. I think he deserves it!

  30. I have been volunteering for a local volunteer ambulance for 19 years (and im only 31). Of that time 16 years has been on the Ambulance. So I probably wouldn’t end up donating the money. If I were to win I would use the money to register the LLC for the photography business I am trying to start.

  31. Oh I know exactly what I would do! I would treat my husband to some new business clothes since he just landed a great new job after being laid off several months ago. With whatever is left over from the shopping spree, I would use to treat him and a few friends to a homemade dinner to celebrate his hard work!

  32. Holly Survance says:

    If I had $250 randomly thrown my way right now, I would treat my husband to a wonderful 30th birthday night out on the town. Not only would it be a great celebration, but it would be one of our last romantic nights out for us before our first child arrives!

  33. Purchasing pavers and gravel for our new home’s front walkway is what I would use the $250 towards. My husband and I manually removed the 80 year old concrete walkway that leads to our front door. After sledge-hammering our way through 40+ feet of concrete and hauling it away, we started digging the foundation for the paver walkway. We estimated the total cost of the project to be around $1,175 (we have a spreadsheet) vs. hiring someone to do it for us – roughly $5,000. We think we are pretty money savvy since we are saving nearly $4,000.

  34. I’d put some of it toward a typography class I’m planning to take, and use the rest to buy goats and fruit trees from the World Vision gift catalog!

  35. I would give the card to my mother to help her pay some bills. She lost her job over a year ago and her unemployment was just cut off about two weeks ago. She also just recently had a heart attack. She is trying to work but it is been hard. She is working part time as needed at a headstart facility. She also is going to school to get her degree in early childhood education (she has a social worker degree). On top of that she takes care of my grandfather (who is 93) and helps me with my two children. She could use the money to pay bills or for groceries since she is having to change the way she eats.
    I would help her out because she deserves it.

  36. My boyfriend and I having been saving non-stop for a down payment on a house since we will be relocating in February, so we don’t have any breathing room for discretionary spending. His birthday is in November and we agreed not to go crazy on anything, that there would be more birthdays… I would use the $250 to surprise him with a trip into NYC, where we would get enchiladas (his favorite!), see a movie, and just walk around the city, then spend the night in a nice hotel just to get away from it all. Maybe a fancy one with a really nice view!

  37. My best friend is getting married in Cyprus next summer, and missing the wedding is not an option. So, $135 would go to my passport renewal. $14.27 for a Cyprus travel guide. $5.99 for a set of plug adapters. And the remaining $155.26 would go toward a new digital camera, as mine is on its last legs! I figure if I’m going to break the bank getting over there, might as well do it in once-in-a-lifetime style and make the most of it.

  38. I would buy some shrooms and go skydiving. That would be pretty intense. I would use the rest of the money to buy doritos locos tacos from Taco Bell because they are delicious and I would probably be pretty hungry after a day of jumping out of a plane while tripping balls. Although if I were to win this money in cash, I would head straight to the strip club. I know this girl named Roxxxy that will make you feel like a king for $200. Then I would spend the other $50 on doritos locos tacos. Seriously delicious.

  39. I would use the money for new shoes for my son in different sizes and shoelaces. My son has special needs. He almost refuses to keep his laces tied, he can’t tie them well, and somehow he can create holes in leather.

  40. I would spend all of the $250 IMMEDIATELY! How? I would give each of my 2 kids $125 to buy stock in whatever companies that interest them the most. How fun to get their little investing careers kicked off at ages 4 and ages 9! How fund to get to watch them pick companies based on their likes and interests and then enjoy them watching their money ebb and flow through the market! Plus, I already have a Serve account. AMEX can go green and just send the money to my mobile account!

  41. Honestly…I would go eBay shopping. I’m currently watching: a bb dakota faux fur vest $29.99, jeffrey campbell cheetah pony fur wedges $189.99, j brand jeans which have a current bid of $11.50 I really really want these things. I really do. =) Im stimulating the economy.

  42. I recently read a story online about a guy who paid for a semester of graduate studies with mail in rebates. He would search around for items that are free after rebates and purchase them. The rebates would generally come back in the form of checks or prepaid debit cards, which he saved to pay for school. I think he save more than 3k in rebates in a year or something like that. He’s only ever not gotten 1-2 rebates. But in essence he used this as a savings plan (since he spent the money and would get it back), though he would possibly get a little more money out of it by selling the items or sometimes he would just donate them. This article definitely intrigued me and I have been meaning to try it sometime. So if I won $250, I think I would give it a shot and it wouldn’t matter if the rebates failed to come back since I started with free money. I did a quick search online and found some social social bargain hunting sites. I think I would focus my rebate searches on electronic items, probably sold from frys or newegg, etc.

  43. I would split the $250 between my boyfriend and I. I would get $50 for funny money for a massage, and I would give $200 to my boyfriend to get some computer hardware that he really wants.. Money has been tight for him between going back to school, taking a pay cut and having to go through chemo for leukemia. This would give him a little happiness to buy something he wants to be able to rip our DVDs to a server to stream wireless, guilt free!

  44. I would use the money to buy lunch at work for a long as I can. I’ve brought in lunch (either frozen dinners or prepared meals from home) for the past five years. This would change it up a bit. Thanks for your consideration.

  45. I would use $250 to replace my car’s windshield. It was hit by a rock when driving down the highway yesterday and cracked. I’ve been shopping around to try to find the best deal, but I would love to not have to dip into my car reserves to fix this!

  46. I would put the $250 towards supporting my secondary income stream outside of my full-time job; my computer repair hobby. I would purchase a subscription to LogMeIn Central to better manage my clients’ computer updates as well as making remote access to them much easier. The money left over would be used to purchase as large of an external hard drive as possible. This would allow me to provide an additional service to my customers by keeping a permanent image of their hard drive in case their computer ever failed.

    By supporting my idea, that $250 could easily be turned into hundreds, if not a few thousand in return. Thanks for running this contest!

  47. If I had $250 today, I would immediately sign up for the real estate sales course that I have been wanting to take. The class is offered right in Westbrook, Maine, only about 30 minutes away from my house. It is something I have been dreaming about and planning toward for a long time. The class costs about $400 total, but I have been saving up for a while. Unfortunately, every time I get almost close enough, something comes up and instead of draining what little savings we have, I end up using my class money to pay for it (I have a VERY busy 10-year-old who just keeps coming up with all kinds of things he needs money for!). The $250 would finally get me over the total amount and I could start the class!!!! I really feel that real estate is my next big thing. This one little class could mean a completely different life for my family and me! :)

  48. I would use it to buy a bike with baskets and a good helmet so that I would only have to use my car for commuting to and from work, which is 38 miles each way. My communal garden plot, yoga studio, favorite bars/hangouts, grocery store and gym are all within a 2 mile radius from my house. It’s a bit too far to walk and a very short distance to drive; there’s also the occasional parking cost. Public transportation is definitely a plus, however, there are often significant delays on the weekends due to track maintenance and a reduced schedule. Plus, multiple trips on the bus or metro can end up totaling $3-5. Having a bike would enable me to run my errands and get places in a timely manner and reduce costs related to gas, parking, and wear and tear on my car.

  49. I would use the $250 to first buy a $208 RT ticket (found via AirfareWatchDog) to see my friend Meredith in San Francisco. She moved there from Maryland to work for a non-profit this summer, but airfare was way too expensive to visit in the summer. I would then head to State Bird Provisitons (rated top 50 new restaurants in the US by Bon Apetit) and order red trout, mandarin, hazelnut-garum brown butter ($22). I’d cap it off by getting the following 5 cupcakes form Cups and Cakes Bakery to share: Dante’s Inferno, Cookies n Cream, Pancake Blast, Pumpkin Perfection, and Rainbow Bright (3.25 ea x5= 16.25). The remaining money would probably be spent on milk for those cupcakes and maybe a little (very little) gas money for Meredith for taking me on this foodie adventure!

  50. If I won $250 :
    $1 would pay for a 100 grand candy bar for my fiance (he loves them and he’s the best)
    $60 would be for one tank of gas (lasts about half a week of work)
    $40 would go towards my application to Johns Hopkins for a Master’s degree in Public Health
    $30 for some household decor, we just moved into a new house!
    $9 for a decent bottle of wine – a girl needs to relax!
    $110 to use for my prescriptions for 1 month, I have Lupus which I need several medications to control.

  51. Reina Christian says:

    My husband and I were married in March, just two months before finding out we were relocating from Miami, FL to Chicago, IL for his career at The University of Chicago. Needless to say, my wardrobe barely consists of a few sweaters and socks. Now that it is starting to get chilly, I am totally freaking out. We’ve been barely getting back on our feet after a wedding and a move. Now, we can’t seem to figure what we’re supposed to wear in freezing cold weather let alone figure out how we’re going to purchase said winter clothes without buying it all on credit! So, if I a was the lucky recipient of a $250 American Express Serve Card, I can guarantee that it would be spent on jackets for both of us. If we had anything left, we’re going to need some gloves too! Sheesh, this cold weather stuff is expensive!

  52. I’ve thought about this a lot, MAYBE a little too much.

    So first, I would take the $250 and loan $25 to 10 separate low income entrepreneurs in emerging markets through Kiva. I would look for loans that had a payback duration of 6 months and was from one of Kiva’s 4 or 5 star partners (gotta do your due diligence and minimize risk after all). When all 10 loans were repaid back, I would then find another 10 entrepreneurs and loan $25 to them under the same guidelines.

    So after a year, I will have helped support the dreams of 20 entrepreneurs and will have my original $250 back because with Kiva, it truly is a loan not a donation and you have the option to continue to invest time after time or withdraw the original funds you put in.

    When I withdraw the funds, I would use them to take a nice hard earned vacation. I lived in Chile five years ago and have not seen the friends I made over that year, so I would use miles I have in my AA account to spoil myself a little and get a business class ticket to Santiago and I would use the $250 to pay the fees associated with that, the entrance fee to Chile, and to buy my two closest friends down in Chile a meal at our favorite restaurant! Ahh, to dream!

  53. If I won the $250 Serve card, I help out a few single mothers that live and/or work near me. I am a 26-year-old graduate student and full-time State employee, born and raised in Chicago, but living on my own in another state. I have a mother who has worked so hard to raise 3 girls (I have a 16- and 18-year old sister) and I try to give back to her everyday. Of course, she could ALWAYS use more and she most definitely DESERVES a vacation, especially because she not only deals with her teenagers, but she’s been a teacher since before I was born. But, I know a few women who don’t have an older daughter to assist them, and they’re single parents. Some work two jobs, some have quit school, and others go without so that their children can have what they desire. Now, many would say that is the job of a mother, but when so many people don’t do their job, I feel the ones who do should be rewarded and recognized. Whether I give them each a little money for groceries or gas, or treat them all to a big dinner out away from the kids, or even send them all to get mani’s & pedi’s, they deserve a break and this Serve card would really help me to give them just that!

  54. I’ve been getting into PF blogs over the last year and am doing some major overhauling! (This was the first time I created a budget or really put any thought towards my finances.) I would use the $250 to reinstate the gym membership I cut 6 months ago as a savings effort. This will allow me to continue losing weight and fit back into my $400 suit. The goal is to be healthier and use the suit for job hunting this spring to increase my salary by at least $7k!

  55. If I won $250 I would give the money to my niece who is graduating this year as a graduation present. She could really use the money to pay for some classes at the community college and books! I am so proud of her for being able to complete her journey, she didn’t have it easy either.

  56. Pay it Forward.

    I would give the $250 to my niece who’s a recent graduate from college. Unfortunately, she hasn’t found a job yet. I know it sucks for her, being jobless with less than 2 months until Sallie Mae becomes a permanent staple in your a$$. Considering I have a JOB (just over broke), which is a HUGE accomplishment considering I was a SOB (stuck on broke), I would definitely bless her with the $250.

  57. Well so many choices! I would love to help my older son with his truck since he just hit a bear and there is some damage to his truck but I have to be selfish on this one and use the money for me. Well not exactly for just me but my family. My husband and I are disabled and this year we just aren’t going to qualify for assistance in getting fuel for the winter. We really don’t know what we are going to do as we live in northern New Hampshire and it gets quite cold here. We have a small portable electric heater that we have been using right now. So I guess what I would do with the $250 is buy some heating fuel and that would help out a bit.

  58. If I won the $250 Serve card, I would buy much needed scratching posts for my cat so she does not continue to mess up my furniture. I would buy running shoes for my fiancee and I as a treat because we have been working out religiously. I would also buy toilet paper, shaving blades, shampoo, soap in bulk because I hate going to the store and buying it individually.

  59. My wife is 37 weeks pregnant and really wants a glider/rocker for the nursery that we just don’t have the money for. Since she’s planning on breastfeeding she’ll be spending a lot of sleepy nights in there, and it’s a huge bummer that I can’t get her one… If $250 fell into my lap tomorrow, that’s the first place it would go!

  60. hmm $250…
    Well first I’d donate $100 to the Walk to End Alzheimer’s that I’m participating in next week. We usually donate $100 ourselves plus the fundraising that we do but things are tight this year and we haven’t been able to do so.

    The next $50 I’d use to buy the groceries to make the cupcakes I promised wonderful walk team who helped me to raise $8000 for the Walk.

    The last $100 I’d put into the ongoing house projects.

  61. This is an interesting conundrum. Before I read your restrictions, this was easy. The same thing I do with any extra/unexpected money – student loans or ROTH IRA. But no, there are rules…
    With $250:
    $99 for 3 training sessions with a personal trainer at the gym
    $20 to pay for my account maintenance fees for my investment accounts due in October
    $120 to car parts that are worn out (fog lights, gear shifter boot, moon-roof slips). Lots of little things are are worn or broken…
    $11 Power-ball lottery tickets

  62. Well, I would probably use it to save for a house, but since you told us to be more creative than that, about the only other thing I would do with it is spend it on tools. I fix my cars myself instead of taking them to a shop. I save a ton of money by doing it myself, and it’s my favorite hobby. Of course, fixing things yourself means you need tools! Tools are an expense, but I look at them more as an INVESTMENT. Tools will eventually pay for themselves over time, every time you don’t have to pay someone else to fix things for you. I’ve bought expensive tools that instantly paid for themselves the first time I used them! And, they’ll KEEP paying me back every time I use them thereafter.

    So to answer your question, I would splurge and spend it all on my hobby/passion, and I would be “investing” it at the same time.

  63. I would use the $250 to get car repairs done! This way I can keep driving my junker car at least until my husband graduates from college in the spring. Getting by on only his car with three jobs and college between the two of us would not be fun…

  64. If I was given $250, I would take my partner to his first concert ever, at the age of 31! Being an avid concert goer and enjoying live music I’ve experienced some great live shows from past years, Coachella Music Festival, No Doubt summer reunion tour, Beyonce, Bjork’s rare stops in the U.S. and Coldplay just to name a few. It’s quite a chore to find a buddy that’s willing to go with me who shares the same passion I have for music and I usually end up going solo. Now that I’m in a relationship and learned he’s never had the oppurtunity to see a concert, I would love to take him to see his first show to see Madonna! To enjoy a night out doing something I love with the person I love will make it all worth while!

  65. BEANIE BABIES!!! — That’s a good investment, right?

  66. I would use the money to set up an event for my church single’s group with the hopes of scoring points with this girl in our group that I like! :)

  67. With $250, I honestly have to say that I wouldn’t even think to donate. I would use the money to start a garden with my two girls, ages 2 and 3. Since we bought our home 3 years ago, the large yard and front area have been begging for life! My girls love to pick the weed flowers when we get a few every now and then. I’d love to plant some flowers and some herbs or small plants with them so they can see how life grows, needs water and care, and brings joy to us without destroying the earth, spending (much) money, or requiring much more than dedication. It’s also almost citrus planting season in Florida and I can’t wait. Thanks for the opportunity!

  68. My husband is in a crummy work situation – He literally runs every aspect of a roofing business for his alcoholic boss who constantly dogs him and tells him he’s overpaid and doing a terrible job of things. He is paid well and greatly enjoys the responsibility and physicality of his job, but is becoming an increasingly negative and stressful environment. He can’t afford to take the paycut that would come with changing jobs, and doesn’t want to start at the bottom of the ladder with another crew either, so we are working towards starting his own roofing business.
    We’ve been working on saving enough to provide a financial cushion for during the transition period and to make the first worker’s comp payment (which will be about half our total startup costs, and has to be paid up front). In the meantime, we have been slowly acquiring the tools he’ll need to start- we now have an air compressor & attachments, two nail guns, a ladder, two shingle removers, a circular saw, and most of the small tools he’ll need; the only thing we’re missing is a dump truck (which can for the time being be substituted with a dumpster rental) and work. He has picked up a couple small weekend jobs here and there, but we estimate he’ll need a solid 5-6 jobs lined up to be able to start his business full time. If we won the $250, we would use it to advertise in our town and the surrounding area (which is not in direct competition with his current employer, who is a half hour away and doesn’t offer service in our area). We would place an ad in the local paper and create flyers. Any leftovers would be put towards making more professional business cards, since it’s pretty obvious his current cards are home made, and I think it makes people skeptical. Thanks for your consideration!

  69. Desiree Stark says:

    I am in the process of getting out of debt, moving, and reaching my roller derby goals. The first two items are diverting my capital, and I keep not having money to buy a better pair of roller skates that will take my training to the next level. For two years I’ve been skating competitively on the same starter skates that are falling apart — the lining is worn out and they feel like concrete blocks on my feet — decent roller skates are in the $250-400 ballpark.

  70. I would give the card to my sister who is unwed and expecting her first baby (my Godchild) this weekend. My sister has a lot of family support, but money is a huge concern/fear for her right now. I would give the card to her to use as she saw fit. Even if I don’t win and you read my post, please say a prayer for my sister and her baby. Okay and the father, even if he makes me mad, he still needs prayers/help.

    Thank-you.

  71. I could use the money to pay down debt but instead I’d like to use the money to donate to my son’s classroom. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to help 30 students versus just one adult? ;-) The school has a 64.8% free and reduced lunch population and teachers have a hard time educating our youth with limited resources!! My son has a wonderful teacher who enjoys teaching his student and I think $250 would REALLY benefit the students in the classroom.

  72. Alyssa Novak says:

    Well…I’m only one $250 payment away from paying off my private student loan (with the very bad interest rate!), so if I won, I’d make my payment and use the Serve card to celebrate my achievement! I’ve been so frugal with my spending the past year in order to attack my $150k student loan debt, it would be nice to take a break and treat myself!

  73. If I won $250, I would put it towards train tickets in Europe. I already donate to charity (and organize charity events at work), so I wouldn’t feel too bad about using this for personal use.

    My mom did a mother/daughter trip to Europe while my grandma was still alive (and before I was born). After a few health scares for my mom in the past couple years, I decided I need to spend time with her while I have the chance. So I’m planning to take her there next year (and start a fun mother-daughter tradition at the same time). I’ve never been to Europe, and she hasn’t been there in 30 years, so we are excited for a new adventure!

    While I can use points to save money on most of the flights and some of the hotels, I really have to pay cold hard cash for food, admissions, train tickets (and souveniers!). I suppose it technically counts as ‘saving’ and therefore might violate the rules, but not really, because I definitely plan to spend it! $250 would get us an overnight sleeper cabin between Paris and Rome.

  74. Use it to pay for my groceries for the month and use the saved cash to pay down debt. (See what I did there… Paying down debt while not using the windfall to pay down the debt. At least not directly…)

  75. I am working on getting a local financial literacy program started for the children of my community. $250 would help!

  76. We just had a our first baby a few weeks ago and I would use the money to get 4th generation photos taken with our daughter. Both my grandparent’s health is rapidly declining and this is their first great grandchild and I would love be able to afford to hire a professional to capture the moment.

  77. $250 would be the perfect amount to spend on making a prototype dog bed for my (future) business!

    This idea popped up because I could never find a nice-looking but supportive bed for my big old boxer.

    I really could utilize all of my talents in starting a business – upscale or custom dog beds sold online and to local businesses would be the basis (I live in Dallas – plenty of dog owners, plenty of money, and plenty of doggy boutiques to sell to!). The plan is for thick foam beds with designer or choose-your-own fabric. I have plenty of sewing skills so I can do most of the work myself to start… and, as a professional graphic and web designer, I could create my own website/marketing materials for almost no cost!

    Starting this business and having it succeed would take a chunk out of paying off some credit card-debt, and fulfill my wish to be an entrepreneur!

  78. Christina O. says:

    If I had an extra $250 right now, I would buy a Breville juicer. I know it’s a little selfish of me, but I have been wanting to cleanse my body for a while. Juicing fresh fruits and vegetables and consuming them in place of the usual crap I eat would help my overall productivity immensely, as well as reboot my body to make it a better-oiled machine. :)

  79. I would use the money to purchase new supplies/ games, so that I can create a loaner library of therapy games, card decks, and activities for my speech therapy students, who often don’t have a lot of resources at home.

  80. I would take the $250 to the Oktoberfest street fest that I am volunteering at this weekend. Admission is $5 per person and I will be volunteering at the admissions tent. I would grant free entry to 50 people and ask them to pay that forward by purchasing another brat or beer during the fest. The fest benefits the church I belong to and their outreach programs (food pantry, women’s shelter, etc).

  81. I’d use the money to fix the a/c in my car. It gets to be 97 degrees in the summer in Mississippi, and I’ve been roughing it for two summers because there is always something more important to save for (like engagement rings, weddings, and houses). My fiance insists I get it fixed. So, I’ll have it repaired and we can take my car somewhere for once.

  82. If I won the $250 Serve card I would take my son up to the Space Needle (our famous tower in Seattle) to take a picture with Santa Clause and invite Santa to have lunch with us, up in the SkyCity Restaurant, after his photo shoot.

    Every year during a Winterfest at Seattle Center, Santa “visits” the Space Needle. Kids (and parents) can have a photo taken with Santa there, and it is a huge attraction.

    My son thinks that the Space Needle is Santa’s home, or at least home while he is visiting our city, so having a lunch with Santa up there would be a huge, super awesome present for him. And as you can imagine, that place is not cheap.

    Thank you! :)

  83. Well my first thought when I read the article was- dump it all on one of my credit cards and pay it off! I have been very determined about paying them down lately. I love the feeling of financial freedom! Then I read further and saw the challenge of not using it for debt or bills- Oh No! So I’ve been sitting here thinking and thinking what my other option would be. There are a lot to choose from but I think I would use it to treat my mom and dad and sister’s to dinner. I don’t get to see them very often anymore,being self-employed with a seasonal business it’s always work, work, work. And if I do manage to find the time I don’t have any energy left to do anything. I’ve missed so many weddings, birthdays, family gatherings over the last four years because I have to work to pay the bills. Seven days a week, 10-12 hour days doesn’t allow for much free time.
    And if I had any money left over after our nice family dinner out, I would spend it on my puppies! They would get new toys and treats! Because they suffer a little too by not getting to see me and have a whole day of playtime. They have caregivers during my work hours but that’s not the same as spending time with their “momma”! But whenever I walk through the door they are always overjoyed to see me! So they deserve some pampering too, I think.

  84. Jabricia Degrate says:

    My 10 year old niece will be turning 11 on the 13th of October. She just told me that she has not had a birthday party since she was a toddler.(Due to her mother’s financial situation ). If I had 250 dollars right now I would give her the best party she’s ever had. I think every kid should get the chance to celebrate their birthday and feel like a star on their special day.

  85. Hannah J. Vitkus says:

    I would donate 20% to a humanitarian worker I know who is leading a team in Honduras [$50], I would donate 40% to a local non-profit that encourages urban children to read [$100], I would save 20% in my emergency fund [$50], and spend the remaining 20% on my youngest sister for her birthday on the 18th of October [$50.]

  86. Gareth Cook says:

    I’ve always wanted to try micro lending. One like Kiva.org. Just spent the last 10 minutes looking at it and $250 could help 25 people reach their goals. I would choose people from all over the world and for different reasons including expansion, or fixing, or new business idea. I want to give the gift of possibility. In the event the Site doesn’t accept American express gift cards, I would pay it out of my account and use the gift card on what I would have bought anyways, gas…, a taco in between classes at school…, etc…

  87. I would use the $250 Serve Card to buy a nicer camera. After I graduated from law school and took the bar, I spent a year unemployed which is unfortunately a common experience. I realized that I truly enjoy the process of cooking/baking and decided to start food blog to give my unemployed days a sense of purpose. Armed with a couple country cookbooks and my iphone I’ve been blogging for almost a year, and thankfully, I am now employed. This last year has been all about learning the blogging world, finding an audience and experimenting as much as possible. I enjoy my new job, but through blogging I have learned that I have other interests outside of the law, like writing a cookbook.

  88. If I won $250?! Oh boy… first I would go on a shopping spree for shoes! Then I would buy that new dress I’ve been drooling over in the display case across the street. Then I would go out to dinner and order STEAK. Then I would go out to the movies- oh, movie theater popcorn, how I’ve missed you.

    And THEN… I’d get off the couch and stop daydreaming. And I’d stick the money in our change jar. You see, my boyfriend and I are planning to cash in the change to celebrate our 5-year anniversary next month. We were originally hoping to take a small overnight trip somewhere, but we had to take out all the quarters for laundry and now there’s probably enough left to go out for ice cream. Which is great, I love ice cream! But I can only imagine how surprised my boyfriend would be to see $250 magically appear in there. He’s been so stressed about our finances lately and we’ve been trying so hard to pinch pennies, and I would love to be able to surprise him like that :)

  89. I would fix my car so it doesn’t break down this winter!

  90. I’ve wanted to keep chickens in my urban backyard for a while now. I’d use the money to get a coop set up for chickens and then get chicks next spring. I’d have my own local source of eggs – I could eat some and give some away to neighbors. Also, the hens would eat weeds and provide good fertilizer for my garden, plus I hear they make great pets.

  91. Megan Webster says:

    If I won the $250 card I would use it toward an energy assessment on our home. We bought a foreclosure a couple of years ago and it still needs major updating. With an energy assessment we would be able to figure out which upgrades would pack the most punch in terms of energy savings. We have done most of the work on our house ourselves, when we have time/money. Now my husband is in nursing school and we are on one income. This would let us plan for the next steps with our home.

  92. So the first thing I did was took a look at the post before me….woooow! I wish I had $250 for a lot of the entries above.

    I would give $110.00 to Jessica for her medicaiton. God bless you!
    I would give $100.00 to Ellen B for the gas/oil for her house in the winter for heat.

    I would take the other $40.00 and go to the salvation army to get a used matress/bed for my apartment. I am a recent college grad, working a job (thank God) but I do not make enough money to pay bills, pay off my debt and support my mom (her job was outsourced and she is 57 trying to get back in the job market-not so easy). I have been sleeping on my comforters as a bed for four months (can you say major back pain!)…I guess that is the after college life. But hey I would sleep on my comforters to give the money to a lot of you guys!

    I wish I was wealthy now to send all of you a $250.00 gift card!

  93. I’m starting a radiolab-esque documentary program in my middle school music program. The kids have been developing stories about their community and I am getting ready to record them, but still don’t have the necessary equipment. It has been amazing to watch how excited students get (a rare occurence these days it seems) when they are given the freedom to produce their own creative work! I need a handheld digital recorder – they run anywhere from $150-300. It would be nice to not spend my paycheck on school projects for a change ;-)

  94. If I won $250 I would use it as a trial run to see if my partner and I could truly cut down our food expenditures when it comes to eating out. We would use it to make we spend in a balanced fashion over the entire course of a month versus spending it within a week and a half. I think if we had no choice but to use a prepaid card for a set amount, it would help us better evaluate and account for all the extra eating out we should NOT be doing. With a combination of groceries and eating out, we usually spend about $500 – $600 a month. It may not seem like a lot, but it’s just for two people. Sure, we could just purchase a Visa/AMEX prepaid card for this amount, but we’d rather not pay for the activation fees (even though we may very well spend over any fee amount).

    I would love to use this as the boost we need in order to put a better focus on our savings.

  95. Here is how I would use $250.00:

    $229.00 – extra student loan payment (this payment already includes additional principal paying off my student loan in 6 years instead of 10, but every extra payment helps!)

    $21.00 – into my KIVA account; a little “pay it forward”

    It is amazing how quickly it goes!!!

  96. Firstly, thanks for the opportunity.

    Secondly, I am in the middle of a career change. Currently working as a financial planner, I have given notice to my employer and my last day will be 12/31/2012; at that point, I plan to relocate to Santiago, Chile to teach English. My plane ticket is purchased but I have many more pending expenses.

    If possible, I would apply the $250 Serve prepaid card to my annual traveler’s health insurance premium (as I know and as this site reinforces, health insurance is important!).

  97. So I just started a new job a few weeks ago, in a new field. Totally different than what I did before, and with a more professional dress code.

    So I’d use the $250 to help me build out my business professional wardrobe. I’d hit the discount retailers & the clearance racks so that I could get the most stuff for my $$$, with lots of separates that I could mix & match to wear to the office.

  98. An additional $250 this month would be a huge blessing! Yes I have debt and yes I’d love to stash it away but I need to transport my car cross country. I’m currently a caregiver for my mom who has been diagnosed with colorectal cancer. I left my belongings along with my car in LA to come take care of her in GA, and of course some punks came into our yard one night and stole her car. So having a little extra to put into the “Car Shipping Fund” to get my car instead of her having to finance a new one would be just awesome!

    P.S. This site is really great because even in this really hectic time of life, the emails that I get really help me to stay focused on my financial goals.

    Pick me! :)

  99. If I won the $250 card, I would take my family out for a very nice dinner. With my father losing his job and still out of work for 6 months, I know this will help cheer my mother and father up. They deserve something nice considering they had to cut down a lot on their day-to-day spending and there is even the risk of losing the house. Any remaing funds after the dinner will help go toward paying down any high interest debt.

  100. Shauna Unsworth says:

    Well $250 BUCKS WOULD COME IN HANDY FOR ANY NUMBER OF THINGS AROUND HERE RIGHT NOW, HOWEVER I THINK WHAT I WOULD DO IS…..OUR LOCAL FOOD BANK IS REALLY STRUGGLING RIGHT NOW THEY ARE ADVERTISING ALL OVER THE RADIO AND THE PAPERS ASKING FOR DONATIONS ESPECIALLY WITH THANKDGIVING RIGHT AROUND THE CORNER, SO I WOULD DONATE THE MONEY TO HOPEFULLY HELP FILL SOME HUNGRY TUMMYS IN OUR COMMUNITY.

  101. I would spend $250 to buy my cousin (he is 6 years old a tablet). I know you may say a tablet for a 6year old, but here’s why. He is a smart and ambitious little boy. He always ask me where I work and what I do and he wants to be like his big cousin, an engineer. The tablet would be uaed to get him interact with educational apps to help build his curiosity to becoming an engineer like his big cousin.

  102. Back story:

    My apartment burned down last July (2011) and my girlfriend and I lost everything. We received A LOT of help from the community, our families, our church, but let’s be honest–most of that help consisted of hand-knit sweaters from the seniors, used furniture from the 70′s (not the cool kind of antique, the worn-down, falling apart, “what even is this?” kind of antique), and stretched-out, doesn’t-fit-anymore-and-it’s-4-years-old-anyway bags of clothes from our friends. We were so grateful for the help and support that it took us a while to realize that our [new] small studio was/is basically, like, a stuffy Goodwill. With a cat.

    We’ve been saving like crazy since the fire, and have managed to rebuild our individual emergency funds… and then we realized how shabby everything we own is, and that we’re living like 80-year-olds on welfare, not a 22-year-old grad student and a 23-year-old professional. So last weekend we deep-cleaned our apartment, went through our closets and kitchen and donated loads of things that were donated to us a little over a year ago, glad to pass them on to people who are now in greater need than us.

    With that said, I would…

    $80 – Replace my [burned] Doc Martens. We live in a rainy area and my best friend’s ripped (literally) Vans will not survive another Winter.
    $30 – Buy my girlfriend that really nice sweater I saw the other day.
    $60 – Take us out to dinner! Our anniversary is on Monday!
    $80 – Try to find a really simple bed frame. Something to get the mattress off the floor. And that will last.

  103. I am a financial literacy coach at a non profit organization in Metro Detroit. I give workshops on Wednesday mornings. One of the things I have noticed is that these individuals normally arrive hungry. We do not provide any snacks (…we’re a non profit…). I would love to be able to provide some sort of snack and drink to as many participants I can with the money.

    Eva

  104. I would achieve my 6 month emergency fund!

  105. I would put it all on red

  106. It just so happens that $250 is the exact amount I would have to put down for a pet deposit in order to have a dog in my apartment. I have been thinking about getting a dog for awhile, but the start-up costs have been holding me back (which you guys have written about quite a bit), and so I would use the extra cash in my budget to get over the hump and bring a new friend home.

  107. Allison Terzyk says:

    Oh my goodness- $250 would be amazing right now. I currently live in Philadelphia but work in NYC. Therefore I have to pay a city wage tax to Philadelphia which will be about $2200 for the year. This $250 would go directly to that even though I would love to put it towards continuing to pay down my credit card. Love the blog! Keep the great articles coming!

  108. The extra $250 would allow me to get the ring I want so that I could propose to my GF by Christmas :)

  109. Shemika Hopson says:

    If you had asked me that question, six months ago, I would say “save a bit, invest a bit”. Ha! How life’s choices cause us to alter our perspective. So, I resigned from my job to enter graduate school recently and planned to live off of my savings. I’ve had 2 unexpected expenses eat of most of that money. Right about now, I’d use $250 to cover needed expenses (i.e. food, clothing, shelter) until I am lucky enough to find part-time work that doesn’t conflict with my school schedule.

  110. I’ve been really challenged on the thought of giving lately, so I would take $250 and give it away, a dollar a day, to a different person each time. That’s brightening the days of 250 different people, one at a time. :)

  111. I’m having my first kid in May, so I would simply use that money to start a savings account for him or her. My parents did that for me, and I remember learning how to do banking that way. I kept my little blue ledger in a safe place, often looking at it thinking about how that money could help me in the future.

    Of course, I emptied it out when I was 21 for a trip to Italy, but still! I don’t have to pass on those mistakes!

  112. I would go clothes shopping spree for me and my younger cousin. She is 19 and is having a hard time currently. She struggles with depression and PTSD. We just got her enrolled in therapy that starts next week. She does not have any positive female role models in her life, and I have decided to step up and help her out. I am teaching her how to drive, and I invite her over for pool time, healthy meals, and laughter! Her family is very low income and she does not have the means to buy anything nice for herself. She struggles to just find money for food. I would love to suprise her with some new clothes!

  113. I would spend $250 in two ways. First, I would give half of it to my daughter. She has been accepted into a Youth Leadership Program through our local chanber of commerce, and will be traveling to Disney World in November for a week of activities and behind-the-scenes events that will open up a whole world to her and 113 other high school juniors. My husband and I are covering the cost, which is around $1000, but she’s going to need to dip into her savings for spending money. We just don’t have it to give her. I would love to give her $125 toward souvenirs, clothing, books, or whatever else she wants to bring back from this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

    I would keep half for myself. Also in November, I will be traveling to Texas to visit my ailing Father. My brother and his family will also be there. I would love to treat them all to a special dinner out. I’ve never been able to do this, and my daughter’s trip is really tightening our belts. Right now, I’m scraping together just enough money for myself. Dinner with my Dad would be wonderful.

    That’s what I would do with $250. No savings, no debt payments, I promise.

    Thank you for this contest.
    Kimberly Stromgren

  114. $250 would buy a weekend getaway to the mountains of West Virginia. They have these great little rustic cabins you can rent on mountain tops that give you the most amazing views. You wake up to see hawks flying around and there is mist and fog and you drink coffee and watch the sunrise. I went once and it was the most peaceful and relaxing weekend. I would love to go back, but we are currently trying to get an emergency fund established for our family and are resisting (ALL!) extra splurges until we can at least get $5,000 established as an emergency fund. We plan to eventually have $10,000 saved in that fund, but for now, we are keeping a lean budget until we hit $5,000. Reading your blog has helped us really focus on what we need to be doing. This is something we have talked about, but never took the necessary steps to achieve. I think we just kept thinking our savings would eventually just get there, but with a house, things always come up and we kept depleting our budget. Our new plan involved opening a separate account outside of our regular bank and making automated deposits into it. This has helped tremendously! So, what would I do with $250? I would jump and my car and head to the hills!!

  115. I have been a massage therapist for 8 years. It is a service industry but you would be surprised how often we are not tipped for our service. The going rate for a massage in my area is more or less a dollar a minute. It would take me 4,1 hours of massages to make 250. What I would do is what iin my fantasies I wish a client would do for me. I would simply go get a massage and tip the massage therapist 250.00! That way she/he could rest their hands for 4 hours with a smile on their faces :-)

  116. $250 would cover I attempt at the GMAT or one grade A business school application (times about 20).

    I’ve got 21 ways to use $250.

  117. I would buy a pair of Frye boots. As the weather cools, I’ve been thinking about how much I need a pair of boots – and I’ve always wanted to own a pair of these. They’re expensive enough ($175 and up) that I’ve never been able to bring myself to spend it. But it’s been a tough couple of months for me, and I could use this kind of indulgence – which doubles as an investment! Frye boots are high quality, the kind that can last for ten or more years. They’re also the kind that ages really beautifully. In fact, the first day you wear them is the worst they will ever look. Sigh…

  118. I would use an extra $250 to go towards my upcoming wedding and honeymoon! We are paying for most of it ourselves, while also planning to move out of state a couple months after the wedding. The $250 would probably cover the cost of the wedding cake!

  119. My mom is most amazing person you will ever meet.

    During the summer of 2006, my brother and his family rented a condo in Colorado and invited everyone out for a short vacation. My mother and I were helping my grandmother (my mom’s mom) clean out my great-grandmother’s house (yes all on the maternal side) as my great-grandmother was moving into a nursing home and the house had to be sold. We cleaned for a few days and then headed to CO to join the family for the weekend before going back to cleaning. While we were there, my mother and I decided to go on a hike near Granby Lake in CO. We got a late start and had to turn back before completing the hike. We vowed to return, but the weekend ended and life became busy.

    In October 2007, we found out that her mother, my grandmother, had stage IV colon cancer. Surgery was completed along with some chemotherapy, but due to my grandmother’s age and the progression of the disease, there wasn’t much which could be done. My mom took leave from her job in January 2008 to take care of her and ending up losing her job as the leave time expired. My mom continued to live with and care for her mother until grandma passed in May 2008.

    Just a month or two later, while my mom was in the midst of cleaning out my grandmother’s home, my great-grandmother (all on the maternal side) took a turn for the worse. My mother traveled to take care of her grandmother and stayed until my great-grandmother’s passing in November 2008. We thought that the worst was behind us and that 2009 would be a better year all around.

    We were wrong.

    After giving birth to her fifth child in January 2009, my older sister noted some pain in her side. Tests showed discoloration and she was taken into surgery. After emergency surgery, 5 blood transfusions and being resuscitated twice, she was placed in the ICU. My mom was there the entire time. Four days later, while still guarding over my sister in the ICU, we received a call that my father had not shown up for work. My mom contacted some friends who lived around my parents’ house to see if they could check the house. After breaking into the house, they found my father upstairs having suffered a massive stroke 8 hours earlier. I picked my mom up from one ICU and drove three hours to another ICU to see my dad.

    We were blessed in that my sister, the baby and my dad all survived. Both my sister and the now three year-old are doing wonderful and while confined to a wheelchair, my dad is still wish us.

    If given the $250 I would make good on the promise to my mom to take her back to CO and finish the hike we were never able to complete. It may sound really simple, but after everything that has happened, it will be a triumphic ending to a 6 year long journey.

  120. How would I use $250?

    It’s a dream of mine to fly relief flights to South America or Africa. I’m working on my instrument rating. $250 is 5 hours of instruction, and that’s what I’d use it for. I worked hard to earn my pilot certificate without any kind of debt, and I’m doing the same thing with my instrument rating. I hope one day to use it to make a difference.

  121. I would use the $250 to purchase needed items for my boyfriend to be able to participate in the tent shows in our town next year. He is an extemely talented landscape photographer who travels around the US, mostly to National Parks, and captures some of America’s most beautiful scenic landscapes one could ever imagine. While he is a struggling artist now, I believe he has what it takes to one day open his own gallery. But first, people need to see his work and that will only happen with exposure.

  122. I would use the $250 to purchase Korean language lessons in order to properly communicate and ask my girlfriend’s father for her hand in marriage. Communicating to first generation Korean parents who are strict and controlling has been very difficult and uncomfortable. I hope to learn quickly how to speak Korean just enough to converse with her parents.

  123. I would use it toward a 90 day unlimited pass to my local Bikram studio! Then I can spend 90 days in a stinky room that is 105 degrees and 40% humidity with a bunch of half-naked people. The excitement!

  124. I would put the $250 toward a flight for my husband and I to visit my family in Virginia.

    In the past 8 months we have moved from Nebraska to Wyoming for a career opportunity that was turning into a career stopper, and now back to Nebraska after finding a much better employment situation for us both. In the long run this will be a great career choice and financial situation, but in the short term has caused us to make a lot of tough financial decisions (we used all our savings for the second move and went into more credit debt, after already borrowing from my father for the first move).

    In April my grandfather suffered a serious stroke and I used our savings to purchase a plane ticket to see him the next day (we were unsure of our second move at this point, and unsure if my grandfather would make it through the next few days). Several months later with my grandfather’s health stabilized and after moving to Nebraska my mother paid for me to fly out again. My husband hasn’t been able to see my family in a year, and it’s looking like we won’t be able to afford to fly out together until February. We made the “adult” decision to not fly out for the holidays in the hopes that we will be better recovered from our two moves to be able to afford it after the holidays instead.

    During this time my grandmother’s health has also been worsening, and my parents made the decision this week to have her move in with them. This means my grandmother and parents will be together and my grandfather living in a V.A. rehabilitation center roughly 15 miles away. Family is the most important thing in life, and it has been a terrible struggle to find the balance with financial decisions we have to make and the emotional needs we have to be close to loved ones during tough times. The extra $250 would make traveling home much more feasible allowing my husband to join me to help support my parents as they adjust to their new normal.

  125. I would use the $250 to continue our landscaping project that my husband and I started last year. My husband’s finishing his last year as landscape architecture student and we took the project on for a number of reasons. We live in the desert and we feel good doing our part saving water; we live in a neighborhood where people both LOVE their lawns and hope that our water efficient yard will open their eyes; we love each other :) and spending time outside is one of our favorite past times. Thanks for your consideration!

  126. Kevin Watterson says:

    I would give it to my boss, who is currently running for re-election, to help insure that I have a job past November 6.

    Okay, that’s a joke. My serious answer is that I would find a way to use it to help people victimized by the horrific shooting in my city that left six people dead.

  127. I would use the $250 to pay for the courses to obtain my real estate license. At this point in my life, Im still putting the pieces in order so that I may see the bigger picture.

    This step would be one of many in helping me secure an income that will pay off my $119,000 of student loan debt, which hasnt helped me secure a decent salaried job, finally move into my 1st apartment at the ripe age of 25, and strengthen the relationship between my mother and I, of which I’ve burdened with my presence for the last 2.5 years since graduation and technically all of my life…

  128. Bethany Gonzalez says:

    I am always paying bills and trying to keep my head above water to keep bills current that sometimes I can only buy groceries with whatever money I have left. Sometimes $5 sometimes $20; but not much more than that. I have two boys and it;s hard; but I tell them we are going through a hard time; but we’ll get through this. So if I had $250 dollars I would pay towards extra debt I have out there; and then buy groceries so we have a little more than what we’ve had since Feb. 2012 when I had to take another job and had to take a $4 decrease in pay. Although, I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for us; at times I wish a financial angel would fall from the sky and help me; but then I know there are people worse off than us.

  129. I’d use $250 in a variety of areas. By using it all at one place, you’re basically putting all your eggs in one basket, right? To save it is kinda silly, so I would:

    -Put $50 into micro-lending. This allows the money to help someone out and then get repaid to me. It basically delays my spending the money long enough to let someone get some real use in the money. Obviously, microlending only with a reputable company. When the money is repaid… knowing me, i’d realistically put it into savings.

    -Use $100 for my classroom. Since we’re allowed to deduct up to $250 for classroom expenses from my taxes (yes, in case you haven’t been able to figure it out, i’m a teacher). I’d get the essentials I need to ensure my classroom functions well and my students prosper.

    -Use $50 to increase a payment towards my car (… every little bit helps, right?) .

    -Use $50 to take me and my wife out for dinner and a movie. Happiness comes when you’ve got a healthy relationship… right? Well, date night has been the easiest way for us to keep our relationship healthy!

    That’s how i’d spend the money.

  130. I’m actually trying to raise money for Leukemia & Lymphoma as my cousin passed away in January of this year. Unfortunately people are not donating as predicted so $250.00 would at least put us over the $1000.00 mark and meet 10% of our goal since we only have two weeks left. Thanks for the chance! Shaunty

  131. My husband and I are big Money Under 30 fans, and I recommend your site to all of our friends. We take to heart a lot of advice from you David, your fellow bloggers, and from all of the comments left here. Thanks to you and everyone else, we have been able to save $ and pay off a lot of our student loan debt over the past year (all after paying for a wedding and buying a beautiful condo).

    But sometimes you just want to spend a little money and have some fun! Our 1st wedding anniversary is on Sunday and if someone handed me $250 I would take my amazing husband out to a fabuluos steak house here in Boston and wine and dine the night away. Everyone needs a little indulgence every once in a while, right? :-)

  132. I would use the money to by classroom supplies. I am a high school math teacher and have no budget for buying supplies like expo markers and paper in my classroom.

  133. After thanking God, Money Under 30 & American Express, in 1st Instance i will use $ 75 for attending Seminars & Workshops on the Subject like Investment Stratgy, Portfolio Analysis & Financial Management etc. Next I will buy learning material like ebooks etc. regarding Investment, Marketing, IT & Finance worth $50. I will donate $ 25 to Reliable Charity Trust. I will shop for $ 25 for Mom. I will make refreshment with family worth $ 25. In last for remaining $ 50, I will get myself enrolled for a course regarding sofware & Webdelvelopment (ASP.Net etc.).

  134. To be honest I’d probably use it for me. I am due to have a baby in the next couple of weeks and can’t wait to get my body back. My husband has been begging me for years to buy clothes and things for myself but I have refused too (seriously my closet is full of clothes that I wore in high school when I was having fat days that are now form fitting for me). I haven’t bought anything for myself in so long, or really done anything for myself. With being married and two (nearly three) kids later, I always put what I want last, but now that I just completed my real estate license as well as I am starting my own “virtual assistant” business, I feel like I need to update my wardrobe so people will take me seriously. I already have three clients for my business but I feel to expand that as well as work in real estate, I need to update my look (not sure if clients will like seeing me wearing a silly comment t-shirt or something that shows off a little more than a married mother should). $250 would be a great incentive for me to do this for myself, while not cutting into the budget that I’ve set up for my husband and I.

  135. I would give the money to my brother and sister-in-law. She just got laid off 2 months ago, a day before her 3-month probation period for her new job was up. She’s been working odd jobs since then but nothing full-time, so they have been living off of my brother’s one income. My brother works from 8am – 8pm with an hour commute. They also just found out 2 weeks ago that she is pregnant, and it is a high risk pregnancy with her fibroids and her thyroid problem. Prior to this, she had no insurance. So now, to add her to my brother’s insurance, it would cost them an extra $400-something. Therefore, I would want to give the money to them to help out with the baby and medical cost. It is definitely something they would need far more than me at this time.

  136. As odd as this sounds, I would use this money for self defense classes and begin the credit repair journey. I work night shift, on Monday of this week I spent the night at the hospital with my grandfather who had a heart attack. I woke up Tues afternoon to gunshots. The victims were next door. We (rent) live in a decent neighborhood, so this is not something we have ever been exposed to. In fact we chose this area because it was nice and cheaper to rent a house than an apartment in the city. We needed to sacrifice a little while my husband goes to nursing school full time. This week has taken our basic feeling of safety and destroyed it. It was the most terrifying and body numbing experience we have ever had. Within two hours I had already contacted my cousin who is a realtor. She ran our credit and we learned that we do not qualify to buy a house, nor did we have the means to just up and move. This did something to me, I felt like in the moment I wanted to run and move, we couldn’t due to previous bad decisions. It has been very sobering. I have been lazy in getting our financial life together. Pulling credit reports for two people begins to add up, along with supplies and post office fees. So I would begin there, taking back control and never to have this feeling of being stuck and scared. Then I would take self defense classes. I have already looked into it and it is defiantly something i need to do. Feeling safe and in control of your life are my two main goals.

  137. I’d use it to visit my grandmother, who is in poor health half way across the country.

  138. Danielle Dunn says:

    Well I have a few ideas. I could either 1) buy some more contacts and get rid of the broken busted looking crooked- on- my- face glasses I’m back to wearing :-)(mind you, I work in a doctor’s office ), 2) get a much needed car repair, 3) pay for some CE classes at a local community college, and/or 4) help my grandma with her medical bills ( or any of her bills for that matter).

  139. I would put this toward application fees for Ph.D. programs I’m hoping to attend next fall–maybe adding a couple extra schools will up my options and help make my career vision a reality!

  140. I’d use it to help ten people who need it more than me at Kiva (http://www.kiva.org).

  141. Robert Burns says:

    I’d put it towards an engagement ring (hey, every little bit helps) in taking your advice of avoiding additional debt during the ring buying process.

  142. I would buy an airplane ticket for my best friend to come home for Christmas. She doesn’t have the money to get from five states away to Texas to see her family often. Her birthday is also three days after Christmas. This would mean so much to her!

  143. I would use the money as an experiment to get a sense of really how valuable every penny is.

    I’m going to calculate the percentages my monthly finances (rent, credit card, utilities, etc) over my monthly salary, and put the same percentage of the $250 to each. So, for example, if my monthly salary is $3000, and my rent is $1000, then I’ll take $83.33 from the $250 and apply it to my rent. Honestly, even writing this, it already seems like I lost a lot more than I’d like in terms of rent. Now, if my internet bill is $50/$3000, then I’ll use $4.17 from the money towards it. Now that’s a number I’m happy with! However, if I’m putting $50/$3000 into savings, then $4.17 doesn’t look so good anymore…

    Of course, these are just crude examples. I’m going to be granular about it and really dig into my finances, see whether I’m happy where my money is going.

  144. If I were to have an extra $250, I would be inclined to splurge on my family. With four children and one income, extras are few and far between.
    A well timed vacation day for Hubby would lead the way to a four night stay in a State Park. At $20 a night, it would leave plenty to purchase groceries for our get-a-way and provide gas money as well. The kids would have a chance to enjoy the outdoors. While Hubby and I would get time to spend together without distractions. Win-Win situation…

  145. Art Gerhardt says:

    Hello David, I am happily retired and not “Under 30″ but I like your website anyway. I would give the $250 to a young person in Kenya that is looking for a loan to expand his livestock. This program is through “KIVA.org” .

    Joseph is 30 years old. He is from Olkalou, is married, and has children who are all in school. Joseph has been a farmer for many years. He has applied for his third loan from KADET Ltd. to enable him buy fertilizers and sheep to add to his livestock. He hopes to venture into livestock rearing in the near future. The Kenya Agency for the Development of Enterprise and Technology (KADET) is dedicated to economically empowering its clients by providing financial services to improve living conditions of micro-entrepreneurs and their children across Kenya. KADET is the microfinance subsidiary of World Vision Kenya.

  146. stephanie teague says:

    I have a good friend who has been suffering with a bad tooth for more than 5 years; he has no money or insurance to see a dentist. I think he could get that tooth pulled for $250, if not, I would put in the rest.

  147. I’d use it to empower women through my upcoming F*R*E*E* teleseries, The 2012 Holistic Breast Cancer PREVENTION Series: From Fear to Empowerment. It will be simulcast via webcast & phone. I’ll be interviewing experts, some of whom are M.D.s & Ph.D.s, about the latest, and best, holistic ways to help PREVENT developting breast cancer. “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure”. There are actual, legitimate things women, can do, NOW, to help prevent breast cancer that go way beyond just eating right & exercising. This series will explore those ways.*

    It’s my intention that EVERYONE who wants to listen, can, hence it being free for listeners. However, it is NOT free for me to produce, and conduct. The start date has already been delayed, due to not yet having raised enough funds to produce it, so this pre-loaded Serve card will be spent directly, & totally, on producing this series. The sooner I have the necessary funds to produce & conduct this series, it will be launched! Time is of the essence, especially because October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, so the sooner this series is funded, the sooner I can get started empowering women, and those who love us, preferably this October! :-)

    *Sadly, there are no guarnatees in life, so there is no guarantee that you will not develop b.c., or that it won’t recur, if you’ve already had it. This series is not a substitute for professional medical advice. It is meant for educational, and informational purposes only. Every person is advised to take responsibility for their own healthcare, and seek medical advice from their own trusted, hopefully open-minded, holistic medical practitioners, who stay up to date w/ health news & science. Above all, women are advised to trust their own inner guidance.

  148. Marisol Mata says:

    HELLO
    I WOULD USE THE $250.00 TO BUY GROCERIES AND GAS FOR MY CAR. MY HUSBAND HAD TO HAVE SURGERY AND WHERE LIVING ONLY ON MY INCOME. ITS VERY FRUSTRATING.
    THANK YOU

  149. My initial thought when I saw your email was, “$250 is a month’s student loan payment!”. However, I then read that you cannot use the money to pay off debt. I recently left a job I despised to accept a family therapist position which I am thrilled about (and will actually be using my graduate school education that I got all of those loans for!) I will be taking a decrease in pay but hopefully increasing my job satisfaction. I have a lot of child clients within these families and like to use play therapy techniques with this population. The agency I’m working at has several offices I commute to, and does not have child-friendly supplies needed for play therapy at each office. I haven’t received a paycheck yet, but have already bought a few new books, and would like to buy art supplies, play-doh, clay, and puppets to make therapy more enjoyable and effective for my client population. I would use the $250 to stock my mobile office (car) with play therapy supplies to take to each office with me.

  150. Mary Ann Miller says:

    If I was given $250.00 I first would tithe $25.00. I would then purchase fabric and supplies to sew baby bedding( crib sheets and warm blankets) and children’s clothing. I would then donate half of the items to groups that help infants and children in need and sell the other half to my customers on eBay.com and Etsy.com. With the money received from selling items I could start the process over again.

  151. I would give $125 to each of my favorite causes:
    - a microlending and computer literacy program in India run by my friend Derek that is looking for donations and used laptops to replace their current machines http://loksahbhagisanstha.blogspot.com/ and
    - an awesome education project that works to improve undergraduate science education (particularly physics) and retention in these programs. Despite lots of documented success over the last 6 years, they still struggle with funding. http://www.berkeleycompassproject.org.

    and spend the remaining $50 to host a dinner for my friends, who are the family I’ve chosen. Strengthening these relationships is an investment in the future, as well as a source of happiness in the present.

  152. Lately I’ve had a real soft spot for animals that need rescuing.Every single one that I see or hear about breaks my heart and I want to adopt them all, but I just don’t have the resources right now for another pet. If I had this $250, I would double it and donate $500 to my favorite animal rescue in LA. It wouldn’t be quite the same as having a warm fluffy to come home to, but it would still be a great feeling.

  153. My boyfriend is in the military, and has sacrifices so much including his health at times. I would treat him to things that we can’t normally afford in our budgets: a massage, high-quality groceries, and maybe some unique beers!

  154. I would give it to my friend Janet who struggles to buy those extras for her kids. She works hard but there’s never enough money.

  155. I’d buy shipping supplies– boxes, bubble wrap, postage, etc. By this time next year, I hope to have a new, higher paying job in a new, more exciting town. Step 2 (after polishing my resume and Linkedin profile, of course!) is decluttering my apartment in preparation for a move. To eBay!

  156. I’d buy a plane ticket to see my terminally ill mother.

  157. I would use it to buy books and bookshelves for my wife’s startup business as a private music teacher.

  158. I just met the love of my life–These things really do happen. One of those instantaneous connections that you think only occur in movies. We have talked/gchatted/texted non-stop since then, two weeks ago. I’d use the $250 to buy a ticket to go see her. She lives a 1400 away. I would go woo her. Show her why me and why now and why it is worth taking big risks in life (more so with love than with money!). I think she needs to be reminded of this. Right now she is playing it safe. Yet she has acknowledged that these enormous feelings are mutual. It’s is just a matter of bridging the distance between us and deciding what great things could be next for us. First i just need to turn up on her doorstep. ♥

  159. I’d go on a weekend road trip to clear my mind of all it’s worry like piling bills, the economy and my minimum wage pay checks. I’d roll the windows down, let my hair loose, and pretend like I’m carefree for the WHOLE weekend cause I don’t have to be me til Monday;)

  160. I would deposit it into my Amex Prepaid card so I won’t go over my spending limits and be control of my finances.

  161. I would give the card to my live-in girlfriend so that she could buy herself new underwear. Four months ago, I got a pug puppy, and as every dog owner knows, underwear is like pizza to dogs; they can’t get enough of it! All of the pairs she owns are torn apart and look like Swiss cheese :(

  162. I would use it to treat my boyfriend to a luxurious and relaxing day including a massage and a nice dinner out. He moved to a new country for me and on top of taking classes all week, morning and afternoon, he works 12 hours shifts all weekend in a restaurant, running around and making it home at 2:30am only to go back the next morning. He does it all with a smile and knows it’s an investment into our future and he makes me so incredibly happy.

  163. How would I use a $250 American Express Serve Card?

    First I would follow my Phi Kappa Psi Fraternity motto: “The Great Joy of Serving Others.” Being in Chicago for six years as shown me a lot about those who has way less than me. Yes being trapped in huge amounts of Student Loan debt are no fun, but I am blessed to know where each meal will come from. There are numerous men and women who stand outside Walgreen’s looking for change….

    I will do them one better and offer three people the ability to spend $15 on any items they want.

    This leaves me with $205 left.

    I will buy a domain name to start my own blog. Estimated cost $20. Website building tools $50

    This website will be a place where I will look to raise money to dig myself out of debt. I will use the power of Serve to raise funds. The website will offer a 20% give back to charity. This is where my above action of giving back will take place again.

    This leaves me with $135 left, and I will use this money to ease my loan burden of $900 monthly.

    These goals and actions will help me achieve full debt reduction in the next 2-3 years. At the same time this Serve investment will help pave the way for a new blogger and website creator to help the masses!

    Best,

    Joe Perry

    • Well the first is i will split the money into different portions.Give 10% to my church 20%college savings 20% to my regular savings and lastly 10% to chatirt!!

      thanks for the offer:)
      have a wonderful week

      Boniface Nelsen

    • Well the first is i will split the money into different portions.Give 10% to my church 20%college savings 20% to my regular savings and lastly 10% to chatirt!!

      thanks for the offer:)
      have a wonderful week

  164. I work in the local high school and have particularly bonded with a handful of the students. They come to me and share their stories, troubles and many things about their home lives.

    This touches me deeply first because they trust me enough to share. I’m also touched because in each one of them I see what my own daughter might have been (hopefully sans many of the troubling aspects they share) had she had the chance to live before she died at the age of eleven. What hurts the most is when they tell me they feel like no one at home cares and that there is no adult they feel they can talk to. I strive to be that one safe place where they can come to just be themselves.

    So….after I got my son a new pair of eyeglasses which has been impossible to do on my wages and as a single mother (and his are super glued together right now) – I’d take the leftover money and buy something for these students to remind them they do matter in the world and that the world is not entirely a bad place as they tend to think in their black and white thinking. One of them wants to go to homecoming but doesn’t have the resources to buy the ticket next weekend. This would take care of that. For the other students I am thinking about, I’d have to think about what exactly would be meaningful while in the budget. Obviously I couldn’t send all of them to the Homecoming, nor do all of them need help in that way. Sometimes, the simplest of gestures can be felt the deepest. Maybe it’s just making a batch of cookies and giving them out, or some McDonald’s gift certificates or something else I think of.

    I believe the gesture will speak louder than the material item.

    The point is to reach out and say “you matter. I’m glad you are here”. Inside, I will know I’m also doing it for my late daughter, who isn’t here. I’m sure she will smile down from heaven for me and the students on that day we share the love.

    ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

    • Valerie Dornan says:

      Hey Wendy, I vote for you!

      • Thanks Valerie.

        Just writing this did then have me in Walgreen’s where I bought a bag of candy and handed them out this morning. They were happy and touched and it felt good to me to be doing that.

        I’d still like to do more….

  165. I’m a member of Generation Boomerang; after graduating from university, returning to live at home was a necessity what with the realities of the job market. In an unexpected turn of events, my Mom was laid off from her job so our household of two is trying to support itself through odd jobs here and there.

    Despite these budgetary constraints, my Mom makes it a point to kick off our days with a nutritious smoothie replete with fruits and veggies. In doing so, she makes use of all the odds and ends of any leftover salads or fruits lying about. Her mindset is that our health should not be compromised and our days should start off right.

    I would be thrilled for the chance to acknowledge my Mom’s unwavering commitment to health by gifting her with a proper multi-function blender. The one I have in mind will use up a good portion of the $250 and any remaining money will be spent on the staple ingredients she uses (nuts, oatmeal, fruits). This would make her so happy and we would both reap enjoyment from it!

    • Yes you get my vote. I too have been eyeing a Vitamix too (a high functioning blender). Better health leads to better wealth! The reconditioned models (used but factory restored) from the website are $329, so you might have to win this and save a bit more – but so worth it!

      • Stephanie says:

        Thanks Amber!! I agree. That’s actually the version she keeps mentioning .. so you’re right, it may be best to go all out and really take her by total surprise. In any event, it would definitely top the one she has now (she’s constantly dividing whatever she’s blending into batches because the thing is so small.)

  166. I would use it to fund my alternative spring break trip to volunteer with the Blue Mountain Project, an association that brings quality health care, education, and economic development to the people in the isolated community of Hagley Gap, Jamaica.

  167. I would spend the $250 on various items for professional development. I am a registered nurse in a busy urban emergency room and I would love to buy a new stethoscope, new shoes, a few reference books, or to attend one or two certification classes. These are all things that I think are necessary, but unfortunately have deemed “out of the budget,” as I still have significant student loans. In my two years as a nurse, I have learned that safe nursing care depends a lot on what you can do proactively on your own, outside of work hours. Believe it or not, they don’t teach you everything in nursing school and employers do not usually pay for (required) continuing education! I would love to be able to invest a little more money into my current position at work to make the most of where I am right now. This way, I would become better at what I do, become a resource person for others, be more valuable to my employer and open up doors for more responsibility in the future.

    I like the idea that using my money this way is still a future investment without just sticking money in the bank for later use. The money that I earn and save for later will be more valuable to me when I know that I have earned it because I was the best nurse I could be. A nurse who is investing in her career and her patients and cares enough to put extra time and money into caring for them.

    Thanks!

  168. If I had an extra $250, I’d spend it right away–but not on myself. I am blessed to have a roof over my head, clothes to wear, and food to eat. Those things alone make me in the top 10% of the richest people in the world! That is very humbling, and a fact I cannot just ignore. I believe there is a responsibility for us in the top 10% to take care of the less fortunate. In other countries around the world, there are men, women, and children who are struggling for their lives to find shelter, a scrap of food, and clean water. We are so worried about our government and health care, but there are people in different parts of the world whose government is shattered, and who have never seen a doctor.

    If I were given an extra $250, I would match it, donating $500 to the Samaritan’s Purse–a Christian organization that provides aid to the world’s poor, sick, and suffering. More specifically, I would evenly split the money among the following projects that the Samaritan’s Purse oversees: the Cambodia project, which–for one–will help remove landmines and open schools in defused minefields. The Nuba Wells Project drills freshwater wells in Sudan for women who walk for miles to find only one bucket of muddy, stagnant water. Lastly, the Orphans and Vulnerable Children Project helps children get food, education, and lodging.

    These projects, in addition to what I’ve summarized, also do other things like bringing clean water to communities, helping exploited women and vulnerable children, implementing farming programs, and providing food. To find out more about these projects, I am providing a link:
    https://www.samaritanspurse.org/index.php/Giving/Project_Donations/

    I firmly feel there is NO better way to put this money to use than to give it to those who truly need it. :)

  169. A few months back, I helped finance a loan on Kiva and since then, wanted to help support others goals of becoming self-sufficient individuals or helping support their families. As a result, I have been saving money in a separate account and this $250 would go a long way to support more people achieve their dreams.

    I would use the money to help finance 10 loans of $25 each with the idea of living up to Gandhi’s statement of being the change you want to see in this world…

  170. Joanna Eddy says:

    I just recently heard that our town is collecting small boxes full of little gifts for Christmas gifts for needy children all over the world. It is part of the Operation Christmas Child Program. You make up small shoes boxes full of useful and fun items for children who are not be able to afford these items and then make a small donation per box to cover the shipping to send the boxes all over the world. I would use the $250 to make up as many boxes as I could. I think that this is such an amazing idea that can really help brighten a child’s holiday.

  171. One word: Nashvegas.

    Imagine spending two sleepless nights at the bedbug-infested Best Western Hotel, chain smoking and heavy whiskey drinking at the raucous country music destination Honky Tonk Row, not to mention, mechanical bull riding to impress young Southern belles, as well as, sobering up to Nashville’s best soul food at Muddea’s Chicken and Waffles breakfast joint. Next weekend’s folly will be posted on Facebook.

    Your donation is much obliged.

  172. Daniel Groot says:

    I would love to be able to take my wife to see a musical. We would probably see “the Book of Mormon” that is showing now! :)

  173. I’m addicted to my work. As a wedding photographer, you’d imagine I get out a lot. I don’t. Most of my time is spent in front of my computer editing photographs, emailing, invoicing, advertising and completing the thousand tiny little things that come with running a business. Most weekend nights I spend doing work. Not because I have to, but because I want to. My friend list is dwindling. Well that has to change, or else I most likely will not see my friends ever again. I’m moving away. What’s worse is that I’m moving away from Hawaii. Yup, Hawaii. As you can imagine moving isn’t the cheapest thing in the world. Especially since I can’t pack everything in a truck and drive over the ocean! I want to budget myself a party, or a string of nights where I can hang out with my friends and enjoy good company for a change. Almost like a funeral. Where I can say goodbye dear friends!

    How will I spend the $250? I’m going to budget it to spend time with my friends. It may be a night out to dinner or a couple of nights out at a bar for a few of drinks.

    Many have told me that I will miss Hawaii when I’m gone. The sunsets, the ocean, the views, the weather. I’m sure I will. But the one thing I will miss the most is traffic. No I’m kidding, of course my friends!!!

    Even if I don’t win this contest I’ll probably go and get a card and charge it with $225 + $25 from Amex =) Work, money and financial health is important. But none of it matters if you don’t enjoy life!

  174. Valerie Dornan says:

    I would give $50 to each of my two daughters and say they were to put it towards paying their college loans.

    I would give $50 to my husband for him to pay off some of the principal on his condo mortgage.

    I would use $50 towards the principal on my car payment.

    I would donate $50 to the college my girls went to, and where they received generous scholarships…. St Olaf College in Minnesota.

  175. Nick Hohler says:

    How would I spend the $250?

    Well, about 3 months ago I was fortunate enough to marry the love of my life! It was a wonderful day, filled with many memories that will last for a lifetime. However, all of these memories were paid for by both of us. Neither of us come from families with much money, so we were forced to save for a couple years to pay for our wonderful wedding and honeymoon. I think anyone that has ever been married, knows how much these cost!

    Due to the high cost of a wedding we don’t have much money to order prints of our wedding photos (the package from our photographer includes no prints, just the images). We were planning on saving for a few months to pay for prints, but would love to be able to buy these now with the extra $250!

    Thanks for the consideration!
    -Nick

  176. I would really like to be able to get the $250 to help get some supplies to make life more comfortable for my older cat Zoey. She loves to be able to lay in bed with me, but when it comes to getting down in the middle of the night she can’t quite make the jump, or climb back up when she comes back. It would really be helpful to buy her a little set of stairs to put at the end of the bed to make the climb easier, but it’s just not in my funds right now. I would also like to be able to buy her a higher set of bowls so she doesn’t have to bend her neck over to eat like normal bowls have her do. Having $250 to do an overhall for my cat would mean the world to me in order to make life more comfortable for her and allow me to do a wellness check at the veterinarian.

  177. I would really be grateful for the opportunity to get $250 to help buy some much needed supplies for my older cat Zoey. She really needs a little set of stairs at the foot of the bed to help her get up and down in the middle of the day and night when I’m not able to get up and help her. I would also like to be able to purchase a raised set of food bowls for her to keep her from having to bend her neck over like normal bowls make her do. I would also use the money to get her a wellness check up at the veterninarian. Having this money would really make a difference in my little Zoey’s life.

    • brittni,
      for your cat’s food, you could just put the current bowls on top of something (like a couple of phonebooks you don’t care about or an upside down empty ice cream bucket).

  178. I would use the $250 to pay for my home inspection on Wednesday… I’m a 27 year old woman and I moved in with my parents a year and a half ago to pay down my $10K+ of credit card debt and begin saving for a house.
    This March I was officially credit card debt free and then I began saving towards the purchase of my first home. (After taking a much needed budget free vacation!)
    Now 7 months later I’m preparing for the closing of a lovely home that I can proudly announce I’m paying for all by myself!
    I know this isn’t the most heartwarming story, but the money will really help me out a great deal so I can focus on other expenses.

  179. Ashley Gilliam says:

    Winning an unexpected $250 would be a huge blessing right now! I recently checked my credit/credit score and found that while my score is definitely headed in the right direction, the outstanding balance on my credit card (a couple dollars over $250) is actually affecting me negatively – one of the only negative things on my report. I have been paying the minimum on it because I thought that would look good since all of my payments are on time, but because the balance is so close to the credit limit, it still looks bad on my credit. I’d hope that paying the credit card off in full would skyrocket my credit score to where I need it to be (that’s probably a long shot of a goal with just paying off one debt, but a girl can have dreams, right?! :). I really appreciate the opportunity and hope whoever wins is able to do something great with the money :)

  180. I would use the money to pay for prescriptions & repetitive monthly expenses. While that isn’t very exciting sounding, I know I will spend such money every month, so allocating an unexpected gain to it allows me to use such money efficiently. Sure, I could go out for drinks, but that is very material and short lasting and I a week or so later it’s like I never earned the money. This way, I can better ensure that the unexpected gain is spent on or saved for something I actually need.

    Kyle

  181. How would I use $250? Since I am not supposed to use it to pay down debt or put in savings, here goes…
    My husband and I are coming up on our 5th anniversary. We never had the opportunity to do a real wedding when we got married, as he was deploying, so we want to do a nice small renewal ceremony for our 5th. It won’t be a big affair, just me and him, just this time in appropriate garb. We don’t believe in spending the money on a big wedding, but we missed the chance to stand at the altar in a suit and wedding dress. We want to correct that.
    What the actual $ will go to: He already has a suit, so all I need is the dress. I have narrowed it down to two dresses, both under $250. If I won the money, I would use the majority on the dress.

    Here is where the fun comes in: Anything that is left over, I would use on lottery tickets. I have never purchased a lottery ticket. I could never bring myself to waste the money on them, but if it’s not my money, I am certainly going to give it a try!

  182. How I would use $250:
    I would put the money toward the new business that my husband and I are trying to get off the ground. We started one small business earlier this year–he shines shoes at a tourist bar in town. All the proceeds from that go toward building into a bigger business. Our newer venture is making healthy dog treats. We also donate some of our profits to a homeless shelter here in town where my husband also volunteers. I work full time as a police officer and I’m going back to school to get a degree in accounting. $250 would be a huge help! There are lots of deserving people here–thanks for considering us!

  183. Cecilia Lucido says:

    I had to think long and hard about how I could stretch $250 to be the most fun and what the heck… include someone else in on the fun too!

    So….
    -I would take the train to Chicago (from St. Louis) only $80! ($250-80=170)
    -While in Chicago I would be visiting my cousin who is currently in law school and definitely strapped on cash. We enjoy being active and having fun so I would use $136 to register us for the Chicago Hot Chocolate 15k.($170-136= $34)
    Fun and the money raised goes to a nice charity… plus you get chocolate at the end… win! win!
    -The last $34 I would use to take my cousin and I out to her favorite brunch place, Orange (I’ve only heard about it’s awesome-ness). They sell fruishi = fruit sushi. I also looked at the menu online and they have pancake flights. YES, please!

  184. I have only four classes left until I’m finished with my graduate degree. Money has run out and in order to finish on schedule, I would put the $250 towards my next class that coss $1000. It would go a long way towards helping me in my final push towards my degree!

  185. If I were awarded $250, I would first give 10% to my church. I would then use the rest to give my wife an anniversary weekend that she truly deserves. We just celebrated our 5th anniversary, and she is finishing her degree by taking a class and working a full time internship at a children’s ward in a hospital while also taking care of our 1 year old daughter. I work full time and am enrolled in graduate courses. Our schedules don’t allow for much time together, so I would take her to a bed and breakfast and just spend time with her.

  186. WHAT: I will maximize the $250 in the most creative and engaging way possible to launch the community webzine I’ve been wanting to jumpstart that will work to increase the inclusion and opportunities of fellow Asian Americans in my city as their stories are shared with the general public.

    HOW: I will commit to networking with 50 people from the local Asian/Asian American community by interviewing them over a cup of coffee (assuming it will cost about $5 per coffee date) and document the entire process via a blog/website and social media!

    WHO: Anyone and everyone who represent the diversity of people who are part of and/or who support the local Asian/Asian American community! These people can range from a youth living as the only Asian American in his/her school to an Asian American small business owner or working professional to parents who adopted children from Asia and the cultural connections they try to secure and preserve. I will start with one person and move forward with this project by inviting people from the local community to make nominations/suggestions on the next interviewee(s).

    WHY: Growing up as an Asian American, it wasn’t until I had the opportunity to take a special interest course in college that I realized the extent of how much I was kept in the dark and didn’t enjoy the privilege of learning my personal history and identity in this country. Creating this webzine is my way of starting a ripple right where I stand. I ultimately want to expand how we define “diversity” by creating a channel for our stories to be pushed to the forefront of local discussions on culture and race, so that we move away from being the silent, overlooked, and misunderstood minority. I want the webzine to highlight young and old and inspire our local community to realize and believe that our stories matter.

    The $250 I could win from this giveaway would help me jumpstart this project with the first 50 stories to be shared with the public while triggering the interest and momentum needed to drive this project into a full-fledged webzine that has the limitless potential of creating significant positive impact in our local community! Furthermore, Money Under 30 would help keep me accountable to seeing this project through! :)

  187. If I had $250 I would send it home to Texas to my college, The University of Texas. They keep calling me asking for money but I am too broke to give any. (Don’t they realize grad students are broke?) I would love to support my school more and make the day of the next college student who calls me begging for money haha.

    P.S. I currently am transplanted to Portland, Maine. I happened along your blog somehow and was delighted to see that you are from Portland! I drive by Preble St. everyday so I know your gift was appreciated :)

  188. If I was given 250.00 I would pay part of my student teacher fee, we dont get paid for student teaching.. I am maxed out on my student loans (no too much), and had to use my school money for an emergency root canal. :(

  189. I would use it to install a new, low flow toilet in my bathroom and move the pipes running to my kitchen from the basement on the outside wall so they don’t freeze this winter! I’m boring.

  190. I used to tutor kids ages 8-10, and maybe of them still thought that you could use a credit card without repercussions! With a $250 card, I’d try and teach my little cousins the value of money, especially in a world where we’re using credit and debit cards more and more often.

  191. I am a new teacher of 8th grade English, in Houston, TX, and right now my classroom library is scant to say the least. If I had an extra $250, I would order a variety of yound adult fiction books from the scholastic magazine because they give great deals on books and I’d get more bang for my buck.

  192. I’m a grad student and will be wrapping up a master’s degree this May. I’m hoping to pack up my things and move to Brazil after graduation. I’d spend the money on a plane ticket and spend winter break interviewing at tech companies in Rio.

  193. There are quite a few things I can think of on how I would spend $250…But as I sit here eating my frozen dinner and reading the answers you would expect like paying down credit card debt, going out for a night on the town, or catching a flight to see a loved one, it hit me how I could best use the money… Cooking Lessons. I am a young professional that recently moved to Boston after college from the Midwest (Indiana represent). I have lived in my one bedroom apartment for a little over a year and a half, and have enjoyed every second of what this city has to offer. Before moving to the east coast and starting my life as a “young professional” (I’m still a bit of a college kid at heart), it is glamorized on TV and movies living on your own in a new city, having friends over for dinner parties, cooking huge meals, and feeding everyone your special creation while washing it down with wine and desert. Reality is, I eat out way too often, I am a horrible cook, and may possibly have the same diet as a 7 year old. I can microwave a mean Hot Pocket, Pizza Rolls, and will eat anything by my personal favorite cook, Chef Boyardee, (although I cook my Spaghetti-O’s over the stove so I feel like I actually have an excuse to use the pots and pans my mother bought me before I moved).

    I have spent hundreds and hundreds of dollars on going out to dinner and at my work’s cafe for lunch instead of cooking for myself or eating leftovers from the night before. Since I have graduated, it is time to become a real self-sufficient adult and finally grow up to learn one of life’s most necessary skills. It is getting to the point of my life that it is down right embarrassing how horrible my cooking stills are. Luckily living in a city like Boston, there are places that cater specifically to individuals like myself and offer a variety of cooking classes to enhance my awful culinary skills. After reading reviews where to go and what classes to take, it appears classes run around $145 a session. I understand that only one or two classes may not make me an Emeril Lagasse by any means, but I am confident it will start the fire and motivation in me to get out of my comfort zone and start cooking a real meal for once. It is time to toss out my Trade Joe’s frozen dinners, my 3 expired boxes of Kraft Mac and Cheese that expired in 2011 (true story I just checked), and apply these necessary skills that can stay with me for a lifetime.

  194. As a graduate student I live on a fairly tight budget. I would use the $250 to soften the blow of a few things I really want to do between now and the end of the year. I would use some of the money to buy my friends a wedding present. The rest I would use on a Thanksgiving feast with my roommates and close friends, and whatever remained after that would be used to go towards my nephews christmas presents (most likely some more legos!).

  195. David E. Weliver says:

    Wow. Thank you everybody for the overwhelming response. Comments are now closed.

    While there are so many deserving answers, we can only pick one, and have decided to focus on creativity. Maria and I have chosen some finalists, but we’ll let you choose the winner. You can vote on our Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/MoneyUnder30 until 9pm EST tonight. Good luck!

Subscribe Now

  • Sign up for our 100% free email course, Money School



    We do not share your email and offer one-click unsubscribe-- always.

    Like Money Under 30 on Facebook