If I had a million dollars: a list

I’m a list person, always have been, probably always will be. I make lists for everything you can imagine (and probably a few things you can’t imagine) and consider list-making a completely legitimate past-time. One of my very favorite day dreams is coming up with a list of what I would do or buy with the following sums of money: $100, $1,000, $10,000, $100,000, and $1,000,000.

Now, one of the rules of this day dream is that one cannot put these monies towards something boring and sensible like “my IRA” or “my future child’s future college tuition.” I realize that may be super exciting for some people, but it makes this game an exercise in Who Can Act Like The More Responsible Adult, and that’s just no fun whatsoever. My day dream, my rules.


Splurge on all new underwear – new undies is one of life’s greatest pleasures, I think, and I do not treat myself nearly often enough.


I am dreaming about a new mattress, I don’t even know if you can buy a really great one for $1,000, but I hope so. I want one that basically feels like you are sleeping on a cloud, or on a pile of feathers from angel’s wings. My back is about 30 years more decrepit than the rest of my body (thank you, car accident), and a mattress to counteract these pains on a nightly basis would be freaking amazing. Blue Eyes demanded new, high threat-count sheets a few weeks ago, and they have been totally dreamy. Adding a new mattress to that? I’m counting sheep already!


Wouldn’t it be lovely to take this kind of money and go on some kind of extended around-the-world trip? I mean, you could also blow it in a week in New York or London if you stayed in fancy hotels and ate at all the amazing restaurants and went to shows and such. But I’m thinking of something a lot more low key with the large expenses being airplane tickets and living on a minimal amount per day. Of course, I’d probably need about 3 months of leave from my job, but that obstacle is not the point of this day dream. I’d start in China and move through Nepal, India, Southeast Asia, Australia, and New Zealand. If there was still money I’d head to Patagonia and work my way up South America with stops in Peru and an extended wander around the Caribbean. (Alternately, this would be just as amazing wandering around Europe, North Africa and the Middle East for 3 months, but that isn’t my first pick.)


This number breaks down into a couple of line items:

  • I would use this as tuition money for a Master’s degree. Lately I am leaning towards an advanced degree in Project Management because I feel it is marketable in a wide range of disciplines, yet also completely applicable to where I am right now. Now, to find the actual program.
  • I would buy Blue Eyes a Harley Davidson, and buy myself a fantastic set of leathers to ride with him (who knows, maybe I’d also go for my own motorcycle?).
  • New bedroom furniture; what we have is a mishmash of items that are either thrifted, handed down, or 15-year old IKEA-quality furniture. It’s time. (Yes, this could have been included in the $1,000 or $10,000 category, but, ultimately, I’d rather have a mattress and 3 months wandering the world instead of a new dresser, so that’s why it’s listed here.)
  • Probably also a fantastic international trip to somewhere amazing, with a few luxury things thrown in. I’m thinking Paris or Rome or Spain or something where living is kind of expensive and good living is even more. Sign me up!


A house. Absolutely, and with no question, a house. (Technically I could put a hefty down payment on a house with the $100,000 sum, but it’s my list and I’ll organize it as I want to.) I love where we live right now, I’ve been in this apartment for 7.5 years and in the same neighborhood for another 5. But I am ready for a garage, for a garden, my own washer and dryer, and walls that I can paint. I would LOVE to be rid of my yellow tile + minty aqua tub combination; I fantasize about white subway tile and in more than one tiny bathroom. Houses in my neighborhood are crazy-expensive, even for the lackluster fixer uppers and the ones that are nearly condemned. There are a few other neighborhoods in my current city that I would consider living, but the real estate there is nearly as expensive. I mean, Blue Eyes and I could easily find something we loved for considerably less than a million dollars, but the inevitable renovation and furnishings (see: 15-year old IKEA-quality furniture, above), and that sum suddenly seems much, much smaller. Components of a dream house for me would be a dedicated library room, and a living room large enough for a grand piano. And then also, a grand piano. (See how that $1,000,000 shrinks when you add a Steinway into the mix?)

With the leftovers, I’d like to buy some land in Montana, somewhere in the mountains. Maybe near Bozeman? Or perhaps the Bitterroot Valley? I’ve only been there once, but it is one of the most gorgeous places I’ve ever seen. Those soaring snow-capped rocky mountains always will feel like home, even if they aren’t the mountains that guarded my own childhood (which, for the record, also feel like home, but a good-sized plot of land (i.e. more than an acre) at their base is not in the $1,000,000 budget. Seriously. It’s insane.)

So, how about you? How would you spend such sums? And please, even if you would probably sock it away in a retirement account, or pay down your mortgage….give me something FUN to chew on, mmmkay?

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0 thoughts on “If I had a million dollars: a list

  1. melthoughts

    Ooo this is fun! My list looks similar to yours.

    $100: A new dress, pair of shoes, and the expensive OPI nailpolish I never let myself buy.

    $1,000: A DSLR camera

    $10,000: Travel money. I’m normally a budget traveler but I’d really love to do a luxury Safari and then stay in some kind of awesome design boutique hotel in Cape Town.

    $100,000: Money set aside for a new car (this is the practical item); take my entire family on a trip (probably a cruise, since I don’t think their travel styles would mesh with my normal way of traveling, or, I’d take them each individually on their dream trip but I would also get to come along!)

    $1,000,000: A house. I’m not sure where, but it would be a cute cottage with a spare room and space for a garden.

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      I love your list!! I seriously considered camera equipment, it’s always been on my list before, but my Dad and Blue Eyes totally spoiled me for Christmas and my birthday this year, and I’ve got some work to do to learn how to use all the things I’ve got right now. Which, you know, is totally a first world, extra-privileged problem, but whatever.


  2. Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks

    Ha, what a fun post. My husband has had back issues over the years. We splurged for a eco-friendly, good for the body and the earth, mattress a few years ago. It was more than $1K, but we had some negotiating room when paying with cash (fyi). Here’s how I’d spend the money:

    $100: Buy running clothes, I need ’em
    $1,000: Plan a domestic vacation getaway for my family
    $100,000: Pay off debts, buy a new car (our 17-year old truck is hanging in there, but wishes to retire soon), plan an international vacation for my family
    $1,000,000: Buy a home; buy an RV; take a few months off from work (my husband, too) to go on an international excursion

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      I also dream of a quick domestic getaway, like Austin or Santa Fe or San Francisco, or something. Maybe a farther-distance national park?

      I also love that so many of my friends list travel a as a priority, those are my kind of people. 🙂


  3. Nic

    I don’t think I’ve owned $100 worth of underwear throughout the entire course of my life.

    I’m one of those people who’s first thought is to pad my IRA or invest, or barring that, just dump it into a savings account. However, your rules stipulate imagining fun times of fun, so I’ll indulge my fantasy a little bit.

    If I had $100, I would buy a Fitbit. I have wanted one since forever, but I can’t afford to buy one at present. I think it would be beneficial to track my fitness levels and especially my sleeping patterns. Indeed I surely want one.

    If I had $1000 dollars, I would upgrade my computer equipment. For a grand, I think I could build a pretty good PC with a decent amount of power. I would use it for my Photoshoppage and CG work and other high-end applications, and save my laptop for Internetting and the like.

    If I had $10,000, I would upgrade my camera equipment. The cameras I want are in the three-to-five thousand dollar range, and when you add in a couple of lenses, some memory cards, and maybe a good tripod, you’ve easily hit ten grand. Yes. I can visualize it now!

    If I had $100,000, I would buy a new car (for starters.) There’s nothing wrong with the car I have now, other than the fact that it’s getting on in years, but I want an SUV for some stylish hauling space, and to get about on those snowy Denver roads in winter. With a hundred grand, I could take fifty of that and trick out the best reasonably-priced SUV I could find, and be extremely happy. With the remaining fifty, I would rent and RV and travel the national parks with my new photography equipment, and just go until the money ran out.

    For a million bucks, I would start by buying a condo. Then I would remodel it to suit my personal tastes, including a kick-ass home theater and some cool technologicalthingamabobs everywhere. (Think Iron Man’s basement.) If there’s any cash left over, I would BUY an RV, some super kick-ass camera equipment, and travel all over the place taking pictures. Yes, I think a million bucks would do nicely. 😀

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Oooh, lots of techy things for you! Funsies!!

      I really wish I had a million dollars…or, maybe, $1,111,100.00. Then I can get my whole list! Ha!


  4. Cygnus2024

    Oooh, I like this a lot. Enough that I’m gonna blatantly steal the premise and flesh out the answers on my (poor, neglected) blog. In short, though…

    $100: A few video games that I’ve been drooling over. I know, shocking.

    $1,000: I hate to be unoriginal, but I’m ALSO thinking a new mattress. The one that we’re using is old, lumpy, and (on my side) tilts directly to the floor. Seriously, I fall asleep with my hand clinched to the headboard to steady myself.

    $10,000: A motorcycle. I’ve tasted blood, and I want more.

    $100,000: Quit work for a year or two and go to school full-time, get that elusive degree. Pay for my wife’s school, too.

    $1,000,000: The vacation to end all vacations. Get an RV. Do every possible tourist-trappy thing that I’ve always wanted to do around the US. See the national parks… all of ’em. Go geocaching in ever state. Then take the show overseas. Visit where my wife lived in the early 90s in Germany. Then spread out to the rest of Europe. Take a bajillion photos. Have stories for the rest of my life.

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Dude, you NEED a new mattress, like, stat. Sheesh!

      I am surprised and delighted at all the “buy RV, travel for months!” responses! Yay for like-minded friends!


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  6. Audrey

    This is so much fun! Here’s my list:
    $100: I’d have a professional spend a day cleaning my house, specifically all the things I’m too lazy to do myself: clean the baseboards, top of the fridge, under the couches, etc.
    $1,000: Nice, matching nightstands for our bedroom. We have a beautiful dresser, and Tim custom-made our headboard, so now all that’s left to complete our bedroom furniture is some coordinating nightstands.
    $10,000: New counter tops, a fabulous vacation, and maybe something fun for the kids like a play house in the backyard. Yes.
    $100,000: I’d hire contractors to come finish our basement, including sorting through/organizing all the crap we have stored down there at the moment. And I’d have people come finish all the home improvement projects that have been sitting at 95% complete for years. I’d also hire regular house cleaners and lawn maintenance people. And I’d buy a hot tub.
    $1,000,000: So many possibilities! New cars for both of us! Pay off the house! Take an extended vacation around the world! Oh, and we’d definitely buy some forested acreage and build a cabin/vacation home within a couple of hours of here so we could easily retreat there a few weeks/weekends per year.

    1. Feisty Harriet Post author

      Ooooh yes, professional cleaning. Man, wouldn’t that be divine? And I love your $100k list! Finished basement! Professional organizer! HOT TUB!! Swoon.

      Clearly, we *all* need a million dollars. (But would settle for an extra hundred, just for funsies).


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