Would $10,000 Change Your Life?

February 13, 2012 at 9:50 AM 14 comments

I am a huge fan of the cooking show Chopped. I don’t watch much TV these days, (I’d rather spend the time with my son), but Chopped is one show I make an effort to watch each week. I’m truly amazed at the meals the chefs prepare from a bunch of random ingredients. I dream of being able to make 5 star meals from the leftover ingredients in my pantry and I often use the search capabilities of all sorts of websites just to help me make common, edible meals

One of my favorite aspects of the show is listening to the chefs describe how they will spend the $10,000 prize. Their desires run the gamut from opening restaurants to buying engagement rings, paying for weddings and extinguishing debts. Some of them plan to use the money to move to new locations while others hope to take their families on luxurious vacations.

What surprises me most though is how many chefs say that $10,000 will change their lives. I don’t know anyone in the food industry so I looked around the Internet and found that salaries range from the low $20,000s for assistant chefs to $90,000 and upwards for executive chefs. Though the average appears to range from $40,000 to $60,000. (If any of my readers have a better idea of salary ranges feel free to leave a comment.) Clearly the less you make the more $10,000 feels like a major windfall, so this may be a large reason for this repeating sentiment.

I am in a phase of my life where $10,000 would be very nice to have, but I wouldn’t consider it life changing. I have no debt other than my mortgages and $10,000 would barely make a dent in those. I already own a car and could get to and from work if I decided to get a job rather than staying home with my son. While it would be nice to buy a larger vehicle to get my son in and out of that certainly wouldn’t be life changing and $10,000 would only partially pay for that.

I’m sure I feel this way in part because I previously earned a six figure salary. If you make a six figure salary $10,000 might be a month or two worth of earnings. If you make only $20,000 a year $10,000 is the equivalent of half a year’s worth of pay!

Don’t get me wrong I think that $10,000 is a lot of money and I clip coupons, search for sales and live frugally to save dollars and cents every day!

I recognize that $10,000 would certainly help pay for a car that could get you to and from work. It would help fund all sorts of training and education programs if you need specific skills to acquire a higher paying job. Depending on where you live it might even help fund a significant portion of a down payment for your home. But in my case I already own a car and a home and completed an undergraduate and graduate degree. In fact, at this point in my life I feel incredibly blessed and fortunate to recognize that $10,000 would not be life changing for me.

So what do you think? Would $10,000 change your life?

Entry filed under: food, thoughts. Tags: .

We Didn’t Save Any Money After All I Won! I Won!

14 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Becky  |  February 13, 2012 at 10:14 AM

    Wow – I hope your post doesn’t come off to other people as pretentious. Being where you are financially at your age is wonderful. We are currently in our mid-late 20s and on schedule to be debt free (student loans, car payment) by June 2012. By the time we are your age, we plan to build and pay cash for our forever home. This will put us at completely debt free. Right now, $10k would help us achieve these goals even faster. My husband begins working with a new company on Thursday, and with that came a $15k/year raise. This is HUGE for us right now.

    To answer your question, yes, $10k for us at this stage of life would be life changing. In 10 years, when we are in our mid-30s, I doubt it would be hugely significant.

    You should be proud that $10k seems like pocket change. You have worked hard to get where you are, and I admire you for that. We are on this same track, and it’s good to know that our goals are achievable.

    • 2. One Frugal Girl  |  February 15, 2012 at 5:43 PM

      I certainly didn’t mean it to sound pretentious. I feel very lucky and blessed to have worked in a high paying field for the last 10+ years. I wish you the best of luck!

  • 3. Michelle  |  February 13, 2012 at 10:31 AM

    $10,000 would be nice to have. I’m not sure if it would change my life, but I could pay off a substantial part of my student loans with it.

  • 4. Newlyweds on a Budget  |  February 13, 2012 at 11:20 AM

    Yeah $10,000 would be nice to have but it’s definitely not a life changer.

  • 5. Money Infant  |  February 14, 2012 at 5:10 AM

    $10,000 isn’t even close to a life changing amount of money. Add 2 zeros and then we’ll be talking. Oh and I loved Chopped when we were living in the States, I miss it ;(

  • 6. Jen  |  February 14, 2012 at 9:09 AM

    I tend to agree here – and I’ve never made even close to six figures! The husband, a fellow software developer, would be close in a year where he got a full bonus (not happening this year, probably will be none at all). My yearly part time accounting income is about at that 10k amount, after staying home w/ kids for a few yrs. That $ allowed us to upgrade an older vehicle and double our kids college fund contribs. If I got an unexpected 10k it would be nice of course, but all it would mean is my vehicle upgrade would come in a year rather than 2-3 – and if I thought that going from an 8 yr old Malibu to a 2 yr old Honda Crosstour was life-changing then I would consider myself a really shallow person! Likewise mortgage is only debt, and 10k would barely touch what we owe – don’t think it wouldn’t even bring us “above water” (we purchased in Michigan in 2003 and have lost about half of our purchase value). So yeah, wouldn’t turn it down, but life-changing, not so much!

    • 7. One Frugal Girl  |  February 15, 2012 at 5:50 PM

      Glad to hear your mortgage is your only debt, but I’m sorry the market in Michigan has been so crappy.

  • 8. Ruby Leigh  |  February 14, 2012 at 10:34 PM

    I really like the Chopped show too. Truly amazing what they can do.

    $10000 would be a really big deal to me. It would bring me very close to debt free and free up a lot of my cash flow. It would “change my life” in a few senses for sure. However, I agree that “Life Changer” does feel like an overstatement – but I guess that’s what entertainment is for.

    • 9. One Frugal Girl  |  February 15, 2012 at 5:51 PM

      Good point! There is a lot of drama in saying the money would be a ‘life changer.’

  • 10. Weekly Tweet Roundup #1 | Money Infant  |  February 18, 2012 at 6:36 AM

    […] Would $10,000 Change Your Life? via @OneFrugalGirl […]

  • 11. JoeTaxpayer  |  February 18, 2012 at 7:53 AM

    GlobalRichList offers a site to see where you stand in the world based on income.

    Half the world lives on $850/year.

    Median US income is $50K give or take. I agree with you, $10,000 is now less for me than the daily up and down to my savings from market fluctuations. I’m older, though, and can remember when $10K actually did change my life a bit.
    It was a settlement for a car accident, so no tax due. I used the $10K to pay down a mortgage a bit, to get to 80% LTV, and get a lower rate. The $10K turned into a $400/mo savings to me, and during a time when cash was very tight, this really helped a lot.

  • 12. Beth M  |  February 23, 2012 at 3:47 PM

    It would change your life… you’d have $10,000 that you didn’t have before! How much of an AFFECT that change has on your life, well that’s another story, but regardless it does change your life.

    • 13. One Frugal Girl  |  February 23, 2012 at 9:28 PM


  • 14. A Post President’s Day Roundup » JoeTaxpayer  |  February 26, 2012 at 7:01 AM

    […] Frugal Girl asked Would $10,000 Change Your Life? I agree with her, that it would be nice to have an extra $10K, but it wouldn’t be life […]


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