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?