Unexpected Money

Ever notice that when you start making better choices, fortune seems to smile on you? While everything in my life definitely hasn’t been roses lately, now that I’m paying more attention to my finances, and following a financial plan, unexpected things keep happening in my favor. Last night was just one of those times; I came into $1,000 somewhat unexpectedly.

I say “somewhat unexpectedly” because I knew there was a chance I would be getting the money, although it wasn’t certain, and I wasn’t sure when I would know. It’s all tied in to the story of my younger sister and mom, a co-signed student loan, a bankruptcy, and a life insurance policy. You can read more about it here, and here, and here.

I pay $15 per month for a $100,000 life insurance policy on my younger sister. I own the policy, but my mom is the beneficiary. The original idea was that, heaven forbid something happen to my sister, the policy would cover her final expenses, and pay off any amount remaining on the student loan. Since the loan was paid off earlier this year, my mom and I revisited the issue of life insurance, and whether or not we should keep the policy. In all honesty, my sister is in a worse position now than she was 10 years ago when all of this started, and she isn’t making any efforts to improve her situation. We decided that keeping the policy was in everyone’s best interests.

To me, $15 per month is a small price to pay for my past mistakes. After all, this whole fiasco ended up costing my mom tens of thousands of dollars. But, my mom insists that her cost is part of being a parent, and the whole loan was her idea to begin with. Plus she points out that I already took a big hit with my credit and bankruptcy. So, my mom decided to pay me back for the cost of the insurance policy up to this point. Since we’re keeping the policy, I’m going to continue making the monthly payments, and she’ll reimburse me in lump sums.

I have mixed feelings about the whole situation. Having an extra $1,000 is great. But then, I feel bad about taking the money from my mom. But then, I also feel that she has a point: I shouldn’t have been mixed up in the whole loan thing to begin with. I’d already paid for my own schooling, so it sucks that my sister’s education ended up costing me as well. I don’t blame my mom for that; We were both incredibly naive about the situation.

So, I now have a $1,000 “windfall” to decide what to do with. I’ve already decided that, to start, $500 is going into the bank for the Holidays. That completes my Holiday Savings (I’ve already saved $200, plus have over $100 in “slush money” to make the $800 I was aiming for), so I can go back to directing my $100 per week “surplus” into savings. I’m waffling a bit on the other $500. As I mentioned last week, I think there are a few projects around the house that are a priority now that I’m spending more time there. I hope to write more about my plan this week, once I have more time to do some research and possibly take some pictures.

It’s definitely slow going, but I feel like things are really starting to go in a positive direction for me. Well, at least financially. Everyone may not agree with my choices, but I think they’re the best for me at this point in my life.

Have you ever gotten an unexpected windfall? What did you do with the money?

– Cindy W.


  1. I love found money! I usually just put it in savings or use it to buy something I’ve been putting off!

    1. It is super exciting to have extra money to do something with. Of course, I always end up getting so overwhelmed trying to make the best decision about what to do with the money that I don’t end up enjoying it as much as I should.

  2. It’s super tough but I try to treat unexpected money the same way I would any other paycheck. I divide it up into my budget categories and if that new contribution is enough puts enough money in that category, THEN I’ll buy what I want- the new house project, holiday gifts, etc.

    1. That makes sense. I guess in a way, that’s kind of what I’m doing. My budget is in broader categories; Expenses, spending, savings/debt pay-off. There’s no need to add money towards my regular expenses or regular spending money. Right now for the short term, my “savings/debt pay-off” amount of each paycheck is being redirected towards Holiday spending, and then from there, for a few projects around the house that need done. So, by putting this money towards those things, that will bump up getting me back on track with debt pay-off.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *