The Ultimate Guide To Spending A Windfall

For some people, good fortune just seems to fall in their laps. If you are one of these lucky folk, you may have had a windfall recently. Winning the lottery, discovering some long lost inheritance, or finding out that you have a right to compensation from the bank, can be liberating. All of a sudden you have a very healthy bank balance and you are free to embark on some of your dreams. There is always the temptation to blow the lot on frivolous activities or to save the lot for a rainy day. You need to strike a balance between being way too frugal and just frittering it away.

You cannot simply sit on your winnings. What is the point in that? After all, like the old edict says, you cannot take it with you. Instead, you need to formulate a plan. Firstly, draw up a list of all of the things that you want to do with your years on this planet. Don’t worry about the money you have just yet, and simply list your dreams. Perhaps you want to trek the Inca Trail in Peru, or you want to experience some gastronomic fayre at a Michelin starred restaurant, or maybe you want to buy yourself one of the most limited edition Jaguar sports cars. Whatever it is, write it down. Then, you need to begin prioritizing your passions, and factoring in the money that you have in your account. Yes, you might fancy taking your entire family on a cruise, but will your windfall cover it?

And, don’t forget to save a proportion of your cash for a rainy day. You can either choose to save a generic percentage of your cash, or you can decide to save a set amount. Stick to your plans and siphon off the money so you cannot have access to it. Doing this means that you won’t be tempted to dip into your nest egg. Take a look at these ideas that can inspire your plans for your windfall.

Home Renovations

It doesn’t matter whether you live in a two bed apartment or a five bedroom Victorian villa, the chances are that there will be some home improvements that you would like to make. You may want to build an extension, landscape the garden or install a new kitchen. Whatever it is that you want to do around your humble abode, you need to budget effectively and not see your scheme of works turn into a money pit.

If you are looking at creating a new hub of the home, your kitchen needs to become more open plan to make it fit for twenty first century living. You need to take a look at the sorts of kitchen styles that are present in showrooms at the moment. Those trends that are very en vogue at the moment include the high end gray gloss cabinetry, the shaker style cream country kitchens, and the sterile and clinical white finish. High quality granite quartz is still on trend as are stainless steel splashbacks, integrated appliances and wine coolers.

When making a room more open plan, consider how you want to use it so that it doesn’t become dead space. What about a games room, a cinema space or a more formal dining area? Ensure that you plan for the space that you are creating and ensure that you utilize it effectively.

When looking outdoors, consider how best to use your rear garden. A smart patch of lawn and some border plants won’t suffice. Make it possible to utilize your garden all year round by instructing patio builders to install a roof for your al fresco dining space. This way you can whip out your fire pit and still enjoy having friends and family over on a chillier autumnal evening for a roast dinner under the stars. Using your garden for more than just the summer months is great as it means you have an external living area, effectively increasing the square footage of your usable space.

If you are keen to extend your pad, you can go down if you have a basement, up if you have attic space, or out if you have a large enough external footprint. If you’re keen for more bedrooms, going up would be the logical extension option, in the same way that going out would be perfect for the added reception room. Budget effectively and source a company that has excellent local reviews and a solid reputation for high quality finishing. This will make or break the success of any major renovation.


If you are keen for a more experiential way of spending your money rather than going down a materialistic route, you might be keen to travel. Traveling overseas to immerse yourself in new cultures, try different cuisine and see more vistas of the world is life affirming. Having the money to hot foot it across the globe is a real luxury and a very fortunate position to be in.

Consider where in the world you would like to go and start planning. Just because you have the money in the bank doesn’t mean you should book business class flights or stay in the swankiest suites of five star hotels. You need to ensure that you craft an authentic travel experience. If you’re heading to the Land of the Rising Sun, look into taking a tour to Shirakawago, an old and authentic village in the Japanese mountains full of gassho houses with residents selling street food and their wares. Stay in a ryokan and experience dressing up in Japanese robes and having authentic home cooked Japanese food served to you. A five star hotel is great to afford you a bit of luxury but don’t allow your entire trip to be dominated by this.

You might fancy taking an extended sabbatical from your job. This might have to be unpaid, but if you’ve worked in a role for a while and not taken holiday and you are an asset to a company, the chances are that your boss will grant you the time off. Use this as an opportunity to see the world. Head to Iceland to do a spot of whale watching and go Northern Lights hunting if you’re a big fan of nature and the outdoors. If you love heading out onto the open seas, take a cruise and enjoy island hopping in the Mediterranean. If you prefer the idea of going all out authentic, why not backpack across Thailand, stay with a few local families and go where the locals go. Follow the crowds and eat where the locals eat. Then, you will be sure of an authentic travel experience.

Career Switch

If you have more money in the bank, this can give you the financial cushion to follow a professional dream. Perhaps you fancy quitting your job and going back to university. If you want to learn and embark on some postgraduate qualifications, go for it. The world of academia welcomes new scholars hungry for knowledge eager to see their research make a difference.

Perhaps you want to work for yourself and start your own business. This could be in the field that you are currently working in, or you could go for something totally new to follow a passion. Just because you are more used to helping small IT firms with their audits, doesn’t mean that you can’t follow your passion for upcycling furniture, creating bespoke jewelry or becoming a food photographer. Ensure that you have enough money in the bank to support yourself while you make the switch and you may find your work life balance improving no end.

Big Ticket Items

Perhaps you have always fancied owning a particular big ticket item since you were young. Old, classic cars are becoming more sought after as people are beginning to shun the modern vehicles in favor of an old MG, a classic mini or a 1980s red Ferrari. Maybe you have always wanted a 1960s VW campervan or you yearn for a classic Honda Goldwing motorbike. Whatever it is that you fancy, treat yourself if you have the cash.

Having the money sitting in your account means that you aren’t enjoying it like you should be. Budget well and take a friend with you to a private seller, especially if you aren’t sure what you are looking for. Ask the right questions, go for a test drive or ride and enquire about any potential warranty. The chances are that having a car or van or motorbike that you have always had a hankering for on your driveway will make you very happy.

Being the recipient of a windfall, whether it is based on skill, hard work or sheer luck, is a very fortunate position to be in. If you suddenly find yourself with an obscene amount of cash burning a hole in your pocket, don’t rush into any purchases. Take a look at this guide, assess, reflect and make prudent financial decisions with your new found wealth.

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Disclosure: This article is a partnered post.

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