What Can You Do With $1,000?

It used to be that $1,000 was a good amount of money. Then again, it used to be 1980 once too.

Certainly time and inflation have eroded the value of what one grand can buy, but Kiplinger’s says there are still several useful things $1,000 can do. Their list supposedly contains 37 “new” tips on what to do with $1k, but they read like a who’s who of tried-and-true tips: invest it, save in a 529, give to charity, yada, yada, yada. In other words, we started yawning on tip #3.

That said, maybe some of the “best” ways to use $1,000 are the most basic — saving it, investing it, using the money to pay down debt, and so on. If pressed to recommend what someone should do with an extra $1,000, these suggestions would probably be among the first we’d offer up.

But what would you do with $1,000? Anyone for something a bit more exciting or unusual like taking a unique trip, splurging, or starting a pretzel business?

What $1,000 Can Still Do [Kiplinger’s]



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  1. mrafternoon says:

    Smoke it up!

  2. lalaland13 says:

    Give it to the cat, as he/she’s obviously enjoying it greatly.

    OK, getting serious, I’d use it to help get a new car. Or a new used car, rather. Mine is getting up there.

    I could also pay 2.5 months of rent, but I normally don’t have a problem with that anyway.

    • mwshook says:

      @lalaland13: The cat in the picture reminds me of an episode after our latest garage sale.

      We had a large amount of dollar bills laid out in $5 piles as I was counting them. Our cat started scratching at them in a way that meant she was about to pee on the money.

      As I picked up the cat and took her into a different room, my wife said “Mo money, mo problems.”

    • East_Coast_Midwesterner says:


      Ugh…. try 2 weeks of rent.

      I would get it in singles and have a fun night out with the guys. Making in rain Pacman style, yo.

    • junip says:

      @lalaland13: I bought a nice used car for $1000 a couple of years ago, fixed a few parts myself, drove it for a summer, then sold it for $2000. It can be done!

      If I *really* had an extra $1k I didn’t need though? …I can’t fathom that… the city is too expensive. Maybe I’d start a mini-silkscreen studio? Most likely I’d be boring and responsible and just save it.

  3. Murph1908 says:

    Enter in the $1000 WSOP No-Limit holdem event.

    Either that or simply, two chicks at once.

    • The Porkchop Express says:

      @Murph1908: I don’t know about the kind of chicks that would be down for only $1K.

      I would go with gamble/fun it away, unless you mean I earned the money through hard work and dedication. in that case I would be responsible with it.

      • Applekid ┬──┬ ノ( ã‚œ-゜ノ) says:

        @Lo-Pan: “I don’t know about the kind of chicks that would be down for only $1K”

        I do. They’re all over Craigslist. Watch out for law enforcement!

        If I gained a grant illicitly, clearly the only answer is hookers and blow. Thankfully I don’t steal money so that won’t be an issue.

        • moore850 says:

          @Applekid: two $500 “good times” (or one $1000 really good time with two girls) can be had in Vegas with girls that are not disappointing looking in any way!

          P.S. “or so I’ve heard”.

  4. ext212 says:

    Try being creative with the $600 Bush gave you–now that’s a challenge!

  5. jamesdenver says:

    “I Am Rich” 2.0 app. Duh.

  6. stanhubrio says:

    Donate to my favorite non-Republican candidate.

  7. Jonbo298 says:

    Realistically? Just putting it towards the last bits of medical debt I still have.

    If I didn’t have any outstanding debt? Maybe use it for a small vacation. Nothing too crazy (ie: out of the country). But with how things are anymore, spending $1,000 on “fun” things comes back and bites you later.

  8. Anks329 says:

    buy the receiver and a couple of the speakers for home theater system.

  9. Adisharr says:

    Probably pay down a debt – I have a few to choose from ;)

  10. I thought $1000 was still a good amount of money. I’ll be using mine that I get from my grant to help pay for school and to help pay for an cheap economical car. Wise and healthy spending and saving being the key.

  11. blockbustarhymes says:

    fix the sweet dent in my car that a box truck just gave me


    “you mean other than 2 chicks at the same time”

  12. Starfury says:

    I’d use part of it do the 100k mile maintenance on my car and the rest would go into savings.

  13. $1,000 doesn’t cover the drink tab.

  14. 11hawkinst says:

    I’ve always wanted to build my own computer. Especially since computer equipment is so cheap these days, I think $1000 could get some pretty good parts. Pretty geeky, yes, but my current computer is ~7 years old. Yeah, it’s slow.

    Either that or I would take a little mini vacation.

  15. SkokieGuy says:

    Buy Captain Duvel Moneycat approximately 250 bowls of Starbuck Oatmeal. Take pictures, share with others.

  16. dmuth says:

    I’d invest in Euros.

  17. mac-phisto says:

    buy the 5-9 & the 6-8, $100 on the line (back it up with $300), green chip the hard ways all around, $50 on the come & a $25 YOOOO!

    *shake* *shake* *shake*

    let’s do this!

  18. TacoDave says:

    I’d buy groceries for needy-looking strangers at the grocery store.

    That’s my answer in my current mood. Most likely, though, I’d waste it on crap.

  19. dveight says:

    Putting it towards home improvement. I could use a new back deck, or to put in a fence.

  20. toxbrux says:

    Vacation, debt, university tuition fees… I can think of a lot of things to do with $1000 that don’t involve drinking it away.

  21. noi56u says:

    Step 1: Buy 10 barrels of light, sweet crude
    Step 2:
    Step 3: Profit

    • admiral_stabbin says:

      @dinger_82: Great. Now I have to put the $1K in savings to cover the market wackyness that a private citizen buying 10 barrels of light, sweet crude would induce. It’ll go up $3/barrel if an ant farts sideways in the middle east.

      Seriously though…I would save it. Not to cover the cost of gas, but, as has been previously pointed out…you just never know when hookers & blow will be coming to your local craigslist pages… ;-)

  22. trekwars2000 says:

    At Chateau Montelena they have an article on the wall that says the same thing and in the top 10 list a guy recommended buying Montelena Cab futures…

    That is what I would do.

  23. LiC says:

    Debt. But assuming I didn’t have any debt, I’d probably buy some gaming systems (and games) and figure out all those little buttons on the XBox and PS3 controllers.

  24. thatblackgirl says:

    Our only debt is our mortgage and the last six months of a car loan, so I’d give a quarter each to 1) the local food bank and 2) Planned Parenthood. The rest I’d put in our travel account.

  25. TheDude06 says:

    $1000USD? id buy euros :S

  26. MayorBee says:

    Well, I could make a hat, or a brooch, or a pterodactyl!

  27. Keter says:

    $1000 would buy new French doors for my living room to replace the current patio doors that leak air like a sieve, won’t stay on the tracks, and won’t lock. They would pay for themselves in one winter (by cutting a third off my $500 electric bills!)

  28. laserjobs says:

    Hookers, Blow and a bottle of Bacardi. It would be the best 15 min of my life.

  29. howie_in_az says:

    Put my soon-to-be mother-in-law on a plane destined for a country where English is not spoken.

  30. cmdrsass says:

    I’d buy supplies for the local animal shelter. $1000 buys a lot of kitty litter.

  31. humphrmi says:

    I’d put new gutters on my house.

  32. BlondeGrlz says:

    Have my floors refinished. Or buy $1000 worth of heating oil in advance so I don’t freeze to death come December. But right now the floor guy comes in two weeks, so I need to prioritize!

  33. MyPetFly says:

    Da cat’s a playa yo.

  34. stanner says:

    Wait a bit longer on the mortgage downturn, then buy 3 or 4 houses

    – maybe turn a profit a bit later by selling a couple of them to McCain.

  35. Etoiles says:

    In my current situation? Straight to my credit card bill. I managed to rack up more than I would have liked during my year of unemployment (moving, groceries, and an ER trip will do that to you).

    If that were (or when it is — another 18 months!) paid off? I’d probably buy a new work wardrobe. I lost 35 pounds this year and I’m coming to work dressed like a clueless teenager of the baggy-pants era just because really nice office-wear is EXPENSIVE.

  36. SkokieGuy says:

    @MercuryPDX: Outstanding!

    But I’m concerned. Does excessive consumption of Starbucks oatmeal cause FANS?

    [Feline Albino Nipple Syndrom]

  37. HPCommando says:

    Long term food supplies, water treatment and other post-apocalypse/Depression/anarchical environment.
    Lots of bullets.

    If affordable, bury a cargo container somewhere as a quickie “bunker” to ride out the next two years.

    Doesn’t matter which party wins; we’re at the top of the roller coaster with no place to go but down, and down very, *very* fast.

  38. axiomatic says:

    Hookers and blow!

    (for the cat of course….)

  39. senor_tron says:

    beanie babies

  40. akacrash says:

    One Thousand Tacos!!

  41. strathmeyer says:

    High yield mutual fund?

  42. mitchelwb says:

    Buy another pinball machine.

  43. Elijah86 says:

    I would make a web site listing 37 new tips on what to do with $1000 and you don’t have to CLICK 37 FRIGGIN TIMES to see them all.

  44. dohtem says:

    I have always wanted to play the stock market just like Vegas. Just for kicks, I’d take a day off and spend it day trading.

    But more responsibly, I’d try to take another trip overseas.

  45. dohtem says:

    I want to add… Did any of you guys see the season premiere of HBO’s Entourage?

    I want to go on a vacation just like Vinny and Turtle had.


  46. Lucky225 says:

    If you have an extra $1k and can’t think of anything to do with it, create a paypal account and donate it to lucky@luckyinvestigations.com. I’m sure I can find something to do with it, though it may not necessarily be for you =)

  47. ChimpWithACar says:

    Quarter pound of pot?

  48. With some of these answers, you’d think this question was asked on Deadspin or something…

    We rock.

  49. smallestmills says:

    Buy a $1000 car and crash it.

  50. ironchef says:

    Lap Dance. And then put the rest into savings.

  51. balthisar says:

    Buy theconsumerist.com.

  52. Wubbytoes says:

    I could make four car payments or pay off $1000 of my student loans.

  53. AgentTuttle says:

    The smartest thing you could do with it is buy a 1oz shiny solid gold coin. You’ll have enough left over for lunch and it will always be valuable.

  54. meefer says:

    Besides two chicks at the same time?

    Three chicks at the same time?

    Seriously, probably plop it in the house down payment fund and not think about it.

  55. Tzepish says:

    “Take a trip” on $1000? I think that’s pretty much impossible…

  56. Demonbird says:

    Eliminate 2 of my 4 remaining car payments.

  57. Marshfield says:

    Buy lots of groceries at Costco and Fred Meyer. Stock up for two or three months.

  58. Earth2Kim says:

    That’s actually only about $450 that the cat was playing with (from a yard sale, in fact). It went into the bank, then partially to pay bills, pay credit cards, and some into my high interest savings. Which is usually how I divide up my income!

  59. teh says:

    How about putting at least $1000 in a high interest savings account and calling it an emergency fund.

  60. FMulder says:

    saw the blue screen of death, and the black screen of death, and my computer is basically going to die any day now, so that $1,000 would go towards a new computer…oh please Apple, give us a second gen macbook air….

  61. wezelboy says:

    Buy a house in Detroit.

  62. I would pay down whats left of my CC debt… but if I didn’t have debt… I’d invest in gas saving or electric saving improvements to my home or car (depending on what I could afford.)

  63. Take two university courses.

  64. ordendelfai says:

    Spend it any way that will increase your monthly cash flow by reducing expenses. (debt, energy improvements, etc)

  65. Ghede says:

    Half a full-time semester at a community college.

  66. Ixnayer says:

    Support a single mom at a strip club, thats a lot of lap dances.

  67. peepytweep says:

    I would buy a Wii with all the accessories. Mario cart all day!

  68. no.no.notorious says:

    feed my cat porter house steaks for a couple months to get her up to par with that ADORABLE one in the picture :)

    actually, i’m a self proclaimed “spendaphobic.” i’d put it in the bank, or donate it.

  69. arcticJKL says:

    Start a lottery at work for 2000 entrants to try and win $1000. $1 per ticket

  70. Grive says:

    Epic night out.

    For those who are skeptical of the epicness of said night out:

    1.- With a bit of creativity, you can get a lot of insanity for your money.
    2.- Mexico can get cheap if you move around.

  71. pixiegirl1 says:

    I’d get some body work on my car done I’d like the hole in my door fixed before winter comes I don’t wanna go to many winters with that hole in my door before it it causes more damage to my car.

  72. justcatie says:

    since I can have two chicks in the same night for free… I think i would pay off my last semester at community college, take my husband to the nudie bar and watch strippers, and then buy my kids some new shoes.

    anything left would be spent on hookers and blow, of course.

  73. drawingasmile says:

    I would save half into my savings.

    So the question for me would be: what can you do with $500?

    First, I would want to have a massive splurge on good food, for eating is lovely. Of course not all in one day of course, maybe over the course of several weeks.

    Second, I would like to buy that wireless reading device from Amazon, the Kindle. And buy books for it.

    …Though in reality, I would probably save all of it.

  74. bbvk05 says:

    I would buy a 10 Gauge Browning shotgun to go geese and Sandhill Crane hunting this winter.

  75. AlphaUltima says:

    support my rock band addiction.

  76. shoegazer says:

    $1000 would buy me and the wife a very nice meal at Adria’s El Bulli in Spain. We would still have to pay for the flights ourselves…

  77. Wormfather is Wormfather says:

    Is that cat a stripper? Because it looks like someone made it rain on her.

  78. kairi2 says:

    rent to own some 24’s for my escalade.

  79. idx says:

    Buy 40 SIIG water bottles. Or 39 and enough water to fill them up. Drink deeply and stylishly.

  80. handyr says:

    Happy ending!

  81. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    In order of what I’d do first:

    Save towards grad school.
    Save towards getting a car. Needing the bus sucks.
    Get a real mattress/bed. Having a futon sucks.
    Yarn: Opal Sock Yarn [2]
    More Yarn: Some non-wool stuff like corn, bamboo, milk, silk, etc.
    Addi Click Knitting Needles: [www.skacelknitting.com]
    Get a TV where the picture doesn’t randomly cut out.

    Seriously, anyone who thinks a grand isn’t a lot of money can always just give it to me. I know how annoying it is to have that loose change in your pocket.

  82. oyvader says:

    Pay off the remaining $400 of one of my student loans for grad school, spread $300 of the reast between the two other loans, stick $300 into savings.

  83. quickstrike says:

    I bought a runing 1985 Trans Am for $1000 last may

  84. yungjerry703 says:

    buy bulk for the low, whip it and flip it like i worked at ihop.

  85. In fantasyland, I’d buy art supplies. Lots and lots and LOTS of art supplies.

    However, I recently came by an extra $1k (taxes), and I stuck it in the bank to cover the inevitable cost of one of our two clunky old cars biting the dust.

    Fantasyland is sounding better and better…

  86. SonicPhoenix says:

    Assuming that my yearly savings goals had already been met…

    Canon Digital Rebel XSi and a 50mm f/1.4 lens.

    I’ve pretty much pushed my point and shoot to its limits and I’ve been wanting to get an SLR for years.

    Also, my wife and I want to take a trip to Europe before we have kids and having a good camera to document the vacation would be nice.

  87. I’d give it all to Ben Popken and let him invest it for me. Although the more I think about it, his fee would be WAY too high so I would just put it in savings.

  88. sawzy says:

    This article is very relevant to me because I just found out I’m due to receive $1k as part of a car accident settlement.

    Unfortunately there is nothing I want right now and blowing money “just because” it was a surprise isn’t something I can rationalize.

    Anyone who can take a “vacation” on $1k is crazy. $1k wouldn’t even cover the travel expenses…

  89. BytheSea says:

    I’m inheriting $1600 next year, from my grandmom. I didn’t have the heart to tell her it isn’t exactly life changing money, when I can’t afford to move out and I have $35,000 in student loan debt. I don’t know what to do with it, it’s too much to spend on sonething fun and too little to make a difference on anything real.

    • bucketgirl says:

      @BytheSea: $1,600 in a Roth IRA would be some decent money at retirement. Maybe you could just leave it to your own grandchildren. If that doesn’t appeal, I suggest using the money for something you’ve always wanted to do, and will never forget. Flying lessons. A hot air balloon ride. A trip to a different country. Pottery lessons. A custom made suit. Honor your grandmom by making a dream come true or by giving yourself security.

  90. Buy insulation. I just had an energy audit done and less than $1,000 worth of insulation (plus labor) would supposedly pay itself off in one year in my particular case.

  91. bucketgirl says:

    Today, I’m spending $1k booking a vow renewal ceremony/photography on the beach in maui followed by dinner on the beach made by a private chef. I choked on the price but it will be unforgettable. Not to be cliche, but isn’t life for living?

  92. battra92 says:

    Well, $1K won’t go far but I do have an idea for a product I’d someday like to sell.

  93. battra92 says:

    Lots of talk of two chicks at once here by the way.

    Maybe go to charm school to get the charm to get two girls at once (if such a thing exists outside of porn and hookers and tramps)

  94. gliscameria says:

    You could buy a good old japanese motorcycle. $6/month insurance >35mpg. =)

  95. $1000 will pay for almost 3 months of my student loan repayments, or almost 2 months of rent.

    OR, a new laptop since mine has been making unfortunate dying squirrel noises for a month.