What should I with £1,000 that will improve my world?
January 3, 2018 2:41 AM   Subscribe

I've come into some money recently. One of the boardgames I've designed has been published (hooray!). I already have a full time job for normal living costs. So what should I do with this windfall? (more details in explanation)

Hiya all, I make boardgames as a hobby and luck should have that one of them has been picked up to be published which means I've a cheque for £1,000. But I don't know what to do with the money.

I don't really want to put it in the bank - because I feel it deserves something a little bit more awesome than "pay the mortgage", "pay long term debts", and "buy food".

I also feel that £1,000 is a little too much to simply donate it all to charity. Especially in the UK, I feel when you donate to charity, about 80% of it is stripped away from it's true intentions and goes to pay administration salaries and what not.

When I came into money a previous time (wasn't this much however) I bought a fancy A3 printer, to help me print cards and maps to design more games in the future.

So what can I do with £1,000 that will improve my world, or the world in general?
posted by Cogentesque to Work & Money (20 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I say, travel.
posted by warriorqueen at 3:01 AM on January 3, 2018 [12 favorites]

If you own a home and there are any home improvement projects that you’ve been contemplating that would make you happy any time you see the results I’d tackle those. Even if you rent and had something you’ve been meaning to do that would cheer you up any time you see it or use it go for that.
posted by koahiatamadl at 3:18 AM on January 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Is there something you can do or get that is related to your boardgame? For example, if you had designed Ticket to Ride, a piece of railroading memorabilia (maybe an antique from a train) or a trip (by first class train of course) to the National Railway Museum in York.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 3:30 AM on January 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Find a local food bank and ask them what they need, and spend a bunch of money on that stuff to donate to them (actually that link should show you specifically what they do (and don't) need). Set aside some money to bring new donations every month. Ask local homeless charities if they need cold weather clothing/sleeping bags/etc for homeless people, and buy/donate that stuff.
I disagree that every charity uses 80% of donations for admin, but at least with the above suggestion you know you're contributing 100% towards the material goods.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 3:54 AM on January 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

Do you need to set some aside for tax?
posted by biffa at 4:13 AM on January 3, 2018 [13 favorites]

A strategy I've seen before is to nominate x% of it for "fun", with the idea that you shouldn't feel guilty about spending fun money on actual fun.

PS I just wanted to comment that "paying administration salaries and whatnot" is actually often a very good use of money for charities; see e.g. this blog post.
posted by katrielalex at 5:22 AM on January 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

Since you mentioned long-term debts, I honestly think that paying "long-term debts" is a wonderful gift - it frees up your *future* money for better things. Split it between the debts and something local that could help - I don't know the situation well in the UK, but something like a 500-1000USD contribution to a food bank would never go amiss.
posted by annabear at 5:23 AM on January 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

Especially in the UK, I feel when you donate to charity, about 80% of it is stripped away from it's true intentions and goes to pay administration salaries and what not.

At risk of derail - the work that charities do isn't carried out by magical fairies, it has to be carried out by staff, who have to be paid, so spending money on salaries isn't 'stripping it away from its true intentions', it's actually doing the work the charity is set up to do.

That said, if you want something that seems as tangible as possible, food banks local to you, or something along the lines of Kiva loans might give you a sense that you know what your money's doing.

Or split the money according to the 50:30:20 rule - 50% into your bank account to help with everyday expenses, 30% to enjoy the hell out of, 20% into debt repayments etc. Or if you don't want the money to disappear on groceries, divert that 50% into the charitable donation.
posted by penguin pie at 5:54 AM on January 3, 2018 [11 favorites]

I feel when you donate to charity, about 80% of it is stripped away from it's true intentions and goes to pay administration salaries and what not.

Administration, salaries, supplies, postage, fuel for vehicles, all of that overhead -- it's necessary and important. Please don't feel it's "wasted".

Of course there are charities that do a better or worse job. The overhead of figuring out which are more effective would be something you'd have to do, or to find someone who's done it (or pay someone to do it).

However, historically, for example, there's been plenty of food in the world overall; the problem is that it's not right next to the people who really need it. Transporting it, storing it, creating enough bureaucracy to make sure that any needed food isn't just taken by rich people / predators / greedy governments is _all overhead_, and it's important.

However, there are two things you can do to get around this:

1) Find a person locally who needs the money (maybe ask at a church, or just start asking questions and network through people you know), and just give them money. Recently, there have been a number of stories showing that just giving people cash is incredibly helpful.

2) Think about a local problem that you care about and figure out how to hold a contest to address that problem, using a chunk of your money for expenses and a chunk as a prize. It's best if you can partner with an experienced local organization that has some kind of experience in this area, to avoid accidentally focusing on the wrong aspect of the issue and to make sure word about your contest gets out. Yes, in a sense, this would all be funding "overhead", but it's fun and could lead to a good result. If nothing else, you'll learn a bit about local people working on important problems near you.
posted by amtho at 6:00 AM on January 3, 2018 [5 favorites]

Is there a local non-profit community organization that offers after-school and summer programming for kids? Donate some money to them specifically for buying board games or buy some age-appropriate board games and donate them. Also volunteer to teach the kids some board game design workshops.
posted by mareli at 6:19 AM on January 3, 2018 [4 favorites]

Why not donate some to charity so that you can improve someone else's world too?
posted by Hanuman1960 at 6:58 AM on January 3, 2018

That amount could buy you a pretty nice bicycle set-up. :D
posted by jillithd at 6:59 AM on January 3, 2018

Response by poster: Lot's of comments on the anti-admin-costs-for-charities. My apologies - the way I wrote the post was poorly put and that was not my intention.

I meant to say that "spending £1000 on a large national charity like Oxfam doesn't have the same appeal to me as helping much closer to home where you can have a visible affect" i.e. spending the money on a very local charity or as some of the answers here suggest: spending that money directly on people or food banks.
posted by Cogentesque at 7:18 AM on January 3, 2018

You could purchase and donate the heavy hitters that homeless shelters need - socks, hats, gloves, sanitary supplies for women, and I think the food bank idea is great. You could also donate to a soup kitchen that feeds those in need very directly, like supply them with coffee for a month. Another thing is school supplies for children.
posted by lafemma at 7:41 AM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

Get some t shirts made with graphics from your game, both for promotional reasons and because hey, you made this, how cool!
posted by MexicanYenta at 8:21 AM on January 3, 2018 [3 favorites]

I've been pretty lucky in the past two years or so with my side hustle. Who knew there was a market for medieval woodcut style blockprints of UFO abductions? I'm not swimming in cash that I can quit my job, but after taking care of taxes and materials, I was able to pay off the tail end of a few student loans which felt pretty good.

For a lot of my earnings, I reinvest. I have three different T-shirt designs based on my work that have had varying levels of success. I've made pins and am considering patches if I can get my design picking mojo back. This might not be for you, though, as it does mean I have a corner full of boxes of t-shirts. At the very least, consider some business cards for yourself in your boardgame designer mode.

One of the best things that I did with my money this year that I'm really happy I did was use it to visit conventions that pertain to my art. At NecronomiCon (a Lovecraft convention), I was able to make new connections with other artists and publishers that may help me in the future. I'm sure there are boardgame conventions out there - maybe take yourself to one of them? I also used some money to take various side trips on a recent vacation to England for research purposes. And those side trips don't have to be all research based - I also blew a chunk on watching Liverpool crush Arsenal at home, which was totally worth it.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:55 AM on January 3, 2018 [6 favorites]

I got a small amount of money when a beloved aunt died, and I used it to buy myself a nice camera and teach myself photography - that turned into a fantastic hobby that I still love. If I had a similar amount now, I’d use part of it to buy a nice wetsuit and dive into (heh) open-water swimming, a hobby I’ve recently taken an interest in. So basically, is there anything that has a reasonably high barrier to entry that you’d like to spend more time doing?
posted by ukdanae at 9:25 AM on January 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

If I had $1000+ to waste but to improve my life, I'd get a much nicer cell phone -- I use my cell constantly and being able to do more with it is worth it. Similarly, a new laptop could be a good purchase if you need one or have use for one. Thinking smaller, a tablet or e-reader could be useful if you want to start reading more, for instance. Heck, you could even buy a nice reading chair -- I bought a new chair recently and I love sitting in it and reading. I didn't have a really great place to sit and read, so I'm glad I got it. Or, I'd take a trip somewhere. Once, on a whim, I took a trip by myself to visit a new city and see a soccer game there. It was very fun and I was glad I treated myself to it.
posted by AppleTurnover at 2:55 PM on January 3, 2018 [2 favorites]

Do something that would otherwise be "out of character" for you - see a show that you normally wouldn't see, or take a class in something you didn't think you'd do, or go to some event for something you know nothing about. It'd be a one-time fun thing so if the thing didn't work out, hey at least you're not terribly out of pocket. Or you might find that you actually really enjoy the thing and want to keep participating! (This is how I got into the burlesque and games rabbit holes.)
posted by divabat at 6:27 PM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

If you get a percentage of sales of your game perhaps buy a bunch of your games at cost (if you can) and send them to appropriate youtube reviewers? (perhaps in coordination with your publisher).

Do you plan on publishing more games in the future? Perhaps stock up on some good books to continue your understanding of your (side) craft?

In general, I'd say spend half the money on furthering your game-creating hobby/side career, and the other half on a great weekend somewhere.

If you have a spouse/significant other perhaps you could spend the other half on a meaningful present that shows thanks for them supporting you in this endeavor (or if there are other folks that have supported you in this endeavor - play testers, etc, some gift to them might be awesome).
posted by el io at 10:56 PM on January 3, 2018 [1 favorite]

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