On winning cash

Will a cash prize make one happy?

Many think it will. I too did, but I have now switched sides.

Wealth is not his that has it, but his that enjoys it.
Benjamin Franklin

The philosophy that wealth does not necessarily mean or bring in happiness seemed inane, until this simple incident took place quite recently in our life.

We won a cash prize in a contest – though not a jackpot, an amount more than my monthly salary. It was surprise money that came along as a blessing during the back-to-school season, a time when our pockets are almost reduced to sieves. I was supposed to be happy. Instead, after the initial spark of excitement, it made me unsettled.

It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.
George Lorimer

I am not at all greedy. For me there is nothing more detestable than owing money to someone, and never have I tried to amass money compromising on my valuable time and health, in spite of the myriad opportunities.

But this took us unawares. After we were informally informed about the contest results, we had to wait for about a month to finally receive the cheque. All the time I constantly suspected it to be a prank, because I had never believed in cash prizes! No wonder I never participated in the contests too. Here, the initiative was taken by my daughter who, unlike me, is optimistic and has faith. Let her never lose that trait!

Meanwhile, we couldn’t resist counting the chickens. It was vacation time and we did a bit of shopping – only some necessary and affordable household items. (I have made up my mind  to keep mum on the disputes that cropped up on what to buy.) However, to be frank, they were not our priorities and we would have got by without them for another few months, had it not been for this anticipated amount.

Instead of delighting me, the sight of the newly purchased items ruffled me!

I tried to soothe myself thinking: Why are you so tensed about the money? You were not expecting this amount. It is not the money you have lent someone. You can survive even without this. So take it when or if it comes. Or better forget all about it.

At last the dream materialised. I tried to decipher my feelings when I got hold of the cheque – utter indifference! The unpleasant scenes we have been through had put out all the fizz.

I could feel my thoughts undergoing yet another distasteful transformation: After all it is just a month’s salary. It may help us cover up the deficits in the family budget this month – just this month. There are no more contests coming up next month. Even if there is one, chances will be pretty slim.

Had the prize sown seeds of avarice in me? I should never let that happen.

Another worry:  The victory was a fluke, not the fruit of our toil. Is this a bad omen to some imminent crisis in our life?

The nice part about being a pessimist is that you are constantly being either proven right or pleasantly surprised.
George Will

I don’t mind getting an incentive bonus or a better placement. Just let me regularly get what I am normally entitled to. That’s my prayer.

The cheque is still lying there in the drawer. No one really seems to be eager to encash it. Well, we shall wait for another week. Anyway it is now all ours. As if it had been ours all the time.


Have you ever won a cash prize? If yes, do share with me how you felt.

20 responses to “On winning cash

  1. Money will bring happiness only if you are satisfied with what you have. There is nothing wrong in getting a prize money even though it is not earned. May be it is a token of appreciation to you who enjoys life as it comes!

    • True! Token of appreciation? Well, let it be so. However it did not make me happy – not because of greed, it unexpectedly created some ripples in the still waters of my life. Now life is back to normal.:)

  2. Well let me win a lottery only then I will reply to the article .. I have seen the other side where one does not have money ..
    money is very important .. people say lot of things but truth is without money no one wants to know you 🙂

    • Yes, money is inevitable and very, very important. Others may accept us for the wealth we possess but strangely the happiness it brings is transient. We will soon start yearning for more or something else.

  3. I really admire your spirit! And the sensible balanced person you are! And the quotes!
    I’ve never won a prize, any prize, cash or otherwise, from any of those contests 😀 Dont take part in many so I cant complain! And I have this fatalistic view that I will NEVER win anything. So it’s cool . Like that beautiful quote on the pessimist, you have.
    Loved all the quotes too.
    Happy spending.:)

    • Children, unlike grownups, have faith – she had no doubt about winning. And I think some unseen power worked to keep her faith in tact. 🙂 Now I realize pessimism takes away too many chances from me. That quote about pessimists really expressed my attitude :D. Thank you, Usha, for being so sweet to me 🙂

  4. What a thoughtful, and thought-provoking post! Enjoyed reading this.

    I think money is important, but only upto a certain point. When the necessities of life have been obtained, after that, perhaps other things/ values become, or should become more important.

  5. Oh, I would love to win a prize – cash or kind 🙂

  6. I haven’t won any cash money – so have no idea what it would feel like.
    But yes, I got a large sum of money some years back. It was a backpay for 2 years worth of allowance that was held from me … for whatever reasons (a long story 🙂
    Anyways, when I got this huge sum – I was unruffled. I mean I managed to get by even without that money for those 2 years … and it felt as if I got something that I have not earned … it was strange – but that’s how I felt.
    I ended up giving a large portion of the money to my mom to go for Hajj (the most sacred of religious rituals for us Muslims). She was over the moon about it and I am sure her thankful prayers made my mind to make peace with the unexpected payment I got 🙂

    Do something special with your money. Spend some on yourself too 🙂

    • That would have been really big money! Good that you were unruffled. That’s how it ought to be.
      I can understand the feelings of your mother – here (in Jeddah) we often see that happiness on the faces of our colleagues’parents who come to perform Hajj for the first time in their life.
      Thanks a lot, dear, for sharing your story with me. 🙂

  7. There is a point in what you say.
    It is uneasy money.

  8. “Money, money, money,must be funny in a rich man’s world”
    Spend some on you, save some, give some.
    Don’t be so sad you need some surprises in life or it would be boring.But don’t forget to save some expenditures will come.I have to advice you to be optimistic.Learn from your child!!!!!!

  9. I think we all want money and what money can buy – most of us at least. But I still believe money will never make you happy (although lack of it can make life hard). What counts for happiness is exactly all those values in life that money can’t buy. Love, friendship, living in the present, accepting what is, enjoy sunshine or rain, the small details of everyday life.

    • You are right. We, caught up in the rat race, often neglect those wonderful free gifts of life. Lack of money- that scares most and makes them worship it.

  10. First of all, congrats. We feel money as something valuable only when we are in need.Once again you proved that you are pessimistic. But your daughter’s firm belief came true. Do you become optimistic like your daughter after this experience? 😀

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