If We Had Eleventy Billion Dollars

We didn’t buy any lotto tickets in the crazy frenzy of the giant jackpot last week. The buzz did spark some fun conversations at work and home though. Someone asked me what I would do first if I won, and I immediately thought of books and my classroom wish list. Most people chuckled and said, “wait, wouldn’t you quit your job? Then you could spend that money on something else.”

Huh. I guess if we won a boat ton of money, I could quit my job.

I brought it up with Cortney one evening asking him what he would do if we won the lottery. His answer was so adult and responsible: pay off any debt we had, replace his truck with something that doesn’t need a new transmission, and look for a bigger house. His answer surprised me not at all.  He’s a practical guy who wants to take care of his family and our immediate needs first. But it started me thinking about what I would really do with all that money…you know, once I did the adult thing and paid off those student loans.

If I won the lottery

If I won the lottery I would…

Get my PhD in English Education. According to my “retirement planning guy” (yes I have one because I am an adult, dang it), I have about eleven more years until I can retire from public education. If I didn’t have to work, I would still teach. In fact I don’t think I would want to leave my current job at all. However I would probably go part-time or retire earlier so I could pursue my PhD without having to work while doing it (which is currently the plan when we do have the money to pay for the credits). My dream is to teach future teachers.

Go on a Honeymoon. Ok, so Cortney and I did go on a honeymoon, but it was not the stuff all-inclusive, swim-up-bar dreams are made of. Remind me to tell you about the Mystic Sea “Resort” some day. Ugg.  After 10.5 years of marriage, I think we deserve a romantic getaway. We have been through some heavy shit in these years, but we are still laughing and loving and I wish we could celebrate that in a big way.

Take the Kids Somewhere. This one I might not do immediately. I mean, Alice is a little young to care whether she is in our living room or at Disney and to be honest? She would probably prefer our living room floor at this age. But eventually I would love to take our kids someplace awesome. Maybe not even Disney, but somewhere that they would remember and love.

Start Classroom Libraries. Since I would keep my job teaching middle school, I would use some of that eleventy billion to help start/expand all the English teacher’s classroom libraries in my district including my own.

Make Big Donations. I would also make sure to give some of it away. One place I would contribute to is the Book Love Foundation. Penny Kittle has worked to help teachers build their classroom libraries across the country–including mine. I would also give to the American Cancer society in memory of all of the loved ones we have lost or who have suffered from cancer. Postpartum Progress would also get some dinero because Katherine Stone and her tireless efforts to inform and break down the stigma of postpartum depression and other perinatal mood disorders quite literally saved my life.

Start a Scholarship. If I had the funds to back it, I would start a scholarship for students in my district. It would require an essay about reading and a book that changed their life.

Beef Up the College Funds. It really goes without saying that we would put away money for all three of our kids’ post-secondary educations. Am I right? School is important, yo.

All of this would be after paying off our current loans, getting newer (more reliable) vehicles that actually fit all of us at once, and moving to a house where I can open a cupboard and not have a serving dish almost take me out (true story. It hit the stove top instead and took some of the paint off).

And of course we would sock some away in savings. Because we are responsible and don’t want to end up on one of those reality shows about people winning the lotto who are now living out of their car.

So what would you do with a boatload of money? What dreams would you bring to fruition? What worries would you appease?


About Katie

Just a small town girl...wait no. That is a Journey song. Katie Sluiter is a small town girl, but she is far from living in a lonely world. She is a middle school English teacher, writer, mother, and wife. Life has thrown her a fair share of challenges, but her belief is that writing through them makes her stronger.


  1. I’d probably do the same things you would do (including the PhD!), except find a new house right away. Our kids might jump ship if we announced that we were moving somewhere else at this point. I’d probably just remodel a little. To have college and retirement and vehicles taken care of all in one fell swoop would be nothing short of a load off.

  2. I love your goals.
    I love you.

    (Someday I want to donate a boat ton of books to your classroom. Unless you’re already in your PhD program in which case I’d let you pick a class. Any class. 🙂