101 Brilliant Ways to Blow the $100 You Got for Graduation

Got a bit of dough with your diploma? Here are some ideas on how to spend it—from WTF to actually smart money moves that will make your life way better as you step out into the real world.

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May 24 2018, 8:07pm

Illustration by Maggie Ahearn

Everyone wants to give you advice when you’re young (and easy to manipulate). Most of it is garbage. The hard part is figuring out what’s actually useful—or at the very least will make for a memorable mistake. To give you some inspiration as you embark on the next phase of your life, we reached out to basically everyone we know—from genius money experts to Vice staffers to recent grads—for ideas on how they would spend $100 in graduation money, should they be lucky enough to receive it.

Here’s what they said:

YOLO

1. “I would spend it either on those 24 karat gold chicken wings or aged beers that cost around 45-50 bucks a bottle. I’d buy two of those with a buddy and get hammered.” —Noah Bray, Coast Guard Chief in NYC

2. “I would buy two new pairs of chucks (green and yellow), so I can step into this new phase of my life with a little funk and confidence.” —Tiff The Budgetnista

3. “I’d go to the Cheesecake Factory.” —Ralph Velasquez, sophomore at Hicksville High School in Long Island, NY

4. “Bitcoin.” —Bliss Aruj, junior at New College of Florida

5. "I'd probably go record shopping. I love vinyl. I'm streaming most of my music now, so buying a physical record in some ways feels like a luxury." —Shomari Wills, author of Black Fortunes

6. “A professional beard trim with an old school razor.” —Grant Sabatier, blogger at Millennial Money

7. “Meat.” —Nicole Clark, culture writer at Vice

Now you can put filet mignon on the menu. Photo by istetiana / Getty Images

8. “Buy a cute bikini and eyelash extensions.” —Rachel Swanson, recent high school graduate in Illinois

9. "Ancestor DNA test." —Alice Diamond, owner of Diamond Fitness in Niwot, Colorado

10. “I would spend it on a massage. Just enough to relax, unwind, celebrate myself and my hard work.” —Erika Nicole Kendall, blogger at A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss

11. “V-bucks ofc.” — @olivergranbergg

12. “An actual tattoo maybe instead of one you pay for in a dorm for 20 bucks.” —Lia Kantrowitz, senior designer at Vice

13. “Lush products that help create a facade of self-care (i.e. face masks, bath bombs, etc.) The facade being that it takes the place of like actual self-care things that would be beneficial like exercising and drinking enough water.” —Eryn McIntyre, senior at New College of Florida

14. “Two tickets to the Detroit Weird Home Tour.” —Tamela Ekstrom Derian, owner and broker at HAVEN Real Estate + Design in Detroit, Michigan

15. “Online dating membership.”—Michael Lai, CEO and co-founder of Sitejabber

16. “I’d treat myself to a class—something fun that I didn't have time for in school, like sailing lessons, a cooking class, or an art workshop.” —Adrian Granzella Larssen, founder of Sweet Spot Content

17. “Ceramic Dutch oven. Gonna go with the food, people.” —Allie Conti, staff writer at Vice

18. “W e e d” — @roastedbutt

Celebrate! Photo by Seth Ryan / EyeEm / Getty Images

19. “Could probably get a decent vape pen at that price.” —Mike Darling, editor at Vice

20. “Gambling, booze or blue jeans, with blue jeans being the worst of the three.” —Evan Derian, creator of Miserable Americans comic book

21. “Food.” — @OlgaQuezada08

22. “20 year old me would have bought a nice bong and that's not a bad idea.” —Harry Cheadle, US politics editor at Vice

23. “I was in a long-distance relationship when I graduated college (we're getting married now!), so I would've spent it on round-trip Greyhound bus fare to go visit him because that was the cheapest way to travel.” —Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together

24. “If you have some time off, think about taking a trip you've always wanted to go on. In fact, it’s exactly what I did when I graduated college myself—worth it! ” —Liana Corwin, communications at Hopper

25. “Fill up a cooler with booze and head out to the beach with some friends.” —David Rae, certified financial planner, president and founder of DRM Wealth Management

26. “Instant pot.” —Harry Cheadle, US politics editor at Vice

27. "I would definitely go to one of those luxury cheese shops and buy big chunks of Parmigiano-Reggiano, Rogue River Blue, and Camembert, to name a few. " —Molly Kay, writer in Canada

28. “I’d visit an attraction I never found time to see or finally go to a restaurant I always wanted to try” —Heather Huhman, founder and president of Come Recommended in Waldorf, Maryland

29. “Buy a small tv, much better to watch things on than ur computer.” —Eve Peyser, staff writer at Vice

30. “Alcohol. Because I just finished four years of hell.” —Katie Dyrland, project coordinator in Shrewsbury, Missouri

31. “I’d blow all the money on sushi.” —Alex Caruso, junior at New College of Florida

32. “Fancy booze (like a $60 scotch) and take out.” — Harry Cheadle, US politics editor at Vice

33. “I would treat myself to a nice dinner, 2) get a massage, or 3) create a photo book of my favorite college photos.” —Roger Ma, certified financial planner and founder of Life Laid Out.

33. “Treat a group of friends to drinks or a taco truck adventure. I've always wanted to say ‘drinks on me!’” —Reshanda Yates, owner of All’s Clear Window Washing in New Orleans

Share the love. Photo by Westend61 / Getty Images

34. “A massage.”—Susan Rinkunas, editor at Vice

35. “I think the smart thing to do with it would simply be to buy myself a fancy tie—I wear ties all the time!—or a scarf, something to help me look as poised and professional as possible for any job interviews I'd be attending.” — Erika Nicole Kendall, blogger at A Black Girl’s Guide to Weight Loss.

36. “A really good steak.” —Eve Peyser, staff writer at Vice

37. Baseball tickets.”— @big_veee

38. “A great dinner out!” —Alison Green, author of Ask A Manager: Clueless Colleagues, Lunch-Stealing Bosses, and the Rest of Your Life at Work

39. “Unlimited rides at Coney Island with a friend, followed by a shrimp basket and an extra large lemonade at Nathan’s.” —Reeves Carter, founder and president of Plentiful hair care, Brooklyn

40. “A bus ticket somewhere while I’m still young enough to crash on the couches of random strangers from the internet.” —Jamie Taete, editor at Vice

WTF

41. “Buy a goat.” —Sydney, student from Canada

Time for a new animal friend? Photo by Zelma Brezinska / EyeEm / Getty Images

42. “I’d buy a virtual gauntlet, digital sword and a magic potion for the current video game I’m playing.” —Evan Derian, creator of Miserable Americans comic book

43. “Shitload of soylent, maybe. Really want to get into soylent.” —Peter Slattery, social editor at Vice

44. “Opening up a school cafe that makes incredible food, but is only open for an hour. Buying out an art gallery and replacing all the art work with pictures of burning notes and exams. Buying the rights to textbooks and selling for a dollar instead of $450. And last but not least, a private tour of the White House just so I can tell Trump to fuck himself.”—Nic, just graduated from New College of Florida

45. “I would buy yarn so I could knit and watch Netflix..” —Madeleine Morin, third year pharmacy student at the University of Florida

46. “100 slices of dollar pizza.” —Beckett Mufson, culture editor at Vice

47. “Titanium toothpicks: Because you can't meet with the boss if you need to floss.” —Marc Cenedella, CEO and founder of The Ladders

48. “Tattoo something in Latin on your ankle.” —Alex Norcia, copy editor at Vice

49. “Take myself out to a big fancy dinner, 5 star restaurant then go to Whole Foods and then get everything I wanted, anything that piqued my interest. Then bathe in all of the coconut water I bought.” —Rory, 2018 graduate of New College of Florida

50. “A fancy pen or portfolio.”—Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster

51. “STREET SMARTS!” —Nicole Clark, culture writer at Vice

52. “I would superglue a $100 bill on the sidewalk, perhaps somewhere on Prince Street in Soho because people there are unbearable, and discreetly stand by and watch how many people try to pick it up.” —Sarah Harvard, journalist/UX tester in NYC

53. “One nice outfit so people won't suspect you when you shoplift.” —Jamie Taete, editor at Vice

54. “I’d spend that money on a sushi pillow. Sometimes you need to relax by squeezing a plush representation of cold raw dead fish on rice.” —Marc Cenedella, CEO and founder of The Ladders

55. “A year’s worth of avocado toast.” —Julia Wakefield, director of public relations at SmartAsset

56. “Spend $100 on a bus ticket so I can go to Mexico for a boob job.” —Kaitlyn Rhyneer, junior at Festus High School in Festus, Missouri

57. “Stockpile ramen to prepare for when your student loans kick in and you won't be able to buy real food.” —Meredith Balkus, editor at Vice

58. “I would transfer the $100 into 10,000 pennies so I don't spend it.” —Alex Norcia, copy editor at Vice

NSFW

59. “Blow.”—@JTsounderFC

60. “I’d pay $100 to blow a Chippendale. Because I’m too old to make money. When you are 68, you become desperate.” —Pam S., retired from Missouri

61. “I’d spend it on a hot male escort.” —Greg Brainer, owner of Down State Desings in Mildford, Michigan

62. “As we say in arabic, I'll wipe my ass with it because 100 ain't shit.” — @stupidvalentino

63. "Save it and use it to hire someone to clean your apartment before a potential romantic partner comes over." —Beckett Mufson, culture editor at Vice

Surprisingly good advice

64. “Put it toward my mountain of student loans lmao” —@rileyportmann

65. “A nice interview suit.” —Vicki Salemi, career expert at Monster

66. “I would save half and buy myself something small like a piece of jewelry.” —Tanya, marketing executive in NYC

67. "A Leatherman knife." —Mike Darling, editor at Vice

You'll never regret a good pocket tool. Photo by y6uca / Getty Images

68. "A Global Entry pass, which is $100 for five years and gets you in the shorter, speedier queue on both domestic and international flights. An encouragement to travel widely, as grad gift." —Alec Scott, travel writer, Oakland

69. "Go for a long lunch with a friend who will be living in a different city after graduation—and make a specific plan for how to keep in touch and keep the friendship." —Michael Norton, co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending

70. “I'd spend it on something to help me sleep better or motivate me to sleep more.” —John Ganotis, founder of Credit Card Insider

71. “A good pair of shoes.” —Emerson Rosenthal, editor at Vice

72. “I’d blow it on a cast iron frying pan and a good knife. Don’t forget an Ina Garten cookbook too.” —Jean Chatzky, personal finance expert and host of HerMoney

73. “Put it in a savings account. Build up a savings cushion before you have a whole list of monthly bills to pay and saving becomes a lot harder.” —Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate

74. “After college, when I had spent years getting my hair shaved/cut/dyed by whoever, I invested in a good quality professional haircut.” —Eve Peyser, staff writer at Vice

75. “Noise-canceling headphones are a godsend.” —Mike Darling, editor at Vice

76. “Interview clothes.” —Susan Rinkunas, editor at Vice

77. “A student loan payment.”— @TakeItLikeABabe

78. “Pay more than $20 for a haircut. You look bad. Real bad.” —Michael Bolen, director of content strategy at Vice

Upgrade your look. You're a grown up now. Photo by Thomas Barwick / Getty Images

79. “Invest it!” —Adrian Granzella Larssen, founder of Sweet Spot Content

80. “Buy the following books and read them slowly over the next year: Common Sense on Mutual Funds, Devil Take the Hindmost, A Random Walk Down Wall Street, Your Money and Your Brain, How to Think about Money.” —William Bernstein, neurologist and author of The Four Pillars of Investing

81. “An upgraded alarm clock—getting used to waking up early is one of the hardest things about post-college life.” —Kim Palmer, personal finance expert at Nerdwallet

82. “A single kettlebell (or two) is good if you can’t afford a weight set. Opens up a lot of workout options as do TRX bands.”—Mike Darling, editor at Vice

83. “I would buy books like, the Four Hour Work-Week, and Think and Grow Rich, so I can learn even more now that school is out.” —Tiff The Budgetnista

84. “Put that shit into a savings account and NOT spent it on booze and food.” -—Kara Weisenstein, editor at Vice

85. “A good rain coat.” —Lia Kantrowitz, senior designer at Vice

86. “I’d get a portable phone charger: Five or more full charges on the go.” —Marc Cenedella, CEO and founder of The Ladders

87. “I would pay off parking tickets because I lived in SF and I got so many of those all of the time.” —Marina Garcia-Vasquez, editor at Vice

88. “Take 20 people whose careers you admire for coffee.” —Anna Iovine, weekend social media editor at Vice

89. “I wouldn't spend it right away, I'd put it in savings!” —Erin Lowry, author of Broke Millennial: Stop Scraping By and Get Your Financial Life Together

90. “Save for a car!” —Daniela Vidal, junior at Robert Morgan Educational Center in Miami, Florida

91. “I would spend it on a therapy session because stepping into the real world from college was jarring. I had shell shock. So I’d blow it on kickin’ it with my therapist.” —Stephanie Kort, HAVEN Real Estate + Design in Detroit, Michigan

92. “Hire a professional resume reviewer and get a top-notch document as you search for your first job.” —Julia Wakefield, director of public relations, SmartAsset

93. "A medium-sized rescue dog." —Nicole Clark, culture writer at Vice

94. “I’d put the money in towards an emergency fund. You are now an adult and will want money for more things than you can imagine.” —David Rae, certified financial planner, president and founder of DRM Wealth Management

95. “Invest it of course in a total stock market ETF of course. That $100 will at least double every 10 years!”—Grant Sabatier, founder of Millennial Money

96. “A year subscription to a portfolio site like Squarespace or Cargo Collective so you had no excuse not to put your work up.”— Lia Kantrowitz, senior designer at Vice

97. “If you have any debt, like a credit card balance that hasn't been paid in full, put it toward that.” —John Ganotis, Founder of Credit Card Insider

98. "Go buy a coffee and listen to these five free investment podcasts each morning. After 20 coffees you will have listened to 40 hours of some of the best investment commentary in the world (since you're listening at 2x speed). Basically on the way to a MBA in investing!" —Meb Faber, author, podcaster and co-founder and Chief Investment Officer of Cambria Investment Management.

99. “Buy some basic books on personal finance so you can begin to educate yourself on how to manage the much larger sums that will come your way in the years ahead.” —Greg McBride, chief financial analyst a Bankrate

100. “Put it in a savings account to establish an emergency fund, or put it toward an extra student loan payment.” —Roger Ma, certified financial planner and founder of Life Laid Out.

101. "I'd take my parents to a nice restaurant, tell them the things I appreciated most about my upbringing, and ask what they recommend I do as a parent." —William Bernstein, neurologist and author of The Four Pillars of Investing

Follow Gina Ragusa on Twitter.