Some of you may remember when I became a one-day millionaire. I can feel a handful of people nodding enthusiastically while the rest of you frown in confusion eh?
In 2015, I worked with the National Lottery to run a campaign where people could enter a weekly draw to win £1 million.
Unfortunately, all I was given was £1 million, but I was given the opportunity to live the millionaire lifestyle for 24 hours.
The premise of the “24 Hour Millionaire” campaign is as follows:
If you won £1 million, you would have around £2,739 to spend every day for a year.
Imagine being able to play for over £2,700 every day. I don’t know about you, but my heart is already full of possibilities and excitement!
And that’s exactly what I had… £2,739 to spend in 24 hours.
You can do whatever you want and go wherever you want!
This was when Sam and I were renovating our house and spending all the money we earned on it. I hadn’t treated myself as much as a new pair of socks in months, so splurging on something I wanted was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up.
Read more: How I became a millionaire in Paris in 24 hours using the National Lottery
A millionaire in Paris
Since I only had 24 hours, I decided to visit Paris and brought my friend Vicki Flip Flop with me.
We took the Eurostar to Paris, upgraded to first class, and had the luxury of buying a bottle of champer on the journey for the first time. During the 24 hours we spent as “millionaires,” we stayed in luxury apartments with views of the Eiffel Tower, ate in some of Paris’s best restaurants, drank cocktails in very expensive bars, and enjoyed lavish breakfasts and luxurious I thoroughly enjoyed my lunch. We did a lot of shopping and splurged on expensive ‘tourist activities’.
At the end of the 24 hours, I had a very awkward activity where I had to “give back” to people to share my wealth and do some good for the world. I wholeheartedly agreed with this. Because something didn’t suit me. By the end of the challenge, I was starting to question everything.
It didn’t seem right to spend £500 on sunglasses while a homeless woman stood nearby asking for change to feed her children. But instead of just handing over cash to charities and homeless people, he had to buy lots of high-end chocolates and hand them out to people at stations. To be honest, this was probably one of the most disgusting events of my life. Because no one wanted to receive a box of chocolates from this strange British woman who followed them around the station with a camera. Seriously, no one will accept them! So it was weird and very awkward.
Overall, Vicky and I had a great time. We had a lot of fun, but something was bothering us throughout our stay. While in Paris, there was an unspoken truth that neither of us wanted to admit, but years later we were both happy to admit this… When we visited Paris on a shoestring budget, was more fun! There’s more fun in finding bargains and doing the same things the locals do,
Having a lot of money in Paris actually felt like a huge distraction that took our focus away from the beauty of the city.
We were so focused on finding great places to eat and drink that we barely stopped to enjoy the city. Let’s be honest: French food is amazing. You don’t have to sit in a formal, stuffy restaurant with a complicated menu and expensive cocktails to enjoy a great meal.
I’ve been to Paris six times, seven times including a high school field trip when I was about 13 years old, and I love this city. While we were there as millionaires, I kept thinking about my last trip to Paris. Since we didn’t have much money, many of our meals were simple picnics enjoyed in the green spaces of Paris. I mostly subsisted on fresh bread, creamy cheeses, sweet pastries, and strawberry punnets. We often ate in the rose garden next to the beautiful fountain in the Jardin du Luxembourg. Call me simple, but this was much better than being shoved into a dark restaurant and being served small portions of food that I’m not sure I ordered.
shopping while traveling
I know this is personal because many people like to shop while traveling. Actually, I’ve always thought that I love shopping when I travel, but I’ve never really done it because I rarely have a big budget for shopping. I gazed longingly at the boutique window, then dragged myself away, silently wishing I had a millionaire’s budget. I’ve always loved visiting markets for unique (and bargain!) souvenirs, but I avoided department stores and designer shops.
When I was a millionaire in Paris, I was encouraged to visit all these glamorous designer stores, and I spent a lot of time at Galeries Lafayette. I thought this would be my favorite part of the trip, but it actually felt like a waste to spend so much time indoors. We could have been in any boutique in any city in the world, and we knew that these designer handbags and sunglasses cost more than many people’s monthly salaries. Not only that, but he could have spent another week in Paris thanks to his new sunglasses!
I’d rather shop at home and take my time exploring the city rather than wandering around department stores.
Making memorable experiences
When I take a nostalgic trip down memory lane and remember my trip to Paris, it’s not the expensive and luxurious experiences that I think of. In fact, it was a unique experience that happened because I had no money!
The time I walked miles in Paris because I didn’t have the confidence to take a taxi. Or the time you didn’t want to wait in line to climb the Eiffel Tower, so you went to another town and happened to find the best sunset view in Paris.
The same goes for traveling abroad!
For me, it’s worth spending money on nice accommodations, but I don’t think you need to spend a fortune once you arrive!
As always, I am so grateful that starting this blog has given me such a great experience. I was really lucky to be able to work on this campaign. It was a reminder that while frivolous spending can bring temporary highs, long-term happiness doesn’t come from splurging on cash.
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