If you just found out that you’re getting a holiday bonus this year – WOOHOO! Way to go you! Getting a little extra cash this time of year is super exciting and a well-earned reminder of all your hard work. But before you get too far into your plan to fly to Las Vegas and double your loot by playing the slots, may I suggest a few things you could do with your money that might have a higher return?
1. Save it. Present You might find this idea kind of boring. But Future You will thank Present You when your car breaks down 6 months from now and you can use your bonus money to cover the cost of repairs. Emergencies happen. Having money saved for those occasions can help make them less stressful. So consider using some of your bonus to start an emergency savings fund. You’re welcome, Future Kelsey!
2. Pay off high interest debt. Also known as, CREDIT CARDS! Use a portion of your bonus to pay off a chunk of your credit card or other high interest debt. This will lower the amount of interest you pay in the future and it will feel good to see that balance on your statement look smaller than it has in months.
3. Invest it. The extra cash could be your chance to start investing in a 401K, IRA, or mutual fund. And also your chance to start dressing like the Monopoly Man. But all kidding aside, investing isn’t just for the wealthy. Talk with a financial advisor and find out what investment options make the most sense for you.
4. “Treat Yo Self.” It’s okay to splurge a little and spend some of your bonus on something special. Bonus money is basically free money, meaning that it’s money you didn’t expect to get. What better opportunity to buy those concert tickets or get that flat screen TV than with cash you didn’t have to take of your monthly budget?
5. Break it up into 12 mini-bonuses. That way you can enjoy your bonus for a year instead just a few weeks. Put your bonus money into savings and then set up an automatic monthly transfer to your checking. An extra $100 or $200 a month could mean a lot throughout your year.
But what happens if you don’t get that big holiday bonus? Hopefully you’ll get your bonus and won’t find out. But if you don’t get one, rather than throwing a pity party GoGirl Finance recommends looking for opportunities to prove your worth. “Don’t look at this as a time to slack off because they aren’t paying you as much as you thought they were.” Instead, try to find concrete ways you can help increase your company’s financial success. Maintaining a positive attitude will make you stand out from the crowd as well as improve your chances of earning that bonus in the future.