5 Smart Ways to Spend Your Year-End Bonus

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!

future dwight

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?

treat-yo-self2

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.

Things I Have Done Instead of Updating This Blog

I haven’t posted on this blog in a super long time and I’m starting to feel really bad about it. At first I just missed one week because I was sick on a Tuesday when I usually post. And I thought, “Eh, no big deal.” But then one week turned into two and before I knew it I couldn’t even remember when the last time I posted was. I wish I had a really good excuse for why I haven’t posted in forever, but truthfully what I have is an endless supply of not-so-good reasons for why I’ve been too busy to blog. So here they are – 20 Things I Have Been Doing Instead of Blogging:

1. Watching Love Actually while eating Half Baked Brownies. If you’ve never had Half Baked Brownies, you need to make them ASAP. Just bake brownies for half the time you’re supposed to and eat the gooey, chocolately mess with vanilla ice cream. If you’ve never watched Love Actually, what are you waiting for?! WATCH IT NOW!

2. Struggling to figure out what to get my brother in-law for Christmas. Slash hoping my mom buys him something I can just write my name on. (JK I would never do that . . . ??)

3.Catching up with old friends at Thanksgiving! I love when everyone comes home to Maine. Plus holiday get-togethers tend to involve a lot of food and adult beverages, which is always a bonus.

4.Wondering why the man in line behind me at the post office is standing so close to me. The line doesn’t move faster just because you’re leaning on me, sir.

5. Feeling really proud of myself for going to an exercise class called Insane Intervals with my roommate.

6. But then getting really mad at myself for losing my ID in the gym parking lot.

7. But then feeling really grateful when some super nice lady mailed my ID back to me! What a good Samaritan.

8. Obsessing over One Direction and 5 Seconds of Summer (although to be fair, I am always doing that).

9. Listening to Blank Space on repeat. “Cause darling I’m a nightmare dressed like a daydream . . .”

10. Having a small dance party at the gas station when it costs me less than $40 to fill my tank.

11. Buying all the headbands at Crew Cuts because it’s impossible to buy just one. They are all too cute. It’s not indecisive, it’s generous because I bought them for the Holiday Adopt-A-Family . . . right?

12. Listening to everyone’s new favorite podcast, Serial. Check it out here if you’re not hooked already. I am going to be 100% upset if the season ends this Thursday without telling us who really killed Hae. Just saying.

13. 25 Day of Christmas on ABC Family. Enough said.

14. Feeling like a proud mom when my Seal Pups competed in their Mini Swim Meet. They did so awesome! There is nothing cuter than 6 and 7 year-olds swimming in their first race.

15. Wishing that I was allowed to have dogs in my apartment because it’s the only thing stopping me from adopting this adorable puppy that came to the credit union the other day. And now I can’t stop looking at all the pictures on the Maine Lab Rescue website, where she and her little furry friends are waiting to find their forever home. You can check them out here, but you will fall in love instantly so be careful!

16. Working. A lot. Because you have to do that to be able to have a home and food and you know, live or what not.

17. Contemplating how long salad dressing is good for. Does it have an expiration date? Like creamy ones obviously do but does balsamic vinaigrette really ever go bad? Or do they just put an expiration date on there to make you buy more?

18. Re-reading David Sedaris’s Holidays On Ice because it is the perfect mixture of sarcasm and Christmas cheer.

19. Turning 26. ACK! I’m old now.

20. And last but not least, telling myself repeatedly that I should blog. Like today. As in right now, Kelsey!

So in conclusion, I vow to return to posting weekly. Hopefully 2015 will bring new exciting posts with lots of helpful financial information and witty ideas. But I will still be writing them so don’t set the bar too high . . . 🙂