The Best Things To Do With Your Christmas Bonus
Everybody loves Christmas. The food, the pageantry, the family, and of course, the Christmas bonus checks. Are you getting one this year? Do you know what you’re going to do with it yet?
If you don’t make a plan for your bonus, it’ll be gone before you know it, and you’ll probably end up wasting it. Whatever your financial situation may be, you’ll find a great use for your bonus in our helpful list below. And you don’t have to pick just one — you can split up your Christmas bonus check in any way you want:
- Take a vacation. (We bet you thought this was going to be something boring and practical.) You worked hard for your bonus, so you deserve a break. There are so many cheap flights these days; why not treat yourself (and a loved one, if you want) to a quick getaway so you can relax, escape the pollution of Metro Manila, and come back to work refreshed and ready to take on your tasks with energy? Budget airlines are flying to hot destinations all the time, and you can enjoy Christmas or the New Year savoring the delights of a new city without breaking the bank. If you want more tips on how to have a holiday on a budget, check out these 10 Ways to Travel for Less.
- Pay down debt. (This is iMoney after all, so we were bound to give you some practical advice.) Bonus money can speed up your debt payments, especially if you already had a debt payment plan in place. (If you don’t have one, get started with these strategies to pay down debt.) Sure, it’s less fun to pay down debt than to go to Bangkok, but think of it this way; the faster your debt is gone, the faster you can use your bonuses on fun stuff.
- Finally splash on that large expense. Is your fridge about to die? Or maybe your car’s in need of repairs. Use your bonus money to pay for these outlays. Or maybe your large expense is something more fun, like a Christmas party, or unexpected Christmas gifts you suddenly had to buy. Whatever your large end-of-the-year (or early next year) expense is, you can use some of your bonus money to help lighten the load, so that the rest of your finances aren’t thrown out of whack.
- Add to your emergency fund. If you don’t have 3 – 6 months’ worth of money in your emergency fund yet, add your bonus to it. It’s good to check up on your emergency fund every once in a while to make sure that you have enough in there. Your expenses can change and if you don’t update your fund, you might find yourself short when an emergency does come up. Here are some more ways to boost your emergency fund. And remember to choose the right savings account for your emergency fund — it should be easily accessible with competitive interest rates.
- Build your buffer. Remember our article on breaking the paycheck to paycheck cycle by living one month ahead? Instead of saving a little every month and taking forever to build a buffer, you could immediately have one if you use your Christmas bonus. Breaking free of the vicious paycheck to paycheck cycle could be the best gift you give your wallet this Christmas. Imagine never having to worry about missing payments or late paychecks again.
- Invest it. If you’ve never invested before, now that you’re sitting on some extra cash is the perfect time. Many banks allow you to open an investment for as low as P10,000 — just go to your nearest branch and speak to a specialist to get the ball rolling. And getting started early is more important than starting when you think you finally have enough money. Just as an example, if you invested P10,000 last Christmas in a Security Bank Peso Equity Fund, you would have had P14,593.50 by December 3, 2014. If you invest wisely, you could be enjoying the fruits of your Christmas bonus for years to come.