Off-beat Ways To Spend Your Christmas Bonus
By now you’ve probably received the fruits of your year’s worth of labor. For some, this may be the compulsory 13th month pay. Others who are lucky enough to work for generous employers, may feel the windfall of three (or more) months worth of salary in one day. It may be overwhelming to suddenly have a lot of cash on you, a stark difference from the rest of the year when you scrimp on loose change and leftovers.
Now that you finally got some breathing room to return the favor to your friend who always treats you to lunch, don’t go off spending every cent on lavish gifts and grandiose Christmas dinner just because you can afford it. Chances are, although this happens yearly, having a big amount at your disposal, typically does end up being disposed (as quickly as it came).
Last year, we’ve taught you practical ways to stretch your Christmas bonus. This year, we take it up a notch to give you more specific examples and off-beat ways to spend your Christmas bonus and make every peso count!
Invest in government securities
Upon receiving a large amount of money, some would tend to have a tendency to spend it while others choose to save it. Saving it has a morale boosting effect, as you stash your bonus in a savings account you can see that large sum each you log on to your online banking account. While this may be motivating for some, others may feel motivated to spend it wantonly, because they know they have cash to spend, which can be accessed easily in a savings account.
To help counter the itch, why not invest in government securities. They’re generally pretty safe while providing good returns. On top of that, your money will be locked away so you won’t have any temptation to grab it and spend it! Investing in government securities is considered one of the safest, so you don’t have to worry about your bonus going kaput. Landbank on its website said, “while there may be market risks owing to changes in interest rates, government securities are an attractive investment vehicle since the safety of your principal is assured.”
You can invest for as short as 91 days (or roughly 3 months), or as long as 20 years. So you basically stretch your money and earn a decent amount of interest in the process. What this will also do is pull your attention away from the fact that you have a lot of cash to use. Plus when the funds mature you’ll be getting even more money back!
Learn a new language or polish up your skills
Learning a new language, improving your writing, and being an expert in something can boost your chances for that elusive promotion, or nab a job you’ve been eyeing. Taking up classes or a certification course will certainly beef up your resume. Certain jobs require skills with a certain level of mastery. What better way to use up your bonus other than investing in yourself.
Also if you’re looking for a job abroad, learning a new language will certainly add merit. Although Filipinos are lucky to have English taught in schools, the most widely used language in the world is Mandarin, followed by Spanish. And if you’re targeting a particular country with a common vernacular, you’ll increase your chances if you speak and understand the language.
Even if you plan to stay here, and you work for a multinational company, the upper executives will most probably be from the company’s home country. One way to get a foot into the upper management is if you’re able to communicate freely and clearly your ideas to the big bosses (even if they understand English). And who knows, they might even consider you for a position at HQ.
Buy a bike
If you’re someone who likes thrill rides, and don’t mind the wind (or smoke) on your face, then a motorcycle would be the perfect way to weave around Metro Manila traffic. Buy yourself a bike and save yourself an hour of waiting to ride the bus (or MRT, or van, or taxi) during rush hour, and cut your travel time in half.
Downpayment for a basic motorcycle cost P3,000 to P5,000, which you can very much afford with your bonus. Settle the remaining balance with a loan. And if you pay a bigger chunk for your downpayment, your monthly payment can run for as low as P2,000 per month! (Don’t forget to buy helmet, knee pads, elbow pads and overalls for protection.)
Then you can apply as a GrabBike, or GrabExpress rider (and earn extra money on the side). Much like its GrabCar counterpart, GrabBike and GrabExpress taps motorcycle owners to let passengers book a ride (or deliver parcels in the case of GrabExpress) around Metro Manila for a fee, and earn as much as P20,000 a month, according to GrabTaxi’s website!
Work on home repairs you’ve been putting off
Do you only remember your roof leaks when it rains? A sealant may be good for minor cracks and basic repairs but if your roof has corroded in several areas, then it’s time to have it replaced. Thirty square foot of GI corrugated sheets can already cost you P3,000. Wider coverage and better materials can cost you more. And if you’ve had this problem for a while, surely, you also need to have your wiring checked, bowing ceiling replaced, drainage cleaned, and more.
The El Niño has bought you enough time to make weather-beaten repairs before a fresh round heavy rain rolls again next year. With your Christmas bonus, you can finally begin on small projects around your home which you’ve been putting on hold for lack of funds.
Go to tiangges… and sell!
Have you noticed that you spend quite a pretty penny when you drop by bazaars and tiangges. These holiday staples draw hordes of Filipinos in search of bargains. Why not be the receiving end of the cash flow and start your own stall. Although it may take quite a bit more time and effort on your end (you can always hire staff to man it when you have work, or help during midnight-shift).
Find a good spot with few competitors selling the same stuff you have and you may just hit the jackpot. Your Christmas bonus can be your start-up capital, and if you’re lucky you may just double or triple it!
If you’ve already promised most of your bonus to your creditors, then be much wiser next year. Your bonus can open doors to mountains of opportunities if you know where and how to look, which can take you much farther (financially or otherwise) when Christmas comes knocking next year.