Today is not only the Friday before NYE, but also for many of us, the last pay day of the year. That means bonuses for 2017 are rolling in and you work hard for your money so you better use it right!! (I sang that out, btw). A lot of you may not know this about me, but I work in communications and for the last couple of years have taken my talents to one of the biggest banks in the country — meaning I know a thing or two about money, or so I like to think, based on personal experience (& mistakes) and soaking up some institutional knowledge. That’s why I’ve rounded up a few smart ways to use your holiday bonus, that don’t completely suck 🙂
Pay down debt
Ok, this one kinda sucks, but only in the short term! If you have any outstanding revolving debt that’s accumulating interest and can be eliminated (I’m talking more credit card and spending debt, versus let’s say a mortgage or student loan) that is ONE HUNDRED PERCENT how you should be allotting your holiday bonus. Not only will it help to relieve a monthly expense that you can then use towards other, better things, but you’ll feel less stressed going into the new year + help your credit score which in turn will help with meeting your other financial goals & applications in 2018.
Save It (or at least some of it)
This may not sound like much fun, but putting at least a bit of your holiday bonus into savings can help it grow and eventually do more for you. Think of putting it in a place where it’s still liquid (like a TFSA or high interest savings account), and that way you aren’t restricted if does something comes up that you want to use it for. For example, I put about 20% of my personal holiday bonus into savings this year because I know we have wedding deposits and property taxes coming up in a few months (but it can also be for less responsible to-do’s :)). And speaking of things coming up…
Start an emergency fund
Coming at you with some of that bank knowledge: DYK experts recommend having an emergency fund equal to about 3 months pay set aside? This is SEPARATE from your regular savings, and a great thing to start if you don’t have something else set in mind to use your holiday bonus for. Huge peace of mind if you can swing it, and don’t think you’ll need to pull from it!!
Big ticket purchase or experience
Ok, now we get to the good stuff. If you’ve been responsible with your finances all year there is absolutely NO reason you shouldn’t treat yoself… It is your own hard work after all that got you your holiday bonus! A big ticket purchase can be anything from a designer handbag, tech gadget, new decor item or vacation! Probably my overall most asked question from followers is ‘how do you afford to go on so many trips,’ and the simple answer is that we PLAN for them. Aside from being obsessed with flying on points (seriously, I can’t remember the last time we paid for a flight and am happy to do a separate post on tips to accumulate if you leave a comment below letting me know you’re interested), I have a personal rule where any trip I take needs to be paid for in advance of me leaving. It doesn’t always happen exactly, but setting aside your holiday bonus means you can take off guilt free the next time the travel bug bites.
Long term debt repayment or savings
We talked about paying off the revolving debt as priority numero uno (!!!), BUT another fantastic option to consider allotting your holiday bonus to is paying down or thinking about long term debt and goals. For example, throwing a chunk of it towards your mortgage or student loans, or putting it into an RRSP. If you fall into this group I would like to extend a digital pat on the back! Not quite something our situation this year will allow for, but a very smart way to go if you’re able.
This can be in the literal term of different investment options and stocks, OR also, investing in yourself (just as valuable). Perhaps you’ve been really wanting to take a course or workshop or even hire a personal trainer or some kind of instructor? All FANTASTIC ways to spend a holiday bonus, and see some very real and relevant personal gains.
If you are one of the lucky folks who doesn’t really ‘need’ a holiday bonus, consider donating to a person or cause that does. As mentioned in my post on holiday traditions, we give every year, and even if it’s a small fraction of your holiday bonus, it’s a great way to give back.
So, what are you doing with your holiday bonus?! Leave me a note below xx