There’s so much to celebrate during the holiday season. In addition to the time with friends and family, the holidays can also deliver surprise gifts of green, as in cash and bonuses.
If you are fortunate enough to receive a holiday bonus, take a moment to enjoy planning how to spend your windfall. But this year, instead of just buying stuff, use your bonus as an opportunity to rethink how you spend. Focus on what you value most, and then use your goals and dreams as a spending guide.
Here’s three ways to do that.
Invest in yourself: Throughout the year, we tend to put others’ needs before our own. An unexpected windfall could be your chance to finally get that online certification or attend a leadership workshop you’ve had your eye on. Perhaps you wanted to take a cooking class or kickboxing lessons. Or, maybe time is what you need most – so, use your bonus to pay someone else to clean your house. Whatever it is, an investment in yourself will always pay off in the short and long-term.
Plan ahead: Use the extra money to finally start that emergency fund, vacation fund and/or holiday fund you’ve resolved to open every year, but never have. Maybe the extra money can go even further by using it to fund your HSA (hello, tax benefits!) or boost your retirement savings. No matter what, getting a jumpstart on New Year’s goals will set the tone for a successful and empowered 2019.
Pay your debts: Okay, making a big payment on a credit card isn’t what normally comes to mind when thinking “fun,” but never underestimate the joy that can be derived from alleviating financial stress. And, paying down debt will result in a higher credit score, which will get you a better loan rate if you’re planning to buy a new car or home this summer – shopping for a nicer car or home is definitely fun! And remember, it doesn’t have to be eitherpay your debts orinvest in yourself. You can split your bonus and do both. When it comes to paying down debt, every little bit helps.