Sunday, November 5, 2017

10 Things To Do With A Bonus

Everyone loves getting bonuses at work, right?  Working in education, bonuses don't really apply to me.  So I rarely think about them...  That is until now.  This month I am getting a bit of a bonus as a result of the most recent teacher contract.  This is money that isn't a part of any budget or savings plan I currently have underway.  So, the real question is:  What do I do with this money?  Just thinking about it gets me super excited, and inspires me to create this list.

1.  Pay Off Credit Card Debt

If you have credit card debt, this is a no-brainer.  Your bonus could go a really long way toward paying off some unwanted debt.

2.  Make an Extra Mortgage Payment

Just one extra payment per year will shave thousands off your grand total, and allow you to pay your house of years sooner.  Not a bad plan for money you didn't know was coming.

3.  Contribute to Your Roth IRA

I say, get this surprise money working for you!  If you haven't maxed out your contributions for the year, use that bonus to get yourself just that much closer.  You can contribute $5500 per year if you're under 50.  Let's get that thing maxed out!

4.  Fund Your Emergency Savings

Do you have 6-8 months of your expenses in a savings account yet?  If you still haven't reached that goal, putting your bonus into your emergency savings account will buy you some added security.  Honestly, you really can't put a price on peace of mind.

5.  Fund Your Holiday Savings Account

I only spend money that I actually have for the holidays.  That being said, you could use your bonus to pad your holiday savings account, and enjoy your holiday season minus the stress!  Of course, this move doesn't allow your money to grow or save you a bundle like the others, but I say, if you keep yourself from using a credit card during the holidays, it's a total win.

6.  Fund Your Vacation Account

Listen, I am so guilty of burning the candle at both ends that it's not even funny.  So, every year I take great pleasure in planning a vacation that will allow me to rejuvenate myself.  Much like with holiday spending, I don't pay interest on vacations.  I don't take vacations that I can't afford.  If the money's not there, I'm not going anywhere.  So, fueling the vacation account might just be worthy of your bonus.

7.  Home Organization

It's no secret I've been on a decluttering mission this year, and I still have a way to go.  I really do feel like my belongings, my home, and my systems of organization all have a direct relationship with my finances in a lot of ways.  I'm only going to briefly mention two of them right here.  First, how can we really keep our financial affairs orderly when our living space is a disaster?  Secondly, the more we enjoy our own space, the more satisfied we'll be staying home in order to save money.  So, if there's something you've put off buying that will greatly improve the way your space functions organizationally, maybe it's worth using a little of that bonus money to take care of it.

8.  Home Improvement Project

This is similar to the previous item.  If you've delayed funding a home improvement project, and your bonus could cover it, go for it.  Some home improvement projects could make your home worth more (if you own it).  Even if it doesn't increase your home's value, if it makes your home function significantly better, it might be worth the money.

9.  Buy Some Stock

You obviously want to wait for the price to be right, but if you've been eyeballing some stocks, or looking for an opportunity to get into the market aside from your retirement funds without disrupting your monthly budget, this could be the money to use.

10.  Pay Down Miscellaneous Debt

Maybe you don't have credit card debt, but if you have any other loans laying around, your bonus could help you to pay it down more quickly.  Think:  car loans, student loans, personal loans, etc.

What am I doing with my bonus?  I am putting it into our holiday savings account, which we will use for our annual pajama exchange.  We also plan to buy something to improve our space with our holiday funds.  So, my bonus will hang out in savings for a couple of months, and then it will be used largely to improve our space.

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