What if I saved all or a good fraction of the bonuses that I received since I started working, how much would I have by now? How about you? What if you kept all or a good fraction of your bonuses, how much would that amount to now? This year, where will your bonus go?
Do you have enough to pay for a car, or a house in full cash?!
Sadly, for most people, the bonus is spent even before it becomes tangible. It is considered “good” if one can wait for it and spend it the next day.
I’ve asked my friends where their bonus goes and here are the top responses:
- latest gadgets
- pay credit card and other debts
- gifts for self, family, relatives and friends
- shopping spree
- Latest gadgets – in a few months’ time, it will relinquish it’s crown. It won’t be the “latest” one anymore. Plus, how many new features does it really have that you actually need?
- Pay credit card and other debts – now this one is tricky, as utility bills and groceries could be here, however often these also cover wants – like clothes, expensive shoes, brand new designer bag, etc. You get the picture.
- Gifts for self, family, relatives and friends – can’t do without it. I understand, and as ‘gift’ is among my love languages, I cannot help but give gifts to family, relatives and friends. I don’t see it as being materialistic rather, an expression of thoughtfulness. Perhaps many of you are like me in that aspect. However, a budget has to be drafted so as not to go overboard. I think that these days, gifts have to be practical and useful so that the value of your money is maximized. I’m not saying buy cheap gifts, no, only balance your budget.
- Travel – I am not so much of a travel junkie, but I get it. I travel vicariously through other people’s blogs, such as that of Jonathan Morales’ www.aux1traveler.com. There are several travel and lifestyle blogs you can check out, not just for vicarious experience but because they give you tips that will help you pick-out the places you really want to visit and make the most out of. Money well spent. Travel is important to explore our world, to make new memories and especially for kids, for experiential learning – the best type of learning. Again, without year-on-year busting all your bonus for travel. Plus, there are a lot of great deals nowadays, you just have to search them.
- Shopping spree – needs vs. wants. In case you haven’t read this yet, please feel free to visit Three Practical Financial Lessons You Need Now. Shop moderately.
In case you haven’t burned all your bonus yet, here are my recommendations.
You know, your bonus won’t complain if you just kept it there. You can transfer it to another bank account that’s dedicated for savings in case you have it. Then, forget all about it. You will be surprised how it grows. If you are a shopaholic like myself a few years ago, it will be difficult at first. But trust me, a little discipline and distraction will help. Good distractions include work, house chores, a goal in mind (meaning an amount you need to raise) and hobbies (hobbies that don’t entail any further purchasing).
Saving your money in your coin bank will not help it grow. Saving your money in the bank will only give you minimal interest (minus their charges) but still a good option. If you want to have potential passive income, invest your money. You can invest in the stock market. Banks now have investment options, too. They have representatives to guide you. You can also invest in financial products. There are several financial planners out there. Almost every day, I get an invite from a financial advisor via LinkedIn. However, I already have a Sunlife financial advisor and no this is not a paid post. Anyhow, for sure one or a hundred will reach out to you. Listen to what they have to offer, if you have the time and money, which I am sure many of you “make”. If you are hesitant, go to those who already built credibility among your friends or those who have online presence with thousand of followers such as The Smart Peso.
You know what they say that when you give, it comes back a hundred fold? It is true. But I hope you won’t give in order to get a hundred fold, that would defeat the purpose. Anyhow, many people have far greater need and when you can help, please don’t hesitate to do so. There are several organizations like the UNICEF, Greenpeace, Save the Children, Red Cross. Several options to help – you can set-up a recurring donation, or volunteer your time and energy. You can even set-up your own charity event.
Needs – Present and Future
Like children’s education or mortgage. These are “needs”which should be paid first before any of the “wants”. Future needs would include your child’s college education, keeping money for car and house. If you are one who can’t seem to put away money and leave it there, contact a financial advisor, they can help you force-keep money for these purposes. In a good way and for a good cause. That way you almost won’t feel you are already saving money for your toddler’s college fund. I know you probably are thinking of what happened to the CAP. Choose flexible plans that you can also withdraw as needed.
This keeps the spirit of the season alive. Continuity of the traditions. It teaches children the values of generosity and thoughtfulness. Just don’t spend 100% of your bonus here.
In case you fell into the habit of going all-out in the past years, it’s never too late to start managing your finances well. You can start now and reap the rewards years from today. Even if you have a stable, good paying career, you still need to ensure you have enough money in the bank.