Five Smart Ways to Spend Your Christmas Bonus

It’s that wonderful time of the year again when employees look forward to their big, fat Christmas bonus like kids look forward to their requested gift from Santa. Of course, the impulse to splurge on gifts and clothes and go shopping like crazy is strong with everyone. It won’t be a surprise to know that some people even spend their Christmas bonus even before they receive it! Yes, some people think of this as rewarding themselves with an extra early Christmas gift. But it wouldn’t hurt to make sure that your Christmas bonus goes someplace worthwhile. Here are some suggestions you might want to consider in budgeting and allocating your hard-earned well deserved Christmas bonus. Think very hard about where to spend it on. After all, it comes only once a year.

1. Invest in experiences. Do something different. Use your bonus to travel someplace you haven’t been to, or activities you’ve been dying to try. Like a weekend retreat, or a solo backpacking experience. Experience the world and what it has to offer.

2. Invest in education. Learn a new skill over the weekend. Have you always wanted to learn how to sew or how to apply makeup on other people? Then take short courses that will teach you these skills. Have you been wanting to learn how to invest and manage your personal finance? Check out seminars and workshops which aim to teach you the basics of personal finance and how you can make the most of your money. Or when was the last time you picked up something nice to read? Grab a book from your nearest bookstores or buy a second hand one from thrift shops. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

3. Invest in good deeds. Expect well ahead that this investment might not give you any tangible return, or anything that you might be able to use, but something far more important. Giving to someone in need gives you peace and a sense of fulfillment. It’s when you give without expecting that you truly become rich. Enrich your soul by lending a helping hand to those who might not have a Christmas because of how the typhoon devastated their homes and lives. If you have extra time, you might want to volunteer as well and do something as simple as listening to their story and being a beacon of hope for these victims. Instead of spending an extravagant Christmas party at home, you might want to extend your blessings to kids living in orphanages, or street children taken in by NGOs. It’s putting your money, time, and effort, where it’s meaningful to someone else other than yourself.

Photo from Anyare News

4. Invest your money where it will make more money for you. Buying the newest gadget will ensure that your Php 25,000 will be half its value in less than a year’s time. However, putting your money in an investment vehicle which will help you get the best returns (more than the 0.25% per annum that banks offer) ensures that you have something for the future: your child’s education, funds for a new house or car, or even something sufficient for your retirement. But before jumping into any investment schemes, consult with a Financial advisor, someone who knows his/her way around the good, the bad, and the ugly investments, to help you determine the best investment for yourself.

5. Lastly, invest in things that last. I’m a girl, so I know that it’s difficult to NOT splurge during this time of the year. BUT, if you must really splurge and none of the above suggestions worked out for you, buy items that are durable and practical. Don’t just rush to the cashier for a pair of pink boots that you’ll never use more than once. Or a bag that looks great but doesn’t look like it could last a month. Make sure to buy things that can last you at least a year, and up to three to five years. Is it more practical to buy a Php 300 “Class A” pair of shoes from Divisoria that doesn’t look as durable and withstanding as a pair of a branded rubber shoes worth Php 1200? Of course, consider this when buying gifts for friends and relatives. It’s the sale season too, so most of the good stuff are being sold at discounted prices.

Gusto mo ba ng Canvers? Malakas ba makasosyal yan?

Don’t just mindlessly throw away your money. Always look at purchases as investments, and focus on buying the ones that will give you a better return. With much though on how to spend it, your money can be a tool to help other people, and help yourself as well.-HANA

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