It’s that time of the year again when many South Africans eagerly await their end of year bonus…well…the lucky few that are destined to get one this year that is.
While the idea of having extra cash to spend over the holidays is often an terrifically excitable idea, it’s extremely important to remember that the period from receiving your December salary until January’s pay cheque is a very long wait.
This “wait” has the potential to be a very stressful time; especially if you spend recklessly, and let’s be honest…most of us have done this one time or another in our lives so you know about the “wait”.
People can sometimes lose clarity, reason and accountability when receiving their “thirteenth cheque”, on top of their standard income. Who hasn’t sat plotting on the ways you’re going to spend that money, and often with wasteful ideas I might add. While this is super exciting for anyone who has been working hard all year round; a bonus can do some impressive things for you if you put some thought into it, and go a lot further than you think.
You can use your bonus constructively beyond the festive period if the correct approach is taken people.
We have some advice for you that will ensure that your year-end bonus is fully utilized:
Planning is vital
When you’re sure that you will be receiving a bonus, it is vital to draw up a spending plan or budget of how it will be used before wantonly spending it with no real purpose. Having a spending plan will enable you to work out exactly where the money will go. Such as Christmas gifts, festive activities, holiday trips or depositing it into a savings facility.
Budgeting provides a sense of direction
This allows you to assign where your extra spending will go, at the same time you will also be able to keep track of your spending habits, to make sure that you don’t over compensate funds and burn through your extra cash faster than intended. IT’S IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER, that this will be the last pay cheque you will be receiving from your employer until the month end of January.
So it’s a good idea to keep some money aside to cover expenses during your “wait” for the next pay cheque.
Your bonus can go towards your debt
Most individuals have some form of debt, or should I say credit facility access, be it a store account or a small credit card balance.
Since your December salary can most likely double your usual monthly salary, paying off some of the debt or settling a small account here and there that you have accumulated over the year, is a great way to alleviate financial stress going into the New Year. Don’t get me wrong! What I’m saying is that it doesn’t have to eat away at your entire bonus, leave yourself something to enjoy your worked hard for it, but even just a small portion can be used to pay off some – if not all – of your debt. Trust me there is no better feeling than knowing your don’t owe anyone money.
Most importantly and Listen to me now: “DON’T USE CREDIT FACILITIES TO CREATE DEBT THIS DECEMBER!!!”
Investing in the bigger picture
If you’re not going away over the festive period, and you don’t have debt that you feel needs your immediate attention, then an excellent way to utilize your year-of-end bonus is to invest in the long term picture. Whether it is investing in your children’s education, the cost of such is no laughing matter these days, or pumping some funds into your own retirement plan, there is a sense of peace of mind when your future is a little more secure.