Hey, hard worker – congrats on your holiday bonus! When we hear those two words – holiday bonus – our ears perk up in delight. Our heads begin swimming and soon, we’ve mentally spent it all before the deposit even happens. A holiday bonus is basically free money, right?! But this year, let’s think about what we could really do with our newfound cash. Whether you’re rolling in the tens or the thousands, these suggestions will help you enjoy your holiday bonus to the fullest. Whichever idea you choose, take a minute to pat yourself on the back, because you earned it!
1. Break it up into 12 smaller bonuses for the coming year.
Every girl should have some mad money to play with. Rather than spending your bonus all at once, put the money away and award yourself with a little bit every month. You’ll be able to enjoy it all year!
2. Donate it.
If you didn’t factor a bonus into your monthly expenses, will you really miss it if it’s not there? Sure, it would be nice to have some extra cash, but it will feel even nicer to do something for those who need it more. Choose a favorite charity (or two or three!) and show your support.
3. Splurge on something big.
This goes against everything I just said about doing nice things for others, but sometimes you just need to pamper yourself. Need a TV for the new place? Been carrying the same purse for years? Want to get a haircut from the kind of place where you can drink hot tea and go for a steam after? That’s what a bonus is for: to recognize the hard work you put in this past year. #treatyoself
Depending on the size of your bonus, you could put in some travel time in the coming year. Since you likely aren’t locked in to certain dates and aren’t in a hurry, take your time to scope out some great airfare deals. Or, take a day/weekend getaway on the train. Bonus points if you can stay with a friend.
5. Save it.
You keep telling yourself you need to be doing a better job of saving money, and this is the perfect place to start. Instead of letting the bonus sit in your checking account, transfer it to your savings, and leave it there. It might be hard, but you’ll be glad you did.
6. Give it to a random stranger.
Go ahead. Make someone’s day.
7. Fix something that’s broken.
Is your A/C unit busted, but you’re “dealing” because you won’t need it until the summer? Have you been putting off getting a new transmission for your car? You’ve just been handed your down payment. Time to fix ‘er up!
8. Pay down a big bill.
Start 2014 in a more comfortable place by putting your bonus toward your credit card(s) balance. Or, put some extra money toward your student loans/car payment/etc. so your monthly balance comes down a bit. You’ll be glad you did in the long run.
9. Start a Fun Fund.
Put the money aside, and save it for the fun you want to have this year. Skydiving. Learning Portuguese. Running the prom-themed 5k. These fun endeavors come at a price, but if you save in advance, you can enjoy them entry fee-free.
10. Do something nice for someone else.
‘Tis the season to do nice stuff for other people. If you’re in the mood to play Santa, cash your holiday bonus and start giving. Pay for a stranger’s meal. Help a friend get home for the holidays with a Southwest gift card. You’re a regular Kris Kringle!
Bonus: Cash it, fill a bathtub with it, and roll around in it.
I’m joking… kind of. Extravagant? Extremely, but I’ve always wanted to do it. I blame Scrooge McDuck. This one’s a two-fer, because once you’re finished, you get to pick another way to save from the list and actually do something with your cash.
In reality, you can make a few of these work for you at once if you so desire. Save some, donate some, do something nice for you and for others. Find the balance that works for you. Whatever it is, enjoy it—you earned it!
Featured image via ShutterStock