The holiday season is an exciting time of year, with many of us receiving generous Christmas bonuses from our employer. But too often these bonuses can be quickly spent without a second thought and leave us feeling frustrated come the New Year.
This was exactly what happened to my friend, Anna, when she found herself in a financial bind after receiving her Christmas bonus.
Anna’s Christmas bonus was a much-awaited event but instead of giving her the financial freedom she expected, it only gave way to more expenses – and debts!
On November 15th, Anna celebrated early when she received her bonus. She could finally treat herself (and even splurge on loved ones) with something new: trading in for an upgraded phone and having dinner at a luxurious restaurant outside were some things that topped the list.
However, this generous holiday gesture quickly resulted in overspending. By the end of month all funds were gone without enough money left over to cover utility bills leaving Anna pondering, “What now?”.
I shared advice with Anna to help her get out of this sticky situation. Here’s what I suggested:
1. Assess the damage
Take a look at where your money went and what you still have left. This will help you to get an overall picture of your current financial situation.
2. Make a budget
Make a plan for the money that you do have left and the income that you’re expecting to receive. Be sure to list out all of your upcoming expenses, including your regular monthly bills as well as any other things you may need to spend on during this festive time. Consider expenses like Christmas gifts, family trips, and holiday meals.
3. Track your spending
It is important that you continue to monitor your spending and keep track of what you’re spending on each month. This will help you be more mindful of where your money is going and ensure that you don’t find yourself in the same situation next year.
When unexpected funds come in, especially during the holidays, it can be difficult to make sound financial decisions. It is important to remember that money should be used wisely and that there are three different ways to approach a bonus: save, share or splurge.
To help Anna out of her dilemma and help others in similar situations, here are 3 approaches to dealing with a holiday bonus:
The most responsible way to handle extra money is to save it. This doesn’t mean squirreling away the entire amount but saving some of it for future needs like an emergency fund or a down payment for a house. Saving part of the bonus will help ensure financial stability and security in the future.
Holidays are all about joy, gifts, and giving. Spending part of the bonus on loved ones or donating to a charity can bring you great satisfaction. This is also a good way to show appreciation for those who are close to you and make sure that everyone feels the festive cheer.
It’s okay to treat yourself too! After saving and sharing, you can use part of the bonus for a well-deserved shopping spree or an adventure holiday. This will make sure that your money is put to good use, with both practical and enjoyable benefits.
Even though Anna overspent most of her Christmas bonus, it is not too late to take control of her finances and make smart financial decisions. With the right approach, she can use the remaining funds wisely and look forward to a financially healthy new year.
Everyone makes missteps with their finances now and then, but learning the right lessons from these experiences is the key to a financially secure future.
So if you find yourself in a similar situation as Anna did this holiday season, remember to assess, budget and track your spending. Save some of the money for future needs, share with those around you, and enjoy a little splurge!
The holidays are a time for joy, but make sure that it doesn’t come with long-term debt or regret. When you receive a bonus, decide how to use it wisely. It’s all about finding the balance between enjoying the festive season and planning ahead for a secure future.
With these tips in mind, you’ll have a bright and prosperous start to the new year. Happy holidays!