As 2017 comes to an end, many employers will pay their employees a thirteenth month salary or a bonus in addition to the usual December salary. If you are as lucky as I am to work for such as employer, then you might be tempted to enjoy life to the fullest this December; after all, there are many music concerts happening this month and all your friends who ‘just got back’ want to paint the town red.
However, just because you are expecting a higher salary in December doesn't mean you should throw your budget out of the window and leave the next year to take care of itself. I think life is all about balance, so I embrace using my time and money to enjoy experiences in the present while planning and preparing for the future.
So, while you could allocate some extra money in your budget this month for enjoyment, here are five things I recommend you could also allocate some part of your ‘extra’ salary to:
1) Financial Investments
If you have been slacking on investing this year, it is not too late to remedy it. You can set aside some money to invest in equity (shares) or contribute to a mutual fund that suits your financial goals. Read through DailyKobo’s investment products log and start the year on the right foot. Time and compound interest are your best friends as a young investor so the best time to invest money was yesterday and the next best time is today. If you would like you start your investment journey, you can click here for a link that will help you do just that.
2) Starting or adding to an emergency fund
Life is unpredictable so it is good to have some money set aside for those unexpected events. For example, it took a few tries to get my car to start some days ago and I thought I had to replace my car battery. This is not something I had planned for in my budget for the month so if I did not have an emergency fund I would have been quite worried because it would have disrupted my plans.
Thankfully, at the battery shop, my car battery was tested and is apparently still good to go for a while (I am hoping the trouble starting was a fluke and I do not break down on Third Mainland bridge…LOL). I want to up my emergency funds in the new year as my goal for my emergency fund has changed. My current fund is made up of six months of living expenses and I want to improve this to three months of my take home salary. For steps on how to build an emergency fund, please click here.
‘Tis the season of giving so you should consider donating to a charitable cause, while the economic situation is not ideal and it might feel like you barely have enough for yourself, commit to contributing to a charitable cause before the year runs out. There are causes being promoted on social media to provide clothing, food and gifts to children this season so that is something you can look into. Also, many offices close for a few days at the end of the year so you can contribute this ‘bonus time’ to a charitable cause as well.
4) Investing in personal or career development
Sometimes you need to invest in yourself in order to see the changes you want in your life. If you want to step up in your career, maybe it’s time to pay to write the exams for that extra professional qualification. If you want to improve your health, maybe it’s time to hire a personal trainer or get a gym membership. While my bank account was not happy with me having to pay for classes and exams in order to join the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators of Nigeria this year, as a lawyer who provides company secretarial services, I consider it an investment in my career.
5) Starting or adding to a travel fund for 2018
This is pretty self-explanatory. This can be within or outside Nigeria. There are a few tour companies offering reasonable tour packages within and outside Nigeria. I only left Lagos State once this year and that was for a day trip to Olumo Rock in Ogun State so I really need to do better in 2018. My thirteenth month salary is a good place to start.
I recognise that travel might not be important to you so perhaps instead of a travel fund this could be a contribution to something you are passionate about but have not been able to pursue because of lack of money. It is time to start setting aside money for that passion.
Do you work for an employer that pays a thirteenth month salary/bonus at the end of the year? Are you self-employed and giving yourself an end of year bonus? What are you planning to do with this ‘extra’ money? Let us know in the comments below!