The festive season is here and so is that time of the year when you receive your annual bonus at work. This extra inflow of amount for the year-round hard work has great potential to be used efficiently.
It does not matter how big or small the bonus is, with good planning, you can make the most of the money. Planning with an emphasis on important financial goals is important.
Here are some ideas:
1. Pay off some of your debt
Receiving lump sum amount at any occasion, be it Diwali bonus or the corpus received on maturity of a scheme you invested in, should be used to pay off your debts. These debts include any long-term loans that you may have borrowed like a home loan. With the amount received, you could pre-pay a part of your home loan, to reduce the EMI burden or reduce the tenure of the loan.
You can also use this amount to full pay-off your credit card bills, personal loans, etc.
2. Invest it on long-term plans
Be it your retirement or your child's education, it is never too early to set aside additional earnings for a better future. If you plan early, you can place money in good return yielding instruments like mutual funds or PPF to work the power of compounding.
If you are not in need of funds for the near future or for an urgent need you could even try some riskier instruments like stocks to try and make higher gains in the long-term. Note that if you choose to invest in equity, pick stocks that are safer and have given investors consistent rewards in the past. It is important to do your research.
If you don't have an emergency fund, start one with the bonus amount or increase/refill the existing balance in the fund.
3. Invest in maintaining your assets
Be it the long due home repair or the need for a new battery for your car, you could use your Diwali bonus to make that large expense. If you have been planning to purchase a TV or furniture for your house, it would a good time to buy it during the ongoing Diwali offer season in retail stores.
4. Treat your family
The year-round hard work you do will mean nothing if you cannot purchase gifts for your family. Be it a gadget or a mini-vacation that your family wants to take, you could use your bonus to spend quality time with your loved ones.
You can also plan for a holiday a few months ahead, if not immediate, to save more with advance planning.
Try not to splurge all the money and set aside a good amount to make investments towards your financial goals.
5. Make some advance payments
Make some advance payments on your monthly expenses wherever you can, to save on overall cost. You could purchase the annual pack on your TV cable, internet subscription, gym membership etc., to avail discounts.
After you have met your needs, it could be part of your good deed and celebration this festive season to donate to a charity you support. You can also avail tax benefits on donations made to certified institutions under section 80G of the Income Tax Act.