Oooops! Where did my Christmas Bonus Go?

“Ber” months is the most exciting season of all! Right?

Coz “Ber” months is the season where most money come pouring in our bank accounts — name it, 13th month pay, mid-year bonus, year-end bonus, Christmas bonus, even tax rebate! Add to that your salary coz during December, you get paid even on a holiday!

Merry Christmas!
Merry Christmas!

I know how it feels man! The excitement of seeing the double to triple digits in your bank account come bonus day is enough to make someone jump in the air with matching fist pump!

But, “Ber” months is also “BARE” months.

Financially speaking, this is the season where most people end up with BARE pockets and wallets as the money they receive at this time of the season is used to pay off existing loans or debts accumulated earlier in the year.

This is also the season where we see the flashing SALE sign every where we go and the temptation to buy an item just because we CAN buy it without ever thinking about the NEED for it. In other words, we liked buying on IMPULSE at this time of the year coz it’s so much easier to pull out money from our pockets during bonus season.

Undeniably, we Filipinos (including I) are used to the habit of spending beyond our means every time we get a higher than expected paycheck. The practice of spending a lot at the earlier months of the year and acquiring debts to pay off once we receive bigger funds during the “Ber” months has become a never-ending cycle of living on two numbers — 15th and 30th or 10th and 25th in order to get by.

Since we are blinded by the amount of income that we will be receiving at the end of the year and our mind is set to receive a larger than usual lump sum, we tend to spend as much as what we expect to earn. By the following year, we end up again being broke. And the cycle goes on.

How do we break the BROKE cycle? 

The first step to CHANGE is always AWARENESS. 

Be aware of your spending habits. Know your monthly expense by tracking it down so you wont acquire debts to pay off come “Ber” months so your bonus doesn’t go to paying off liabilities. There are a lot of mobile expense tracker apps that you can download. Try planning on a budget so in that way, you avoid spending above your means.

Change your mindset. 

The more that you think that you’ll receive a huge sum of bonus is a dangerous mindset coz the next thing you know, you’ll more likely end up asking where your money went for you FAILED to PLAN how you’ll be spending it. Think about how to spend it wisely.

PLAN -> INVEST -> SAVE

People fail when they fail to plan so PLAN where you’ll be putting your money. Get into the habit of setting aside a portion of your income to put into money generating investments to multiply your income and set a side a portion of withdrawal amounts for “emergency funds.” Remember this, an investment is never an ASSET if it doesn’t put money in your pocket. It is called a LIABILITY if it just takes out money from your pocket. Clearly, the latest gadget is not considered an asset investment.

So this Christmas, spend your money wisely and know where to “deposit” it. The wise choices we make today will dictate the kind of life that we’ll live in the future. I’m pretty sure you wouldn’t want to wake up on Christmas day saying “Oops! Where did my Christmas Bonus go?”

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