The holidays make a lot of us giddy. There’s a lot to look forward to, from good conversations with our family members to all the great food. Gifts don’t hurt, either, even though they’re not as big a deal as they were when we were kids. One of the best gifts we can get is a holiday bonus from work. Not everyone who works in an office is lucky enough to get one, but those who do need to decide how to spend it. Should they be responsible with it, or should they go out and party?
The case for saving
Look ahead at the next year and try to anticipate any major expenses. How are your taxes looking? If you’re looking at a big tax bill, it’s a good idea to put back some of your bonus; you’ll need it to pay the IRS in the spring. No one likes paying taxes, but they’re part of being a contributing member of society. You may be able to get on a payment plan for a large tax bill, but it’s better to pay as much of it as possible as soon as possible. Then it won’t be hanging out in your brain and causing you to worry. If your taxes are complicated enough, it’s also worth considering putting some of your cash into a fund that will help you hire a good team of tax accountants.
There are other things outside of taxes to consider as well. If you and your partner are about to welcome a new family member into the household, that holiday bonus can be used for all sorts of things that seem to come up either right before or right after the baby is born. The whole experiencing of delivering a baby is costly even with decent health insurance, and it’s good to be prepared for unexpected charges on your hospital bill.
The case for spending
2017 has been a rough and uncertain year for a lot of people. There have been many days when it’s hard to find a silver lining, so it’s understandable if you want to say that life is short, and therefore you’re going to have a good time with the money while you still can. Fun is good for the soul, even if it’s not always good for the bank account. A weekend at a casino in Oregon can be quite invigorating, as long as you go into it with reasonable expectations. You probably won’t win a million-dollar jackpot, but you’re still spending money on entertainment. You’ll be fine as long as you know your limits before you go, and then stick to said limits.
If now’s a bad time to try and get away, then take a trip to the movies and go crazy at the concession stand, or head to the bookstore and buy every single book your favorite author has ever written. The point of spending your bonus right away is to do something that’s outside of your normal routine. Money isn’t the only way to get out of a rut, but it certainly doesn’t hurt.