Wise things to do with your end-of-year bonus
The festive season has officially arrived with all its glittering
decorations and Christmas tunes. For many homeowners around the
country, that means some serious spending is just around the corner.
Those of us lucky enough to get end-of-year bonuses may have already
earmarked them for gift giving and seasonal festivities, but there
could be an even more rewarding way to put our hard-earned money to
"It's so easy to get caught up in the holiday madness and wake up in
January with a bank account emptier than the Grinch's Christmas
stocking," says Tony Clarke, MD of the Rawson Property Group. "After
a long, hard year, we need to let loose a little, and nobody expects
monk-like behaviour over December, but a little bit of awareness and
future planning can make those pay cheques go so much further."
1. Give yourself the gift of financial freedom
One of the easiest ways to increase the impact of your end-of-year
bonus as a homeowner is to put that extra money straight into your
bond. Sure, it doesn't sound very festive, but it can literally
increase the value of that money by as much as five times. That
sounds like a pretty amazing holiday miracle, if you ask us.
"The sooner you put a lump sum into your bond, the bigger its impact,"
says Clarke, "so this is a particularly good idea for new homeowners
with a lot of time still left on their loan. For example, putting a
R10 000 bonus into a recently opened bond of R1 million can reduce the
total cost by almost R65 000. That's a lot of money to give up for a
new gadget or gift that'll be forgotten in a year's time."
Work out how much an additional payment can save you here.
2. Spoil yourself with home improvements
For those of us who can't resist treating ourselves to a little spoiling
over the holidays, Clarke suggests looking into home improvements that
deliver instant gratification and long-term value at the same time.
"With summer in full swing, it's the ideal time to think about adding a
built-in braai, or putting a pergola over your patio to create the
perfect outdoor chill spot," he says. "Improvements like this not only
enhance your lifestyle, they can also boost your resale value quite a bit
- not to mention making festive entertaining much more enjoyable for
Garden design: Build an awesome pergola for under R1 500
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As a bonus, a comfy entertainment area can make a great alternative for
watching the game with friends without having to worry about a scary bar
tab or overpriced snacks.
"Eating and drinking out over the holidays can get very pricey very quickly,"
says Clarke, "so being able to entertain at home can end up saving you a
lot down the line."
3. Plan your gifting in advance
For many of us, this time of year is less about spoiling ourselves and more
about treating our loved ones. Sadly, seasonal gifts often add up to a little
more than we were planning to spend. To help curb this tendency, Clarke
suggests putting together a clear budget for gifting, and opting for smaller,
more meaningful presents that don't necessarily come with a high price tag.
"Picking - and sticking to - a budget is really key," he says, "but that
gets a lot harder to do if you've left your shopping to the last minute.
Why not take advantage of all the end-of-year markets and sales to pick up
unique and meaningful gifts for your loved ones, and put the days of expensive
panic-buys behind you."
If you're keen to go one step further, try hand making a few present this year,
or gift personal experiences like a romantic picnic in the park. Remember,
memories last far longer than almost any other gift, and don't have to cost
an arm and a leg.
SOURCE : Property24
Author: Veda Palmer