It could be extra cash, a food hamper or even a frozen turkey, but the important thing is to make sure you put your Christmas bonus to good use.
Are you entitled to a Christmas bonus?
Whether or not you are entitled to a Christmas bonus depends on your company. Some organisations will give their staff a bonus dependent on their performance; others will receive a bonus based on the company’s end-of-year profits. If you do receive a bonus, it will go on top of your salary and therefore you will have to pay tax on it. The amount of tax you have to pay will depend on your salary.
What should you spend your bonus on?
This is entirely up to you, but given the fact you’ve been paid your bonus just before Christmas, it might help to ease the pressure on those festive finances. Alternatively, you could set it aside and use some, or all of it, to get you through January – especially if your final pay before Christmas has to last five weeks!
If you have payments that need to be made on buy now, pay later schemes, this bonus could also help put a dent in those. And although the mortgage may be the more sensible option, make sure you spend a little bit of the bonus on yourself. After all, you’ve worked all year for it!
Investing your bonus
Rather than spending your bonus all at once, you may wish to invest it for 2012. If you’re planning a summer holiday, you could put it in a short-term deposit account and earn higher interest on it. As it’s money that you didn’t expect to have, another option could be to put it directly into your savings account. Or, depending on how organised you are, you could always put it away for Christmas next year!
If you don’t get a monetary bonus from your employer, you may find you get a Christmas gift instead. If this isn’t what you had hoped for, don’t despair – you can still use it to your (financial) advantage. If your employer gives you a gourmet food hamper, you could divide the items up and turn them into presents for your foodie friends. Or if you get another present of value, sell it on eBay (unless it’s something you really want!)
You may not receive a cheque in the post, but you could find a turkey sitting on your desk – well vouchers for one at least. If your Christmas bonus comes in the form of a frozen bird, you can make great use of it. Turkeys are often the centrepiece of your Christmas dinner table and can be an expensive item on your Christmas food bill, so getting one as a bonus will be a big saving!