It's that time of the year again, when you feel larger than life in anticipation of your year-end bonus. Suddenly you're excited about so many things—where to eat, what to buy, and you're probably already booking 2019 trips like it's nobody's business.
Before you get carried away, here's a reality check: The possibilities may seem endless, but your bonus is not. Instead of making the same mistake as last year, think long and hard about where your 13th month pay should go. It doesn't mean that you're not allowed to have fun, but as with anything, you have to consider your long-term goals before making major decisions.
To get you started on the path to smart spending, here are places to invest your 13th month pay based on your priorities for 2019:
Goal: True independence
Your credit card debt
Before thinking of what to buy, review your financial status first. If you have unpaid credit card debt, make sure to tick that off your list before spending on anything else. Because while you're not obligated to pay more than the minimum amount due, your debt increases every month because of accumulated interest. Another potential hassle? If you're trying to get approved for loans, having bad credit history will definitely affect your chances.
Your house fund
Do you think it's time for you to own your first piece of real estate? While your 13th month pay may not be enough for a downpayment, it'll definitely help jumpstart your savings for one—and it'll also help you commit to it mentally. FN TIP: To make sure you don't spend the cash, open a separate bank account just for your savings.
TRY: Robinsons Residences
Goal: Prioritizing your health
A nutritional assesment
Whether it's weight loss, weight gain or just proper nutrition that you're after, getting the opinion of an expert will help you do right by your body.
TRY: Food Intolerance Test, LifeScience in Bonifacio Global City
A year-long fitness membership program
Exercise isn't just about increasing your life span, it's also about improving the quality of your everyday life. And while there are people who have the discipline to work out at home, it's okay to admit if you need someone to motivate you along the way.
TRY: One Life Studio's Personal Training Sessions
Dental and medical procedures you've been putting off
You shouldn't wait until something goes horribly wrong before you prioritize your health. Whether it's a root canal, wisdom tooth extraction, or maybe even knee surgery, doing it over the holidays can also lessen the SLs you'll have to file in the year to come.
Goal: Career growth
A short course relevant to your chosen field
If you're on the fence about going back to school for an M.B.A. or Ph.D., maybe taking a short course first can help you decide. Another advantage is you get to widen your network and meet a lot of like-minded, goal-oriented professionals. You've got nothing to lose especially if you're looking to beef up your resume.
Aside from increasing job prospects, being bilingual can also help you get paid more in some industries. It's also helpful if you're hoping to move abroad eventually, or if you're aiming for a successful career in a multinational company. Even if you're busy, you can squeeze them in on weekends as a lot of languange school offer flexible schedules.
Goal: Confidence Boosting
A new wardrobe
New year, new me, new wardrobe? As a feature on GQ notes, "Simply put: It does matter what you wear to work. Not only is your confidence effected by your clothes, but people make snap judgments about your abilities based on what you’re wearing."
TRY: Marks and Spencer (FN TIP: They have a great selection of office-friendly pieces. They even made it to our annual 30 for 30 list!)
An expensive beauty treatment
Beauty takes time, but if you don't have a lot to spare, might as well invest in a beauty treatment that will save you a lot of prep time in the morning.
TRY: Microblading, Ron Peña - PhiBrows Artist, P25,000 - 28,000
Goal: Get out of your comfort zone
Your first solo trip abroad
It's been said a million times over that millennials value experience more than owning things, and while the idea may be a little controversial, it's definitely not wrong. You can gain a lot of insight and valuable learnings from travel, and one way to take it to the next level is by flying solo.
TRY: New York (Here's a seven-day itinerary to get you started.)
A first-time package for a new hobby
There's no harm in trying something new once in a while. Aside from rediscovering yourself, picking up a new hobby can also lead you to a new career or alter your current lifestyle in a fruitful way.
If you're scared of traffic and don't want to leave the house, you can always start something online.
Goal: Grow your wealth
An insurance plan
While paying for an insurance plan may not be as exciting as a roundtrip ticket to South Korea, your future self will thank you for making life easier (and more stable).
TRY: Manulife Insurance Plan
You don't need a huge capital to get your business up and running. If you need to get inspired, one Pinay shares she only shelled out P1,000 worth of capital for her leche flan business, which has since earned her her first million.
Alternatively, you can look for a partner you trust, pool your funds funds together, and invest in a franchise. There are a few with franchise fees below P100,000 if you're working on a tight budget.