While festivities run high, many find themselves utilising the added income that comes with a 13th cheque, to immediately enjoy themselves. To make the entrance into the new year smoother, the recommendation is for the year end bonus to be used smarter in ways that will reap benefits for the months to come.
Here’s how to make your year-end bonus work for you.
How to make your year-end bonus work for you
Nearly everyone looks forward to at least some of the elements of the end of each year. Usually the December season equals sunny days, more time with friends and family over the holidays and for some a 13th cheque or end of year bonus.
While festivities run high, many find themselves utilising the added income to immediately enjoy themselves. To make the entrance into the new year smoother, the recommendation is for the year end bonus to be used smarter in ways that will reap benefits for the months to come.
Start saving for a deposit on your dream home
If you are planning on applying for a bond in the next year, use your year-end bonus to start saving towards a deposit. Even if it is just 10% of your loan value, a deposit will be well worth saving towards, says Carl Coetzee, CEO of BetterBond. “It plays a crucial role in a bank’s decision on whether to approve or decline a bond. Having a deposit could also help you secure a better interest rate, as banks look more favourably at applicants who appear to be less of a risk.”
Furthermore, a deposit signals to the seller that you are a serious buyer, and you are more likely to have your offer to purchase accepted. Being able to contribute to your bond from the get-go will also help reduce your monthly bond repayments and lower the amount of interest you will end up paying over the bond repayment period, says Coetzee.
Explore your own continent
While many travellers aim their Christmas bonus towards a trip overseas, an alternative – which will still give you that “international feel” but cost far less! – is to explore our own continent, Africa. Africa has so many incredible countries to visit, with fascinating histories, cultural treasures, intriguing foods, and diverse people – it is well worth considering a trip to Mauritius, Zimbabwe, Egypt, Mozambique, or many of the other countries that the continent has to offer.
To give you an idea of the cost savings you could enjoy, data from travel search engine Cheapflights.co.za shows that an average return economy flight to London in the UK is around R13,579, while the same type of flight to Mauritius is around R10,551. A round trip to Dubai could cost you about R9,883, while the equivalent to Harare in Zimbabwe is around R4,653. And jetting off to Phuket in Thailand is around R12,140, while the same to Maputo in Mozambique is around R5,772.
Treat yourself to a self care experience
As the saying goes, ‘self-care, should always be scheduled in advance’ not when you desperately need it, like at the end of a busy year. Every end of year break or vacation, should include a massage, treatment or facial. “Look out for end of year deals or specials on popular discount websites and perhaps consider booking a set of three or a massage package. This will help to ensure that you’ve booked in something towards your self care for the year ahead.” comments Yusuf Jinoo, Head Concierge at Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront
Put it towards bucket-list activities
Upnup’s Ricki Allardice comments that “Ultimately, holidays should be something we look forward to, rather than another anxiety point in our already stressful lives. Remember that sensible saving habits can go a long way toward ensuring that’s the case.”
“For example, for those of us looking to plan for international or big local family holidays a few years into the future, perhaps combining the approach of saving with innovation and technology could help us. Opting to stay local these holidays and continuing to save for an out-of-country trip in the future meant that you did not have to compromise on your next holiday,” says Allardice
Put it towards a GOAT
Not the animal, although for some that might be a thing. Rather, Greatest Of All Trips. Plan that bucket-list holiday that you have been wanting to do for quite some time. If you’re looking to do a big local trip, consider popular local destinations such as Sun City or the Kruger National Park.
Destinations such as these offer locals the opportunity to really get to know the best that their country has to offer. If yoú’re keen on a Kruger stay, consider a hotel such as Kruger Gate. With stunning rooms, a pool that overlooks a Kruger Park watering hole, a spa and dining options to suit the whole family, it is a destination within itself.
Plan for tax savings in the year ahead
Starting a tax-free savings account, donating and input into retirement annuities are all things that can contribute to tax deductions. Taxpayers can then claim for these tax deductions when filing their tax returns and potentially save money.
Using a year-end bonus to make these contributions means that your December salary is not impacted and you are putting something towards good causes including helping others and making an investment towards your retirement, future savings goals and your general future.