Every once in a while you may be pleasantly surprised to find some extra money left in your budget. Maybe you didn’t use the air conditioner as much, or you didn’t spend as much on gas. Whatever the reason, when you come by this unexpected luxury, the first instinct is to spend it all on something enjoyable. Well, why not? There’s nothing stopping you from treating yourself occasionally. But don’t forget, there are smarter ways to use that extra money in your budget. So before you decide to use up all that cash, consider some of these options.
5 Smart Ways to Use the Extra Money in Your Budget
- Save. Saving money is not easy. But it’s a prerequisite for good financial health. And the most important type of saving you should have is an emergency fund. Try to put money into the emergency fund as often as possible. An emergency fund prepares you for emergencies, sudden expenses and other unexpected changes. It’s always a good idea to direct any extra money you have in your budget towards your emergency fund.
- Invest. One of the best things you could do with the cash left in your budget each month is to invest it in retirement savings. If you are already putting money into your 401(k) or IRA account, beef up your contribution. Consider setting up automatic payments so that your account will continue to grow with time.
- Pay down/Pay off high-interest debts. Debts weigh you down and strain your financial health. If you have an outstanding credit card balance, a personal loan, or a car loan, you can use the extra money from your budget to pay some of it off. This can significantly reduce your financial burden and help you get rid of loans sooner. Even if you are unable to pay off the debt entirely, you will be able to save a considerable amount in interest.
- Invest in self-betterment. Use the extra money to further your education. You can enroll yourself in a good course that complements your job, or attend a business conference. You could also use the money to improve your health. Consider getting a gym membership, or paying for yoga or aerobics classes.
- Treat yourself. There’s nothing wrong with spending that extra money from your budget on some joyful moments. Especially if you’ve been cutting down expenses and saving enough every month, it may be time to take a break. Opt for a small vacation or a weekend retreat to rejuvenate your mind and body.
It’s always hard to decide where to put extra money that comes from a bonus or from your monthly budget. While there may be a temptation to go on a shopping spree or spend it all on something exciting, make sure you consider what would benefit you the most in the long run. Keep your financial future in mind and decide which of these options makes the most sense.