Lucky No.13 (How to spend your 13th cheque)

by Kimberly Flanagan

We wait for it all year long, planning ahead what we’re going to do with it. Hoping that we will still receive it and we depend on it to fill the gaps that the rest of the year has left. I’m talking about that 13th cheque.

It’s important to note that your 13th cheque is not the same as your bonus. According to Benjy Porter of Legal and Tax, a 13th cheque can be expected with certainty if it is part of your employment contract while a bonus is a reward that is based on your performance and the performance of the company you work for.

However, it is easy to use them interchangeably especially because both of them mean you have a little bit of extra cash in your pocket. That difference between a bonus and a 13th cheque also means that not everyone will receive either of them. It all depends on the factors mentioned above.

It’s easy to get too excited and spend it all before you’ve even had a chance to really appreciate the magnitude of what a bonus or 13th cheque really means for you. If you work well with it, it can last you right through the three months of JanuWorry.

Planning how to spend that extra money is probably not at the top of your list during the festive season but it’s better to get the hard work out of the way and relax knowing you are sorted for the coming weeks.

There are many different ways to plan, save and spend your bonus. You simply need to find a way that works for you. I believe there are three important things you should be doing with that 13th cheque.

  • First thing is to put a portion of it aside, whether you put it in a money box under your bed or your savings account in the bank, it’s really important to take some of that extra money and keep it until you really need it.
  • After that, take some of the money from your 13th cheque or bonus, depending on which one you’re lucky enough to get, and put some of it toward any debt that you might have. Even if it’s a small amount, it might not seem like it will make a difference but it cuts your interest.
  • The next thing you should be doing with that money is plan for January. You know, just like you know the sun will rise every morning that January is a tough month and it feels like it has seven weeks. Take some of that extra money and plan ahead for the first month of the New Year, you will be glad you did. Think of investing some money and making that extra bit of cash grow.

Once you’ve sorted out those three things, buy yourself something nice and relax in the peace that you’ve taken care of your finances and debts responsibly. Living in a tough economy like the one we have in South Africa should make you wise about how to make your money work for you and not force you to work for your money.


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