These days, finding yourself with extra money by the end of the month is a surprising thing, with the current economic situation, high cost of goods, and limited employment opportunities. This is why I always make sure to make the most of my leftover cash from my monthly allocation.
Now I understand that it can be difficult to decide where to put your hard-earned money at the end of the month. I can suggest that you put it to good use by following these ten tips that can help you maximize the potential of your excess cash.
For many people, especially those who have been scrimping their budget throughout the month, one of the first things that come to mind is to treat themselves, which is a valid option, in my opinion. You have been working hard, so why not get yourself some nice things?
I, for one, would be getting a delicious meal from my favorite restaurant so that I can have a taste of the finer things the culinary world has to offer. This option can be guilt-free, especially if I keep in mind that food is an essential need, and there is no shame in treating myself to some delightful food.
Some days, I would go for a pampering experience, such as a day at the spa. I would get all kinds of massages, within budget, of course.
A movie night would also be nice, particularly for film buffs. I can do a lot of things to reward myself, as long as I get to relax and unwind.
Funnel It To Your Travel Funds
As we spend our time working at a minimum of 40 hours per week, it is reasonable to look for some downtime. Going on a vacation to a local or foreign destination is the ultimate getaway for many people, but it comes at a cost. My tip is to always take into account all expenses, including transport and food.
While others choose to get personal loans for their vacations, it is smarter to squirrel away your extra money into a travel fund. This way, I am not spending my savings for my vacation and instead use a fund dedicated for this very purpose.
The same principle can be applied to parties and gifts. My hard-earned money may be precious, but people who matter are precious, as well.
This is why I spare a few extra bucks every month for birthdays, anniversaries, and other occasions, so I can get them a gift without dipping them into my savings.
Use It As A Safety Net The Next Month
Say, I already allotted an amount for personal rewards and travel savings in my monthly budget. If I feel that I have everything covered for the remaining days of the month, I can let it go into my budget for the next month.
Whenever this happens, I find myself stressing less about meeting my needs for the following month, especially as I have a few bucks to spare. Plus, I mostly have more money left over, which I can use for other purposes. In short, this practice can be the gift that keeps on giving.
However, if I do this, I need to remind myself that just because I added some dollars to my monthly budget does not mean that I can overspend. I can still use the proper amount on wants and add a few more for my basic needs such as food, clothing, shelter, utilities, and others.
Apply For A High-Interest Savings Account
If I feel secure about my expenses for the month, I can keep them in my bank. However, not all bank accounts are equal. Most offer extremely low-interest rates, which means that my money is going stagnant and just sitting there waiting for me to withdraw it.
What I would do is look for a bank that offers high interest for my money. This way, I can rest assured that my extra money is earning a few bucks every month.
However, I must remind you that even with a bank account considered to have high-interest rates, your money is bound to earn only a few dollars.
Set It Aside For A Vehicle
Those who want to make sure that they put their money to good use and benefit from it in the process can use the money to buy something that can provide returns on investment. A vehicle is the perfect example of this. I may be spending money, but it goes to something that offers convenience.
I have been commuting to and from work, which means that I spend a lot of time on the road to my work and again on my way home. When I consider the time and energy I spend on my commute, it can be as valuable as the money I would spend on a car and gas.
Think of the car as an investment. One pro tip I can give is to get a practical vehicle, one that is efficient on gas and energy while offering safety and protection on the road.
Getting our dream car can be put off for the future but saving our time and energy by driving is a more immediate and attainable car.
Give Back To Your Community
Another way to maximize the value of extra cash is to give it back to the community. My local homeless shelter is always in need of supplies to take care of underserviced members of my community. The same thing is true with food pantries and soup kitchens.
A few times a year, I give some extra money for causes I believe in by getting in touch with organizations to enquire how I can use my cash to help. Some may need monetary donations, while others may require donations in kind. Nevertheless, this is a worthy option.
Should I find myself having spare time, I can also volunteer in facilities like these. Many people say that time is money, and volunteering is a great way to donate some.
Build An Emergency Fund
For those who need to secure their future, an emergency fund is the best way to go. We cannot foresee emergency situations with our current public health situations and other external perils. I prepare for these by building an emergency fund using my leftover cash.
Such a fund can cover me in case of unforeseen medical expenses. I can also dip into this fund when one of my essential appliances breaks down. Home repairs, car fixes, and other types of issues can also fall under emergencies.
One of the most unpredictable things right now is employment. With an emergency fund that can cover my expenses for at least three months, I have some money to spend as I look for a new job should I be laid off from my current employment, reducing my finance woes.
Invest In Yourself
In line with the topic of looking for new jobs for any reason, it is always a smart idea to invest in yourself every few months or so. By investing in ourselves, we mean acquire skills we are interested in, getting a refresher on certifications, or just enrolling in classes for our hobbies.
I find this a great way to achieve a work-life balance. If I use a huge chunk of my time, energy, and brainpower for work, I find it comforting that I am also willing and able to spend even just a part of those assets for my personal growth, passion, and enjoyment.
In turn, getting new skills, specializing in a hobby, polishing talents, and simply learning new things can cost all of our leftover money, but it can also play a huge role in snagging a better-paying job or getting the job of our dreams.
Repay Your Debts
The concept of financial freedom is more than just having the money to spend for our needs and wants, but also being free of debt. The first step towards this is to repay debts, whether from a personal loan, student loan, credit cards, or any credit line.
Now it is only responsible to factor in debt repayments when budgeting for the month. However, using leftover money to make additional repayments can help me pay off my debt sooner.
Once I pay off all my debts, I can easily adjust my monthly budget to use the portion I used to allocate toward debt repayment for other things such as my emergency fund, travel fund, and savings.
Find Worthy Investments
Lastly, I find it important to make sure that my money is helping me make more money. The best way to do it is to invest in assets. Assets are anything that has monetary value and has the potential to make more money.
I suggest looking for investments that fit your skills and interest. I will not want to enter cryptocurrency if I am in no way interested in learning how it works. In the same way, I should enter stock trading if I am a risk-taker who likes energetic and fast-paced environments.
The key is to look for something that you would be interested in spending your spare time and money on. Whether it is starting a business, purchasing a rig for crypto mining, getting a capable laptop for side gigs, the important thing is that you are willing and able to invest in it.
The Bottom Line
Knowing how to handle leftover money can be the difference between being wise and being not-so-wise. With these financial tips, we can make the most out of spare change, helping us build a more secure future for ourselves.