5 Fun Things to do with your 13th Month Pay That Your Future Self Will Thank You For

I’m sure that you think you don’t need help deciding what to do with your 13th month pay.

Spending it seems so natural.

Isn’t that what a bonus is? Free money that you can do with as you wish? A chance to enjoy the holidays?

Yes, those are all true.

However, why not give the future you a reason to look back and give your present self a big hug.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Get skills for a side-gig with Udemy

Nowadays, it is getting really easy to earn extra money as a freelancer, while keeping your day job.

Find out what you love doing and up your skills in that area. Udemy has thousands of courses you can take --- from learning how to make Youtube videos to Instagram marketing.

The advantage is that you can do it in your own time, at your own pace.

Cost: from USD 35 - USD 200. However, they frequently have special deals and could get them for as low as USD 12. Costs are a one-time fee and you have lifetime access to the material. 

2. Boost your CV with a Cool Degree from Udacity

Compared to Udemy, this platform specializes in tech courses or what they call ‘nanodegrees’. So, if you want to learn how to program a self-driving car, Udacity’s got your back.

If the course you chose turns out to be free, you can spend that money on cups of coffee for the duration of the program (since you will likely be burning the midnight oil). Not that you will have trouble staying awake, as their professors are physicists and engineers from MIT and Stanford who make it a point to explain complex subjects really simply and fun.

Alternatively, if your internet at home is patchy, you can allocate some money into increasing your internet quota for that period (unlimited, ideally). The video-heavy courses do require a pretty stable internet connectivity.  

3. Upgrade or get a new laptop

Starting a side hustle may need specific equipment or software. To be fair to your day job, it is better to have your own computer for freelance work.

These laptops under Php 25,000 may be just what you need.

4. Set-up a travel fund

Always thought that the only way to travel is to put it on your credit card then worry about paying it off later?

There is actually a way to enjoy that vacay without the post-holiday stress. And that is to save for it first!

You may put the money in a savings account, which will really not do anything for your money (except shrink it with bank charges).

Alternatively, you can invest it … yes invest it.

Since this is a short-term goal ie., less than a year, the types of investments that would work well are those that have lower risk and at the same time allow you to get the funds anytime you need it (without penalties). A money market fund is one example.

This link on the basics of investing is a useful start.

Cost: Php 5,000 initial investment, Php 1,000 for subsequent investments on the same fund. This Php 5,000 is not a membership or entrance fee. You can use this entire amount to buy the mutual fund of your choice.  

5. Start saving for retirement

There is nothing more fun than being able to retire early. So no, your 20s is not too early to start saving for this. It just means that you get to save much less than if you were to start in your 30s or 40s.

The first thing is to set aside this amount and keep it separate from your ‘spending account’. Because if you are anything like a normal person, then you will forget that it is for your retirement and, on an emotionally bad day, look at your account and say, “Poor me, I really deserve to splurge on (item)!”

Better yet, look into instruments like index funds. This is a type of mutual fund whose portfolio is based on matching or tracking the components of a market index, the Philippine Stock Exchange Index, for instance. 

The advantage of index funds is that they are more efficiently managed and therefore have lower fees than other types of mutual funds.

This link gives an overview of what index funds are available.

Scroll further down the page to check out their simple explanation on what mutual funds are.

You have this one chance in a year to have a significant positive impact on your finances.

Make. It. Count.

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