What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Questions on how we spend our money and our time - consumer goods and services, home and vehicle, leisure and recreational activities
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twr
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What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by twr »

This is the first year my DW and I are getting a seizable bonus (five-figures) and curious what others spend theirs on?

We max all our tax advantaged accounts already, nicely fund our son’s 529, and put extra towards mortgage and taxable on a monthly basis, so I feel pretty comfortable spending our bonus on “frivolous” things.

I have my sights set on a Sonos Play:5, a nice coffee grinder, and some new luggage. :greedy
anoop
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by anoop »

I normally just move the bonus to a savings account where it earns about 0.1% and keep living life as if I didn't get it.

I'm a minimalist so I don't like buying stuff that I don't consider essential. If something is essential, then I guess I need to buy it regardless of whether I get the bonus. When I buy stuff I'm more concerned about what happens if it breaks (i.e. how replaceable it would be), whether it is durable (very hard to find such stuff nowadays), and how it was made (the way employees are treated, environmental concerns, etc.). Buying anything is a stressful process of hours of research followed by analysis/paralysis, so I hate shopping for anything.
mega317
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by mega317 »

Completely redoing our outdoor areas. Although I guess that was happening anyway, the bonus just made it more palatable.
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HomerJ
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by HomerJ »

I paid off my oldest daughter's student loans with my first big bonus.

After that, I saved them... (okay I did buy a gaming computer for myself with my second big bonus).
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FS51
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by FS51 »

Was a big one this year. Did 2 overpriced boss Hogg's and the rest went towards my AA.
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TierArtz
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by TierArtz »

For the last few years I used having an extra chunk of change as an excuse to buy another rifle. This year my gun safe is full, so no new toys for me. And, I estimate my bonus after withholdings will be just enough to pay federal and state taxes. :( But, I suppose a big tax bill is actually better than a refund! :happy
mattshwink
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by mattshwink »

My wife gets a five figure bonus at the end of February each year which is about 18% of her income for the year in one check (and she still gets her normal paychecks as well). It goes straight to the checking account. Once our checking account hits a threshold we will spend a little of it (make an extra mortgage payment equal to 2/3 of a normal payment, $200 each into a 529 for the our two nieces and one nephew). In addition I will up our automatic transfer to Vanguard to $200 a month (from $100 now). But that will probably only equal 10% of the total bonus. The rest will sit with the rest of our funds. I started this practice last year when our checking account balances started to grow unchecked (not a bad problem to have).
H-Town
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by H-Town »

twr wrote: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:28 pm This is the first year my DW and I are getting a seizable bonus (five-figures) and curious what others spend theirs on?

We max all our tax advantaged accounts already, nicely fund our son’s 529, and put extra towards mortgage and taxable on a monthly basis, so I feel pretty comfortable spending our bonus on “frivolous” things.

I have my sights set on a Sonos Play:5, a nice coffee grinder, and some new luggage. :greedy
I used the entire bonus amount to buy VTI and VXUS for taxable account. We did go on 3 weeks vacation, but it’s funded by monthly cash flow and already budgeted.
Pierre Delecto
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Pierre Delecto »

H-Town wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 12:30 am
twr wrote: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:28 pm This is the first year my DW and I are getting a seizable bonus (five-figures) and curious what others spend theirs on?

We max all our tax advantaged accounts already, nicely fund our son’s 529, and put extra towards mortgage and taxable on a monthly basis, so I feel pretty comfortable spending our bonus on “frivolous” things.

I have my sights set on a Sonos Play:5, a nice coffee grinder, and some new luggage. :greedy
I used the entire bonus amount to buy VTI and VXUS for taxable account. We did go on 3 weeks vacation, but it’s funded by monthly cash flow and already budgeted.
Surprised it took this long for the first I buy VTI post.
Pierre Delecto
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Pierre Delecto »

My bonus money usually goes straight into my deferred compensation plan. Super boring I know. I just can’t stomach the taxes on the margin and basically losing half of it. Someday I’ll spend it on something cool!
Finridge
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Finridge »

I don't spend it. I invest it. It goes straight into my three-fund portfolio.
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TomatoTomahto
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

My wife’s bonus is a big part of her compensation, so we have to treat it almost like salary: piece is kept for taxes, piece is kept for this year’s other anticipated special expenses (tuition, renovations, etc), and the rest is invested (World Equity Index).

Back in the day, a bonus was really a bonus, so we would do a splurge or two. After a while, you think of it as “lumpy salary,” and mentally account for it over 12 months.
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runner3081
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by runner3081 »

Received a $500 bonus, first one ever at the company, likely the last as well.

Went right into VTI.
lazydavid
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by lazydavid »

Ours is split into two parts--an actual bonus, as well as prior years' RSUs that vest. Both of these happen around the same time. Proceeds from the sale of RSUs goes straight into our taxable account, which is a "slush fund" of sorts, out of which we'll eventually pay for cars as we need them as well as college for our son. The remainder will go towards retirement.

Bonus money covers the expenses of our summer vacation so we don't have to cashflow it from our "normal" salary, and what's left over just boosts checking.
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

VTSAX
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JoeRetire
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by JoeRetire »

twr wrote: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:28 pm This is the first year my DW and I are getting a seizable bonus (five-figures) and curious what others spend theirs on?
I never treated my bonuses as "found money".

Thus it was always saved/invested, just like all other income.

I honestly don't understand why folks would treat a bonus differently. Similarly, I don't understand why folks treat a tax refund differently.
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stoptothink
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by stoptothink »

Throw it straight at the mortgage.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by firebirdparts »

I've really only done that twice ever. Most recently I bought a 1988 thunderbird turbo coupe. Should have bought one in 1988, but as it is, the one I have now only has about 50,000 miles on it after all these years, and cost a lot less money. So really I came out okay.

I was in Taiwan when a guy posted it on craigslist in Charlotte, NC. I though to myself "Well, I"m going to sound like some scam artist".
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ChowYunPhat
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by ChowYunPhat »

Each year bonus goes 90% towards saving and investing. That might be some combination of debt payoff acceleration or more in taxable. We allow ourselves a few treats which typically look like a nice dinner out or a computer upgrade.

I guess you could say we "spend" our bonus on freedom. Each year we buy a little more freedom from having to work.
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catlady
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by catlady »

Part of our bonuses go towards refilling savings after front-loading Backdoor Roth IRAs, a large chunk goes towards the mortgage, and the rest goes into taxable.
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Stef
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Stef »

Will get a bonus of 16'200 net this month. 5'700 for increasing emergency fund. 10'500 will go to my taxable account (VTI/VIOV).

So I didn't really spend a cent :mrgreen:
GuySmiley
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by GuySmiley »

Of ~11k gross, only 1400 was left after taxes, 401k and ESPP contributions. So mostly accelerated savings, with a little leftover for day-to-day expenses.
BrownEyedGirl_27
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by BrownEyedGirl_27 »

anoop wrote: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:41 pm I normally just move the bonus to a savings account where it earns about 0.1% and keep living life as if I didn't get it.

I'm a minimalist so I don't like buying stuff that I don't consider essential. If something is essential, then I guess I need to buy it regardless of whether I get the bonus. When I buy stuff I'm more concerned about what happens if it breaks (i.e. how replaceable it would be), whether it is durable (very hard to find such stuff nowadays), and how it was made (the way employees are treated, environmental concerns, etc.). Buying anything is a stressful process of hours of research followed by analysis/paralysis, so I hate shopping for anything.
How about moving it to a high yield savings account and earn some interest?

I get you though about how much time and effort it takes to look for high quality, fair trade and sustainably made material goods. I’ve been reading about different clothing companies that buy back your old and gently used clothing and resell or reinvent them. It is nice not paying full price for a brand new item while not contributing to more textile waste.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by yangtui »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:03 am
you think of it as “lumpy salary,” and mentally account for it over 12 months.
This is the correct way to think about it. You need to base your consumption decisions off of your total compensation from all sources. I dislike the word bonus. It implies that it is extra and special. Like a gift from your employer or something. My goal has always been to get the highest fixed salary I can get with little to no variable comp. If I had a sales role I suppose variable comp would make sense.
TNWoods
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by TNWoods »

I have a very frugal lifestyle mentality, so last year's bonus has me saying "yes" more quickly and more often to things I would normally just say "no" too.

VIP seating for an upcoming concert, tipping 100% (and more for for cheap places like Waffle House), more restaurant eating on impulse, etc.

I won't even come close to using up all of the bonus on that stuff, though. It's only a couple "biggish" things, and a whole lot of "smallish" things.

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TomatoTomahto
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by TomatoTomahto »

yangtui wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:14 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:03 am
you think of it as “lumpy salary,” and mentally account for it over 12 months.
This is the correct way to think about it. You need to base your consumption decisions off of your total compensation from all sources. I dislike the word bonus. It implies that it is extra and special. Like a gift from your employer or something. My goal has always been to get the highest fixed salary I can get with little to no variable comp. If I had a sales role I suppose variable comp would make sense.
The employer obviously prefers to make variable comp as high a percentage of total as possible (eg., JPMorgan had a banner year, but bonuses were flat; some other banks had less stellar years, and could reduce expenses by reducing bonuses). A few years ago, banks were actually forced/encouraged to make salary a higher portion, because of a thought that bonus seeking led to bad behavior. Nevertheless, in today's political/regulatory environment, it's pretty much back to old style.

There are industries (eg, banking as above) where you as an employee don't have much say about the ratio between salary and variable compensation.
Okay, I get it; I won't be political or controversial. The Earth is flat.
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twr
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by twr »

yangtui wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:14 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:03 am
you think of it as “lumpy salary,” and mentally account for it over 12 months.
This is the correct way to think about it. You need to base your consumption decisions off of part your total compensation from all sources. I dislike the word bonus. It implies that it is extra and special. Like a gift from your employer or something. My goal has always been to get the highest fixed salary I can get with little to no variable comp. If I had a sales role I suppose variable comp would make sense.
The way we’ve always approached bonuses is assuming we weren’t getting any additional money for the year, and to plan our annual budget around our fixed income. I’m really intrigued by the fact people treat it as part and parcel of their total compensation from a mental accounting perspective. Nothing wrong with that approach, it just assumes too much variance for my blood to put down on a spreadsheet.
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yangtui
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by yangtui »

TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:28 am The employer obviously prefers to make variable comp as high a percentage of total as possible (eg., JPMorgan had a banner year, but bonuses were flat; some other banks had less stellar years, and could reduce expenses by reducing bonuses).
+1

This is why I dislike the word bonus. In my experience it is to the advantage of the employer to pay one, not the employee.
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yangtui
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by yangtui »

twr wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:33 am
The way we’ve always approached bonuses is assuming we weren’t getting any additional money for the year, and to plan our annual budget around our fixed income. I’m really intrigued by the fact people treat it as part and parcel of their total compensation from a mental accounting perspective. Nothing wrong with that approach, it just assumes too much variance for my blood to put down on a spreadsheet.
When planning it is probably prudent to set your expected bonus amount to zero.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by alfaspider »

Bonuses go to taxes, Backdoor Roth, 529 for kids, taxable account (in that order). I try to divorce income timing from spending.

Deferred Comp is probably more accurate than “bonus.” At some companies (including mine) no bonus at all would mean you are fired and/or the company is bankrupt.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by H-Town »

twr wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:33 am
yangtui wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:14 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:03 am
you think of it as “lumpy salary,” and mentally account for it over 12 months.
This is the correct way to think about it. You need to base your consumption decisions off of part your total compensation from all sources. I dislike the word bonus. It implies that it is extra and special. Like a gift from your employer or something. My goal has always been to get the highest fixed salary I can get with little to no variable comp. If I had a sales role I suppose variable comp would make sense.
The way we’ve always approached bonuses is assuming we weren’t getting any additional money for the year, and to plan our annual budget around our fixed income. I’m really intrigued by the fact people treat it as part and parcel of their total compensation from a mental accounting perspective. Nothing wrong with that approach, it just assumes too much variance for my blood to put down on a spreadsheet.
I treat our bonus as a total comp as well, but we don’t budget for the bonus in our spreadsheet. When we receive the bonus, it counts as savings. Bonus usually give our saving rate a really nice boost. Does that make sense?

In your case, treat yourself something nice. We already did but we didn’t have to touch the bonus for it.
Poorman
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Poorman »

Roth conversions
gator15
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by gator15 »

My wife takes 10% to spend as she pleases. The rest goes to pay the taxman.
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Tamarind
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Tamarind »

Our bonuses don't hit 5 figures but they, along with gifts, tax refunds (goofed and withheld too much despite trying to optimize), my wife's take home pay and all other "found funds" go to a savings account for house renovation. We max out all tax advantaged accounts first automatically, and after the reno will likely start our taxable investing, but right now the timing on the reno is determined by how long it takes to save the required amount.
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yangtui
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by yangtui »

another planning method that might work well is using your prior year post-tax bonus amount to budget for the current year, i.e., delay your consumption for a year.
Stick5vw
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Stick5vw »

For a while it was thrown primarily at my college/grad school loans, and savings.

Once those were gone, it all went right into savings.

Each year I also put some aside for a nice vacation or two with my wife.
anoop
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by anoop »

BrownEyedGirl_27 wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:09 am
anoop wrote: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:41 pm I normally just move the bonus to a savings account where it earns about 0.1% and keep living life as if I didn't get it.

I'm a minimalist so I don't like buying stuff that I don't consider essential. If something is essential, then I guess I need to buy it regardless of whether I get the bonus. When I buy stuff I'm more concerned about what happens if it breaks (i.e. how replaceable it would be), whether it is durable (very hard to find such stuff nowadays), and how it was made (the way employees are treated, environmental concerns, etc.). Buying anything is a stressful process of hours of research followed by analysis/paralysis, so I hate shopping for anything.
How about moving it to a high yield savings account and earn some interest?

I get you though about how much time and effort it takes to look for high quality, fair trade and sustainably made material goods. I’ve been reading about different clothing companies that buy back your old and gently used clothing and resell or reinvent them. It is nice not paying full price for a brand new item while not contributing to more textile waste.
I closed all my high yield accounts to simplify my life. I could move it to the brokerage and buy treasuries which is something I do periodically as the balance in savings hits a certain threshold.

I do that research not just with clothes but also appliances, home goods, furniture, etc. I try to buy things that last long and use them for a long time. This is of course very frustrating in the current environment where almost nothing is designed to last a long time.

The cynical side of me sees companies selling used clothes as a marketing gimmick which will lead to brand dilution. Thrift stores already fill that space quite effectively. If they truly care about the environment they should make durable products instead of engaging in fast fashion.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Dottie57 »

Intermediate saving - Car fund, remodeling fund, furniture fund, savings account. Some went into brokerage account.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Dottie57 »

twr wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:33 am
yangtui wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 9:14 am
TomatoTomahto wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 7:03 am
you think of it as “lumpy salary,” and mentally account for it over 12 months.
This is the correct way to think about it. You need to base your consumption decisions off of part your total compensation from all sources. I dislike the word bonus. It implies that it is extra and special. Like a gift from your employer or something. My goal has always been to get the highest fixed salary I can get with little to no variable comp. If I had a sales role I suppose variable comp would make sense.
The way we’ve always approached bonuses is assuming we weren’t getting any additional money for the year, and to plan our annual budget around our fixed income. I’m really intrigued by the fact people treat it as part and parcel of their total compensation from a mental accounting perspective. Nothing wrong with that approach, it just assumes too much variance for my blood to put down on a spreadsheet.
+1
MBB_Boy
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by MBB_Boy »

Nice watch for myself, and date night with the wife. Won't even glance the prices for once!

This is also on a 5 figure bonus, so plenty left over to plow into our taxable. Although we front load 401ks and IRAs, so going to wait until after bills this month to make sure we are clear
Barsoom
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Barsoom »

When I was working I would get an annual 5-figure bonus that was about 20%-25% of my salary (before taxes).

In different years, it went (partially or totally) towards a Mediterranean cruise, some European vacations, a new car, credit cards, cemetery plots, home improvements...

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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors »

Two individual retirement accounts.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by sailaway »

When I was just getting my feet under me, I would use it to stay above water. Then, I started throwing it at debt. Once I was clear of debt, I started putting it into the brokerage account. Then I found the MBR and started living off the bonus and putting more of the paycheck to after tax contributions.

We do lots of fun things, but we have reached a point where our budget is independent of our income. More money just means more savings. One reason for this is that we need to have a clear picture of our regular expenses and a good practice of cash management, if we are going to retire early.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Petrocelli »

All of it went into the Vanguard California Intermediate Term Bond Fund (VCAIX).
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

I get 5 figure bonuses quarterly (after taxes). I don't tend to spend them on anything. I may buy a new chainsaw as I've been nursing 2 well used ones along and its becoming a losing battle. My wife actually gave me a chainsaw (as in she told me "go buy a new chainsaw") a couple years ago for my birthday and I never have bought it.

So maybe that will be it.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by N.Y.Cab »

Mostly buying more shares of Vanguard Total Stock Market in 401k and HSA. Easy come, easy go.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Lalamimi »

used mine one year on our daughter's wedding. Got laid off March 2018 but got my bonus as part of the package. We took the 15 day Viking River Cruise thru Russia. WOW.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Horsefly »

Before I retired in 2013, I got two bonuses every year. One was a normal performance bonus (reward for the company doing well), and the other was a long-term incentive bonus (reward for not quitting). My general rule was to use one for our family vacation, and the other went into taxable investments.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

Post by Dottie57 »

JoeRetire wrote: Sat Feb 08, 2020 8:11 am
twr wrote: Fri Feb 07, 2020 11:28 pm This is the first year my DW and I are getting a seizable bonus (five-figures) and curious what others spend theirs on?
I never treated my bonuses as "found money".

Thus it was always saved/invested, just like all other income.

I honestly don't understand why folks would treat a bonus differently. Similarly, I don't understand why folks treat a tax refund differently.
I received bonuses the last 8 years of working. Compensation had changed at that point. So I never counted on bonus for regular expenses. Maxed out retirement from salary.
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Re: What do you/did you spend your bonus on?

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