Use Your Holiday Bonus for Personal Investing

If you are one of the lucky few to receive a holiday bonus this year, count your blessings. Before you start planning your Vegas vacation, consider a few wise investments for your windfall. It would be very grown up of you to put it into an IRA or 401k, but you’re already diligent about those, right? Those extra funds, whether large or small, are burning a hole in your pocket. If you’d like something you can see and touch now, go for items will enrich your work and/or private life, which aren’t too fleeting, and have personal value.

Invest in Yourself
Start the New Year with a new look. Discern what’s important to you. The pleasure of a seaweed wrap won’t last much past the treatment. Use that $200 towards a getting a great cut and color instead. For long term results, splurge on laser hair removal (you too, guys) or cosmetic dental work. Time with a personal trainer is also a good bet. The confidence you gain from small acts self-improvement encourages more resolution-keeping.

Buy Classics
Rather than buying more candy-colored sandals, choose one piece that you’ll keep in your closet for five to ten years. A new attachÃ?© case or handbag will get daily use. A camelhair coat works over suits and jeans both, and with mild Dallas winters will last forever. Black cashmere turtlenecks or crewnecks are luxe necessities. Saddle tan cowboy or equestrian boots never go out of style. Shop around and don’t settle for less than a perfect fit. Be willing to pay for the dry cleaning or leather conditioner to care for better goods. Check out boutiques that are out of your price range, too. It’s good to know what distinguishes quality in your chosen item. It’s better to know elements you would choose if price were no object.

Stock Up
Buy in quantity what you usually pick and choose. This is a good opportunity to fill your home bar. For liquors, choose some top shelf treats that you can savor straight. For wines, triple up on your favorites, and then choose a wide array of vintages. Even you don’t know exactly what to pair with each meal, with enough options you’ll figure it out.
Building a home library is even more satisfying. Fill those empty shelves so it looks like someone actually lives there. Choose some classics that you’ve always wanted to read, not any you were punished with in school. Pick several current titles that have good buzz. When you want come home and decompress, you’ll have some literary options. Chicks dig guys who read, too. If you’re not so inclined, build your DVD or CD library. Anything that makes you more comfortable in your home is a good investment.

Get Creative
Forget the posters left over from dorm days – don’t try framing them either. Spend unexpected dollars is on original artwork. Theoretically, no price is too high for unique art to which you emotionally respond. Don’t worry too much about appreciation; however, make sure the work is covered by your renter’s insurance. Better a painting by an unknown than a (no offense) “painter of light” print. Large unframed oils and acrylics become signature items in your space. With the work of local artists, value is increased, as you have stories of their personal influences to enhance the art. Art glass also adds color and character. Don’t try to match the sofa!

Make Life More Convenient
If you can invest in technology that will buy back time, or less time at work, pursue it! A stocked notebook with a WiFi card may let you telecommute. An extra phone line or home fax, scanner, color printer, or faster internet service may do the same. If you have to physically report to the office, upgrade your wheels.

It’s your money, after all. Do what you want. If you were smart enough to bonus in this tight economy, you should know not to buy a few rounds for your “friends” at the bar.

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