First Impressions with Money That Make or Break Your Account

There is nothing better than having a new, crisp $100 bill in your hand, well except for having two of them or hey even more while we are at it. Your initial reaction or your first impression when you receive money likely leads to your money destiny.

One Night Stands With Your Money

If the first thing you think of when you have money is what you can do to spend it then we’ve got a problem. You are having one-night stands with your money and it needs to end. Sure it’s a lot of fun and there is some immediate gratification but later on, we probably wish we had made another decision.

How hard did you work to earn that money? It likely took a lot of time and effort. Why would you instantly want to give it away?

Long-Term Relationship With Your Money

What if your first impression of your money was to keep it? You worked hard and the last thing you want to do is see it disappear the second it comes into your life. How about making your money continue to work for you and letting it turn into even more money?

Yes, it will take some time, but don’t they say “good things come to those that wait.” Well just waiting and hoping things will happen will develop into nothing happening. But those with a plan will have good things come from the effort they have put into it.

How to Break the Cycle of Giving Away Your Money

At my work, we give out bonuses on a quarterly basis and sometimes we have them around holidays or sometimes if the company is doing really well the executives walk around handing out $100 bills. Now $100 isn’t a lot of money but when you aren’t expecting it, no one turns it down. Sometimes the bonuses are around $200 or they can be much, much higher like adding on an extra 0 at the end and for others, it is even higher.

For those of us making near or more than six figures the bonuses are no big deal, but for those making an hourly wage it can be a huge boost to the budget, it could be an extra two days of pay or even a week’s worth of pay. However, the frustrating thing to me that I see is the money is almost gone as soon as they receive it. Most of the time it never even makes it home.

Off To Wendover

You are saying what is Wendover? Well, it’s a small town on the border of Utah and Nevada. Everyone in the western United States knows what is on the border of Nevada. CASINOS! Well as soon as bonuses are out many of my employees plan a weekend trip to Wendover.

Bonus Debt

So they take their newly found bonus and book a room for $59 a night. They are gone for the weekend so at least two nights so they are at $118 and then you toss in taxes and gas to get out there, about a 1 1/2 hour trip so you are looking at least $150 so far. That $200 bonus is down to $50 and you haven’t even taken into account the food.

So plan in the food and your last $50 is gone, but really you have gone over $50 because of drinks and then you go and have a good time at the tables and the slots, and now that $200 bonus has turned in to an extra $200 debt because you had to go to the ATM and pull out some extra cash for the trip.

Just 24 hours ago you were up $200 dollars and now you are down $200 for a $400 turnaround because you were so excited to spend your money.

Other Scenarios With Your Bonus

What if your first impression of your bonus was to save it? Anytime you get a bonus, what if we treated it like a bonus instead of free money we should instantly get rid of as soon as possible?

Employee B decided just to keep the bonus and put it in the bank. There is an extra $200 in checking. It will probably be used to pay bills at the end of the month, but it is nice just to have it in there.

Employee C decided to buy a new 32″ TV with their bonus. Now the TV was $300 but hey with the bonus it actually just cost $100 so the justification is there since it really doesn’t cost very much. Employee C already had a TV but this one is newer.

Employee D decided to add the bonus to their online investment account. Employee D already opened a low-cost mutual fund and every time they get a bonus they just toss it in there and forget about it. Sometimes the bonuses have been up to $2,000 or more and over time that account has grown to tens of thousands of dollars. Anytime Employee D can get some extra money they go ahead and toss it in there. They know that in the long run, it will pay off.

Employee E likes to give his bonuses to his wife. Hey, the family works hard together and so he splits all his bonuses with his wife.

So What is Your First Impression

I’ll be honest I am a little bit of Employee D and E. I like to surprise my wife and say “Here you go” and give her some cash and say it is yours to do whatever you want. She says thanks and thinks of all the pedicures and spa days she can have with her sisters or friends, but pretty much always just end up using it on groceries because that is just the way she is…super practical. I tell her that the money was for her to do something fun with it and she says, “you said I could do what I want with it.” She is awesome.

After 8 years of setting aside bonuses and salary increases into investments the only regret I have is not starting sooner. It really grows and grows over time. I don’t miss the bonus, I love watching it continue to grow into even more money. 

I’m sure I’ll use it some day but for now, I sure like to see $100 turn in to $200, and that turn in to more and more. Really I feel like it is a double bonus because I got it the first time from work, then I decided instead of giving it to someone else I am going to pay myself and invest it.

Start Today

Okay, you may have some regret about not starting earlier, but you know what you can do. Just start today, it is better than starting tomorrow. You will wish tomorrow you had started yesterday.

You Can Have Fun With Your Money…..but

I’m not saying we can’t have any fun with our money. I’d rather see someone buy a TV with their money than lose it on a quick fun trip that adds even more debt. At least you received something tangible out of the purchase. I am not saying that you can’t make a trip with that money, but don’t let a bonus addition to your debt. Make a plan and keep to the plan.

Why do we think that just because we receive money it is okay to not only spend that amount but spend even more and go into debt? This is where some self-control needs to come in and we set up some rules with our money.

What if instead of taking all $200 on the trip you left $50 behind so that you knew you still had something left over? Have fun with 75% of the money instead of 100% or 150% when you start pulling the plastic out. At least you are saving some part of what you earned.

When you are making hourly salaries the last thing you should be doing is spending your money as soon as you get it. You are creating a vicious cycle of spending when you should first work on a cycle of saving. It will be tight but later on, you will be glad that you have something to spare. Otherwise, you never get ahead.

Think about it. How do you ever get ahead if you spend everything you have? You are trapping yourself.

Bonus Challenge

So your next bonus or side money you make what are you going to do with it?

  • Spend it?
  • Save it?
  • Pay down debt?

What do you like to do with your bonus money? Do you have a plan? Maybe you don’t get bonuses, but do you have extra money each month that you earn? What do you do with that?

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