Extra Money? What Do I Do With Extra Money?

A couple of months ago, I started a new job. The new job has bonus potential every month, and

English: RepRap v.2 'Mendel' open-source FDM 3...

English: RepRap v.2 ‘Mendel’ open-source FDM 3D printer (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

getting that bonus is largely under my control. Effectively, if I’m not a total slacker, I’ll get
about $500 every month, but it’s not guaranteed.

We’re also getting a small 4 figure tax refund this year. I wasn’t expecting that at the beginning
of last year, but one of my side hustles has taken a turn down a path I didn’t plan for, which
lowered my tax liability considerably.

Both of these things are money that we can’t plan for, so it’s not in the budget. It is extra
money.

What the heck do you do(responsibly) with extra money? It’s easy to take the money and run to the
spend it someplace fun.

Easy.

And tempting.

Very tempting.

But that wouldn’t be responsible at all.

The Dave Ramsey plan says we should put it on our debt, but our debt is down to just a mortgage,
and that’s down to $9000.

Retirement?

I actually over-contributed to my retirement last year, and had to file a form to get the
overpayment back instead of paying a penalty on that money. My wife’s account isn’t getting maxed,
yet, but she’s also way ahead of me in retirement savings.

So what to do with it?

I added a calculator that let’s me punch in a number and it breaks it out by our optional goals.

It has 6 categories:

  • Extra mortgage payment: 25%. My goal is to pay off the mortgage completely this year.
  • Retirement contribution: 25%. I do want to max Linda’s retirement contributions this year.
  • Emergency fund: 15%. We have an emergency fund, but I want to grow it to 6 months of our expenses.
  • Family: 15%. This if for whatever family thing we’re planning to do. It could be pushed into a down payment for another rental property, or a vacation, or a camper. We’ll decide this each time we get the extra money.
  • Jason’s Fun Money: 10%. This is for me to blow on something fun, like a 3D printer.
  • Linda’s Fun Money: 10%. This if for my wife to blow on something fun, like a present for me.

So, if we get $2500 randomly dropped in our mailbox, we’ll put $625 on the mortgage and a
retirement fund, $375 to the emergency fund and the family fund, and $250 to Linda and I for fun
stuff.

That lets us see progress on a few of our goals, while still rewarding how hard we’ve worked and
how much we’ve done without while becoming financially stable. 65% of it is pure grown-up &
responsible spending. 35% is generally fun, but can be repurposed if necessary.

What do you do with surprise money? Do you blow it or do something responsible with it?

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