Things always seem to slow down for the holidays. Work gets slow. Minds wander. Productivity slows to a crawl. Attention spans get shorter.
From Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day, work productivity seems like a lost cause. I struggle some years to stay focused and on task. I’m not a big rah-rah holiday guy, but it’s difficult to avoid and I get caught up in the general malaise.
This year has been tough. I have a lot on my plate at work, no end in sight. That’s why I was surprised by these two financial gifts I received this season. One was unexpected and the other moved faster than expected. Both brought lots of joy.
Bonus at Work
The first financial present was the best. I received a bonus check at work. This one was unexpected, especially the size. My bonus check was over $6,000!
We receive bonus checks at work every year in my business. Hourly folks up through the managers get a check. However, the last few years we have only received a check that we affectionately called, “enough for a tank of gas.” Ouch!
I feel bad when I have that discussion with my team, almost embarrassed that they are only getting a small bonus check. I feel like the big, bad Grinch. At first glance it feels like an insult. But I always try to flip it around to be positive…”At least we all got something this year.” And…”Isn’t it nice that even though the company is barely profitable this year, they still chose to pay out some bonus for us?” Then I throw in some sarcastic comments, usually jokes at my own expense, and we all move on.
However, this year was different. The small company we work for did better. Our operation is a significant portion of the overall company, and I wasn’t sure about bonuses. I knew we did better than last year, but I didn’t know how to quantify it.
My boss gave me the opportunity to rate my team for bonuses. The higher the rating, the better the bonus. I was very excited to give my top performers a bigger bonus, to reward them for continuously going above expectations.
For me personally, my boss rated me high and I got a significant bonus check. I couldn’t believe it was over $6,000 for me. That was very unexpected.
I never expect a bonus check at all, so this was a big deal. I always put it out of my mind because you can’t count on company performance to come through every year. There are too many factors involved, and none of which I can control. You can work your tail off and only get “enough for a tank of gas” as a bonus.
But at the end of the day, I am very happy and very fortunate to have received a bonus check from work.
Debt Consolidation Loan
The next early Christmas present that I received for 2015 was a loan. I applied for a loan in order to consolidate my credit card debt and save some money.
I applied for the loan in mid-December, after doing some research and comparisons, and was surprised at how quickly I was approved and funded. I submitted my loan application and was on the phone with a representative from SoFi (the company I went with) a few hours later. Then I received the funds in my checking account a couple days after that. It was so fast!
Now, a debt consolidation loan may not seem like a Christmas present to everyone, but this was to me. I received $40,000 in my checking account and I quickly used that to pay off five credit card balances! That’s FIVE!!
I was so excited that I was bouncing around the house, damn near jumping for joy. I’ve never been this excited about personal finance and had no idea how good it feels to pay off debt.
Sure, I only moved the debt from one place to another, but I got a monthly savings of $281, so I will take it. And I don’t have to pay those high interest rate charges on five credit card balances each month. Now I have a fixed loan to pay and a much less cluttered financial life.
I’m not a big holiday guy, but I will really enjoy my Christmas holiday this year, from the financial side. I’m grateful to be on this financial journey towards financial freedom. If I can experience happiness from receiving a bonus check and paying off credit card debt, then I’m sure financial freedom will feel even better.
I might not act like the Grinch anymore. And if you ask me, I like the Jim Carrey version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas better than the Boris Karloff version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. But that’s just me.
Have a very Merry Christmas this year! Enjoy time with family and friends. Hopefully you receive some great financial presents like I did this year.