Maximizing Your Year-End Bonus




By Kathleen Maartens, President/Co-Owner

It’s that time of year again when companies are giving out year-end bonuses. Exhibit Network makes a promise to all our employees:  When Exhibit Network has a good year, all the employees get a corresponding bonus.

A big selling point to our clients is our ability to help maximize their trade show budget. So I thought it would be a good idea to practice what we preach and remind our employees how to maximize their hard-earned, year-end bonus.

Before Bonus Day 2018, I presented the following recommendations and suggestions to our entire team. It is my hope that these ideas will be helpful to everyone reading this.  Enjoy and prosper!


A big mistake many people make is overspending before receiving a bonus

…with the intent to repay it later.

The truth is there are always competing priorities.
December comes and goes, then other things become more important.

When this happens, you cannot “repay” for the things you bought, and you end up in more debt.

And then, you’re broke and frustrated.

Don’t forget taxes.

You think you’re getting a $1,000 bonus, so you go out and spend $1,000.

In reality, your net bonus after taxes is $750.

So you just spent $250 more than you have.

And then comes JANU-REGRET – that month you regret spending your entire bonus.

So how do you avoid JANU-REGRET?

For starters,

  1. Only spend your bonus money once it has arrived in your account, never before.

  2. When you receive your bonus, write down exactly what you intend to do with it.

That raises the question: What should you do with your bonus money?

Here are some suggestions:

  • Pay off high-interest debt. This debt may be costing you hundreds of dollars in interest payments every year.

  • Invest. Did you know you can double $1000 in about 10 years for doing absolutely nothing? Invest your bonus and forget about it.

  • Open a 9- or 12-month CD … to spend on Christmas NEXT YEAR.

  • Open up a “rainy day” savings account… for car repairs, medical bills, etc.

  • Keep enough money in your checking account to avoid monthly fees.

  • Set money aside for a summer vacation.

  • Add money to your retirement plan.

  • Start saving for a big purchase: a new car, a house, college.

  • Give some to charity.

  • Spend your bonus. With the money you have left, buy yourself a gift card. Spend the gift card however you want, but remember, when it’s gone, it’s gone.

Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’d love to hear your ideas for maximizing your year-end bonus ( May you have a happy, healthy, and prosperous New Year.  ~Kathleen