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how do you deal with bonuses/extra money in your houshold?

755 Views 33 Replies 33 Participants Last post by  kdabbler
I hope ya'll don't mind my posting this here. How do you handle bonuses? Is it fun money just for the spouse getting the bonus or do you decide on it as a couple?

Also, do you put spend it, or put most of it away?
DH got a bonus at work
: I'm super super super proud of him. I can already hear the wheels working in his head- new tv, laptop, ect. I'm not sure what to tell him when I get home.

If it makes a difference, we both work and we both make roughly the same amount of money. He works much, much harder than I do, though. Although we both value money, he's more of a spender, and I'm more of a saver. Also, this is not a trivial amount of money for us. What do you guys think?
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All our "extra" money goes into our SEP (a simplified employee pension - I am self-employed) or savings accounts
. This is a fairly new thing for us this past year and it is feeling really good to be socking it away. In the past it would have gone toward credit card debit which we were able to eliminate this past year as well.

"Extra" money for me tends to come from clients, smaller jobs, etc where we don't "need" that money right now for monthly expenses or to pay off debt.

Everything around here is joint
. I make substantially more than my husband but we get awesome health insurance through his job (he works for the state).

I think it probably just depends on your financial goals as a family right now. Do you have credit card debt? Emergency savings in place?
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Dh gets bonus' every month. There is a group goal & if they get over that for every x amount another x amount is added to the pool & then it is divided up equally among all partsmen. The amount varies each month but I have a good idea of what the minimum he gets is & that's what I budget, anything over that either goes into savings or we spend it.

now my cheques I only get 10 a year & are between $200 & $350/month. Right now $100 goes to my cc & the rest goes into savings. If I get a part-full time job in Jan I'll divide it by 3 for savings, cc & I desperatly need new clothes.
Bills. Plain and simple bills. We're paycheck to paycheck and tightly budgeted down to the last penny. Any bills that are behind would get the bonus money, we're simple very stretched out at the moment due to the economic slumps and turmoil. Hubbs barely makes his minimum right now - no bonus this Christmas though (paying for an accident he had with the truck) which would have been our Christmas shopping this year *sigh*.
DH's last job came with a fair number of bonuses. We used most of them to pay down credit card debt and establish a savings account, and sometimes took a little bit ($100 or so for each of us) for fun money.
This year, DH's bonus bought a plane ticket for one of our friends to come visit us with her partner and child for Christmas. In nthe past, it has simply gone to student loans. We're currently behind in terms of paying off student debt and paying into savings, so any "extra" money would go there. DH will get 100$ for Christmas from his employers, and though that should probably go to pay off some unexpected expenses, we'll probably wind up using it on extra/special groceres while we have a new baby and four extra people in our house over the holidays.
Anyway, ideally, it would go to debt/savings, maybe with a bit kept out to go out for dinner or something special.
Work money goes to everyone, individuals keep gift money to do with what they want. If things were tight, we would use gift money for family stuff, but if it's not, we can spend it however we want.
DH got a large reenlistment bonus last year that we used for a variety of things- first we paid off all debt with the exception of my car, we used a good chuck for a down payment on a truck, we bought some furniture for our house (we had almost nothing), we invested some, some was used for fun money, and some we still have in general savings. He doesn't get any other bonuses though, so that was a one time thing.

My work bonuses are really nothing special and not very much when I do get them, so they just go into savings unless there is something specific that we want to use if for. I don't think if it as "my money" or "his money" though, it's both of ours.

I forgot to mention that with his bonus, what we spent it on was decided together.
Any bonuses that come in paycheck form get saved.

My husband's company also has another form of bonuses where money is put into a kind of account (no interest) that he has a choice of retailers from which to get gift certificates. Unfortunately, none of the retailers is gas or grocery type places so we usually end up having to kind of find things to spend that money on! *grins* Terrible problem to have, I know! Lowe's, Travelocity, and Amazon for home improvements, travel, books and most recently, baby stuff is where we've been able to use it.
For us it depends...

When we still had debt almost all of it went to debt pay down other than maybe an extra dinner out or new book at the store.

Do you as a couple have goals you are trying to acomplish? Debt pay down? Vacation plans? House purchase? Retirement savings?

Maybe 10% to blow how ever one wants and the rest allocated out to your goals.
DH got a rather large re-enlistment bonus earlier this year. We decided together how to spend it.

Immediatly, we paid off all our debt except our car. Then we put most of what was left in savings. We did allow ourselves a certain amount to enjoy. We decided what we each wanted and bought those items. I got my new couch, he got his new plasma tv.

But had it not been large enough to pay off all our debt, no question... all of it would have went towards debt and we wouldn't have touched a dime of it for spending.

Oh, and we NEVER, EVER do the fun money just for one spouse (with the exception of birthdays of course!). Everything is both of ours... if he gets a bonus it means WE get a bonus.
I guess it would depend on what our budget looked like at the time. Birthday/Holiday money we spend however we like. If it were a work bonus, we'd probably discuss and mutually agree on a plan (mostly likely splurging a small amount and saving the rest).
Neither of us get bonus' but DH gets overtime a few times a year. Since he worked the hours for it, we agreed that that he could do whatever he wants with it. I kind of claimed our entire tax stimulus though for a new computer, which was totally my idea, but he uses it a fair amount. My Dad gives me some for Christmas and my birthday - and I'm sure Dad thinks of it as money to "the couple" (then again maybe not) - but I spend it only on me, not for anything for the household. He still hasn't spent the overtime. I think since I didn't give him any input, he's kind of afraid to spend it. Not like him at ALL! I'm lobbying for the air-coil mattress thing he's been bugging for, but he said it was too much like something for both of us instead of just him. But he's the one with the bad back drooling for a new mattress.

I'd ask your DH what he is thinking of for the bonus - kind of open-ended. And remark that you would like to save some also.
Well, you didn't say whether or not you have any outstanding debt (cc, collections, etc.). If you do, that would be the first place any extra money would go around here. I don't include long-term debt like student loans or car payment in that though.

Without pressing debt, here the money would be ignored until whenever. For the most part we pretend we make less than we do, and the rest gets saved. So long as we pretend we don't have money, we manage to live decently below our means and save a nice amount. And we can still occasionally splurge on ourselves. Any large purchase is not a spur of the moment thing, it is something that is discussed, researched, discussed some more, researched some more, and discussed even more. And after all that time, if interest is still present, research is favorable and discussion hasn't vetoed it, then we'll consider buying it. But most of the time either research has vetoed it or ardor has cooled by the time we get through that process. So the money will continue to sit in savings until such time as we decide to do something big (vacation, work on the house, etc.).

That's what works for us...
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In our family it would get split three ways. Papa gets a third, I get a third, and "household" gets a third. We could choose to spend it all together if we wanted, but usually we have different ideas of how to spend (or save) it so this works.
We would decide together what to do with the money.

More than likely we would decide lets each spend X amount $10-20-50 of it on something totally that we decide on our own, then we would take the bigger part of it and decide together where to spend/save/use it.

We have never had "my money-your money" it's all been "our money". Typically anything above $50 we will talk about/ask the other before we spend. I don't look at it as either of us needing the others apporval to spend the money, I can't think of anytime that either of us said "no" I do know a few times when we have actually saved money because instead of buying the something right then and there we have put our heads together and been able to look for and find the same item at a discounted price.

FWIW, I don't earn any money right now, I stay home with the kids. Before kids we would go through phases of me being the one making more or him being the one who made more, but we never really did 2 columns of money, it was just all added together and either we had money or we did not.
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We have major cc debt so anything extra goes towards paying it down, but truthfully, we haven't had anything extra for a long time. If it weren't for dh scoring some major OT last month, we would not have been able to pay our whopping $500 property tax bill due this month (it isn't included in our house payment). We may have $100-200 "extra" at the end of the month that I am thinking about socking away as a cash emergency fund, but then again, it makes little sense to do so when we have credit card available credit for anything that may come up, and interest rates are high. Seems everything should be going towards the cards. I am really tired of cc debt. We did buy a plasma TV last month ($699 on clearance, great deal), which we charged so a lot of our treats we are paying for with any extra money we get. Otherwise, we are a paycheck-to-paycheck family with good credit and too high credit card limits
A huge chunk of the cc debt was from buying inventory to resell so when the economy recovers and I can sell it on ebay, I will be able to pay off a lot of that. Then we will have some breathing room!

P.S. I did get part of an insurance payout from a deceased relative last month and I put the entire amount towards a credit card which I am very proud of.
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Bonuses are fun money, but we don't have any debt. We usually save some, play with some.
We decide as a couple. Dh would never assume that it was just his to play with. Usually we use it towards bills, paying down debt, fixing things around the house/car repairs, etc and then we might take a little for fun money (maybe a dinner out, new clothes or shoes if really needed, something fun for the girls, etc).
Dh gets a year end bonus most years and we put as much of it as we can shelter into his rrsp then the rest goes to cc debt or in last year's case towards property taxes.
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