(NC)—Thanks to bulk cooking, carpools, and forgoing the daily latte, you’ve somehow managed to save up some cash and stay awake at the office. But before sprinting to the mall for a celebratory shopping spree, here are some better ways to use your money:
Save and invest. Put a portion of your money in mutual funds, stocks, a good retirement plan, and a savings account. If you aren’t sure how or where to start, talk to friends and family members to gain some perspective and ask them to refer a financial planner. A good financial planner will be honest, available, and will clearly be working for you and not for his or her self-interest.
Redeem points. Give your wallet a breather and use the points from all the loyalty cards you’ve accumulated over the years. You’ve earned it.
Plan ahead. Compare grocery flyers to get the best deal on a product, shop at factory liquidation sales, and clip coupons. You’ll have more money left over if you do your research.
Help others. Invite your recently laid-off neighbour over for a home-cooked meal, run an errand for an older relative, or donate to an international children’s charity like Christian Children’s Fund of Canada. Though these ideas may come at a financial cost to you, they will bring more lasting feelings of fulfillment for your soul as you help those in need.