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What to Do with Unexpected Money

Whether it’s a stimulus check or an unexpected gift from a relative, we have a few tips for managing a surprise influx of funds.

  1. Consider your financial situation.
    Take a good look at where you stand financially. Am I getting a regular paycheck? Do I see a possible change in my cash flow soon? Do I have a big goal I am working towards? Once you have that determined, you can decide what portions to save and what to spend.

  2. Bulk up your savings.
    If you need an emergency savings account, add to that account first. That fund will keep your other financial goals on track if something unexpected happens. If you already have an emergency account and you’re maintaining your debt payments, consider setting part of the money aside. You could keep it in a savings account for a future goal, such as buying a house or going on vacation. The rest can go to paying off debt and rewarding yourself.

  3. Pay down debt.
    If you are receiving regular paychecks, using most of your new-found money to pay down debt is a wise choice. Your monthly payments will decrease and you will improve your monthly cash flow.

  4. Reward yourself.
    Make sure you’re rewarding yourself when you make a smart financial decision about an unexpected influx of cash. Research shows that when you reward yourself for healthy financial habits, you’re more likely to keep on track to reach your financial goals. This doesn’t have to be a large purchase. It can be your favorite coffee shop treat or a dinner at your favorite restaurant.

Anytime you receive unexpected money, it can be tempting to spend it all in one place. Splitting it up will ensure that you keep your financial goals on track while rewarding yourself in the process.

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