Pre-Bonus Post

Just checking in to say that I’ve received my compensation numbers for next year, including my bonus.  I’m getting a much bigger chunk in added retirement contribution that I’ll be fully vested in right away.

My plans for my bonus are to put almost all of it towards my loans. I’m considering making five exceptions:

1. Mini-vacation.  One of my friends is getting married in California (where she now lives, though her wedding is in a different part of the state).  I’m going to take this opportunity to do a mini-vacation.  The area where her wedding is is not cheap, so we’ll be paying for flights and potentially a vacation condo instead of a hotel room.  I’ll probably try to book that next month, but I’m keeping a watchful eye on flights.

2. A blender.  I currently have a cheap $20 Walmart blender that I got after my slightly nicer one died.  It’s eh.  I’d like to get one that I can easily make baby food with, so I have my eye on a fancy one.  On an unrelated note, I just bought a $30 rice cooker to make oatmeal with in the morning.  Seeing as I’ve been spending $3 a day on oatmeal, this purchase should pay for itself in a couple of weeks.

3.  Towels.  When I lived in my last place I had shared laundry.  Shared with many many people.  The front-loaders always had a bit of a smell to them, which I feel like my towels picked up, and I’ve never been able to 100% get rid of it.  So I’m hoping to buy a new set of bath sheets and towels.  Probably at Target, because I’m still pretty cheap.

4.  HSA.  I’m putting $750 in my Health Savings Account.  The last two years, I’ve put in $3,000-$4,000 to ensure that we had enough to pay for hubby’s LASIK, and having the boy.  I’ve still got a couple thousand in there, and I have been contributing an amount from my paychecks, but I feel like a little extra won’t hurt (and I’m going to get hit with a lot of taxes on the bonus, so I might as well avoid tax on some of it).

5. 401(k):  Like the last two years, I’ll contribute just enough to get the employer match.

Basically everything else will go towards student loan reduction.

I’m also getting a small promotion, and an accompanying raise.  The raise isn’t anything too too crazy, but I’m happy with it, and it’s more than the cost of living adjustment that I generally expect to receive most years.  My 401(k) has an annual increase program, and I’m signed up to bump up my pre-tax contribution 1 percentage point to 9%.  I also contribute 2% on a Roth basis.  I’m thinking next year I may make a similar increase to my Roth contribution.  But either way, I’ve attempted to schedule the increase to coincide with the change in salary, so that I don’t even notice the increase.  I’d like to eventually get up to contributing 15% myself — and the 5% (3% match, 2% not tied to my contributions) from my employer will be icing on the retirement cake.

Here’s 225 pieces of the puzzle–my current balance is $54,695.  If the last two years are any indication, I should be getting my bonus tomorrow, and will do another puzzle update this weekend.

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