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Landing upon some extra money is never a bad feeling. Whether it’s a bonus from work, an unexpected inheritance, or earnings from your side hustle, it can make a huge difference in improving both your finances and your quality of life.

Before you go blowing all that extra cash on a superfluous piece of tech or something you might only gain momentary happiness from, why not take a little more time to stop and think about how you can use it wisely?

Below are 5 smart ways to spend or save that extra money of yours.

  1. Throw More into Your Emergency Fund

Three to six months worth of living expenses is generally the recommended amount to have in your emergency savings stash. How close are you to that? Do you even have one started?

If you don’t have one, then your likely best bet with that extra dough is to store it away for when the unexpected strikes. Otherwise, there’s a good chance you’ll have to take on some debt in response to whatever emergency happens, whether that’s car troubles, medical bills, or bailing your estranged cousin out of jail.

  1. Beef up Your Retirement Contributions

No matter what age you are, it’s never too early to put more into your retirement fund. The earlier you start however, the more time that money has to grow.

If your yearly retirement contributions aren’t maxed, you have the opportunity to beef up your retirement account and better secure your future. Even an extra $500 or $1,000 can do wonders if given enough time to accumulate interest.

  1. Play the Market

Let’s say your savings are already intact and you come into some “play-around” money. Taking to the stock market and investing in tech or some other personal interests can be a great way to earn (but sometimes lose) a good bit of cash.

Or, you could always take the Timothy Sykes, self-made millionaire approach to the stock market and play with penny stocks.

There’s really no wrong way to invest your “play-around” money, as long as you are smart with your decisions and following a plan.

  1. Plan a Relaxing Getaway

Speaking of plans, sometimes a relaxing vacation is just hands-down the best way to spend your money. Maybe you haven’t taken one in a while, or your spouse is dying to go somewhere tropical, or perhaps you just need a break from work for a bit.

Whatever the case, it’s your money and you get to choose how you spend it. If you feel that a getaway is what you need, then by all means, hit the beach.

  1. Donate to Charity

Last but not least, you could choose to be a philanthropist with your money.

There is always someone out there in a worse situation than you. Donating to legitimate charities can make you feel happier, while simultaneously improving the lives of the less fortunate.

Spend It Wisely

Even though you might feel a strong urge to irresponsibly spend that extra cash, you are much better off using it wisely. Instant gratification and material possessions fade, but a smart investment – be that monetary or an unforgettable experience – can last a lifetime.

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