By: Jerry Mooney

Congratulations! You have managed to cut some costs or get a raise. Either one is hard to do in the current environment. Either way, you have an extra $200 a month now. What should you do with it?

Here are a few tips:

Take $50 - $75 for yourself. Most advisors would tell you to use the $200 for practical purposes. Screw that, a life without experiences is a life lost. Go to dinner or out with friends a little more. Build your social circle, as it is the best way to find new ideas and opportunities. Or save up for something that brings new and fulfilling experiences into your life.

So now you’ve had a little fun, what do you do with the rest?

Pay down debt first! Credit cards are the worst due to exceedingly high interest rates. There is no way that current investments can return more than what you are paying on high interest debt. So get rid of that shit! At a minimum bring your cards below 30% of the available balance in order to improve your credit score.

Save some. The standard has always been 6 months of wages. I know. It sounds like a lot and it is, but there is no harm in trying. Life has variability and usually it is not exactly friendly to your wallet. If a layoff comes or your car needs a major repair, you’ll love yourself for having the extra cash instead of stressing yourself into an early grave.

Invest. Other articles on this site will cover good and bad investments, but now that the basics are covered it is time to start planning for a future. NOTHING is more powerful for your future than compounding interest. So guess what? Your bank isn’t giving you diddly squat and social security has about the same chance of surviving as you have winning at roulette by only picking one number.  More risk and a decent timeline are going to be necessary to make it to retirement.

So get started, but go buy a pizza with your extra cash first.

Jerry is a co-founder of zenruption and is all about helping us regular people. He is extremely proficient at swearing in German and has taught others how to do so as a professor in the college setting. Jerry gets how little green pieces of paper control too much of our lives. Yeah, he is way cool.