Plan spending for 'found money'
When your Social Security tax dropped 2 percentage points at the beginning of 2011, what did you do with the money? Chances are the answer is "nothing much."
If you're like a lot of people, that extra cash just disappeared into (and out of) your bank account, says Wayne Bogosian, president of the PFE Group in Southborough, Mass., and co-author of "The Complete Idiot's Guide to 401(k) Plans."
A better move is to take any money you're already used to living without, and consciously put it toward one of your goals, Bogosian says. "Redirect it to some higher cause. You've already learned to live without it."
This works for the car you've paid off, a rolling card balance you've zeroed out or even a raise or bonus from work, he says.
So whether your goal is a little extra in the emergency fund or an extra-special vacation this year, your "found money" is going where you put it. And you can find it when you need it later.