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7 ways to spend a $1,000 bonus

Investing, in your mind, health or a hobby, can compound the benefit of a bonus on you, your family and others


Instead of pocketing a $1,000 bonus for gas, groceries or other regular expenses, pause to consider other ways to invest that will increase the impact on you, your family or others.


This summer, 174,000 Florida firefighters, EMTs, paramedics and police officers will receive a $1,000 bonus.

“This one-time bonus is a small token of appreciation, but we can never go far enough to express our gratitude for their selflessness,” Gov. Ron DeSantis said in a statement announcing his support for the bonuses as part of the state’s 2021-22 budget.

Instead of using the $1,000 windfall for gas, groceries, rent or other regular expenses, pause to consider other ways to invest that will increase the impact on you, your family or others. Here are some ideas:

1. Invest in your retirement

Use the investment opportunities available to you through your employer or invest in a Roth IRA or conventional IRA. Through the miracle of compounding interest, your $1,000 investment will grow for the years or decades between now and retirement.

2. Pay off debt

Putting $1,000 toward your highest interest loan or credit card debt has two benefits. First, you decrease the principal and the total amount of interest you have to pay during the lifetime of the loan. Second, debt can be a significant stressor. Taking a big bite out of your debt can be a useful stress reliever.

3. Invest in your mind

Use the $1,000 to enroll in college courses that keep you on the path to finish an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree. If you already have a degree, enroll in a training or education program to help you advance in your profession, do your job more effectively or to increase your on-the-job safety.

4. Invest in your health

With $1,000, you could purchase an annual YMCA or gym membership for you and your family. If you prefer to workout at home, search Craigs List or Facebook marketplace for used exercise equipment, like a treadmill, weights or a bike.

5. Invest in a hobby

A great way to prevent burnout, manage stress and boost your attitude is to have a non-work-related hobby. Use this windfall to purchase additional supplies or training for your hobby, or to attend an event or gathering with other hobbyists.

6. Help others

You might receive the most satisfaction from sharing your bounty with others. Consider donating or tithing 10% or more of your bonus pay to your house of worship or other organization with a mission that is aligned with your values. A donation to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation, National EMS Memorial Foundation or the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund in honor of the first responders killed by COVID-19 could be personally and professionally meaningful.

7. Take a trip

Get away. Give yourself a break. Use the $1,000 for a trip you’ve always wanted to take. Maybe it is to see the sights in your state or travel across the country. Regardless, the tourism-dependent hotels, restaurants and attractions devastated by pandemic-related travel restrictions will be thrilled to have you visit.


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Greg Friese, MS, NRP, is the Lexipol Editorial Director, leading the efforts of the editorial team on PoliceOne, FireRescue1, Corrections1, EMS1 and Gov1. Greg served as the EMS1 editor-in-chief for five years. He has a bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and a master’s degree from the University of Idaho. He is an educator, author, national registry paramedic since 2005, and a long-distance runner. Greg was a 2010 recipient of the EMS 10 Award for innovation. He is also a three-time Jesse H. Neal award winner, the most prestigious award in specialized journalism, and the 2018 and 2020 Eddie Award winner for best Column/Blog. Connect with Greg on Twitter or LinkedIn and submit an article idea or ask questions by emailing him at