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7 great ways to use extra cash

Flush with cash? Don't flush it away! Whether it's a bursary, tax refund or annual bonus, here are 7 great ways to enjoy your windfall – and 3 ways to waste it.

1) Pay off your credit cards

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Sure it's not the most glamorous way to spend your money, but it guarantees you'll have money in the future. Credit card debt, with its high levels of interest, is extremely hard to get rid of if you're only paying the minimum. Whenever you have the chance to pay it off all in one shot, take it.

You don't have to wait for a windfall to pay off your credit cards. Consider a balance transfer from HSBC.

2) Invest it

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If you don't know much about investing, go basic with something like a bond or an ETF. They are lower risk than many other investments, but you will still be slowly building a nest egg that will be there for you in the future. If you're not sure where to start, we can help.

3) Learn a new skill

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Go back to school for another degree. Learn a new language. Get licensed in something. All of these things will open up your career prospects, giving you a higher potential salary in the future. Alternatively you can learn a skill like cooking, plumbing, carpentry or auto mechanics. Even if they're not where you see your career moving, having a little bit of know-how in these fields will go a long way to saving you money.

Find out more about the value of education.

4) Get creative

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Now's your chance to channel your inner artist. Learn to sing, to dance, to paint, to play an instrument. These skills might not unlock your earning potential (although you never know) but they could open up a whole new way for you to experience and understand the world. Having a way to express yourself creatively is great for your mental health, not to mention a lot of fun.

5) Travel

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Hit the road for an epic adventure. Travel is a great way to experience other cultures and learn about ourselves at the same time. It can create lifelong memories but it can also be quite expensive. Having a lump sum that you can use toward a travel budget can help you take that trip you've always dreamed of. 

Planning to hit the road? Consider the HSBC Premier Travel Credit Card. It gives you free access to Plaza Premium Lounges worldwide and unlimited Wi-Fi through Boingo.

6) Fix up your home

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Travel is great, but so is having a nice place to call home. If you own, consider making some renovations and upgrading your kitchen or bathroom. If you rent, think about replacing any furniture that is past its prime. Even something as simple as changing the curtains or putting on a fresh coat of paint can go a long way to refreshing your living space, making it a joy to come home to each day. 

Got a huge project you've been waiting to complete? A personal loan from HSBC could help you cover the cost.

7) Get fit

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Consider this an overall investment in your livelihood, as physical health is something that will affect every element of your life. Things like gyms, yoga memberships, personal trainers, and meal plans or dietary consultations can be expensive, but you'll often be able to save some money if you're able to pay for these memberships or services up front. The best part is, six months down the road you'll be healthier than you are today and you'll still have a place to get your sweat on.

What not to spend it on:

1) Fashion

As the name implies, fashion is not forever. Outside of a few choice outfits for work, any money you spend on clothes or jewelry is not an investment; these are things that have very temporary value. A new bag or the latest kicks might make you happy for the moment, but the benefit they provide doesn't last long.

2)  Getting a pet

This is not to say you shouldn't get a pet. Maybe you've always wanted a furry (or feathery or scaly) friend in your life. But if you're waiting for a windfall to make that happen, that's a mistake.

Pets are not a one-time purchase, they continue to cost you money day after day, month after month for years. If the only way you can afford a dog is because you got a big tax refund, how will you afford it when the dog gets sick and needs a vet? Or when you need to put your pet in a kennel because you are going away?

3) Nothing at all

It can be difficult deciding what to use your windfall for, but as it sits in your bank account there is a real danger of "nickel & diming" it away: spending it a tiny bit at a time on things that don't add up to much. You don't want to look back on this moment as a wasted opportunity, so do a little research and a little planning and make your money count for you.

Reach out to the world with HSBC Foreign Exchange

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