Coming into a little extra money, whether through a tax refund (short-term) or a raise (longer-term), feels amazing. The flexibility that comes from having an expanded cash flow can be wildly liberating. To make that feeling last beyond the initial euphoria, look for bigger opportunities to use the new $$$ to your advantage.
The building blocks of financial security include paying down high-interest debt and growing your emergency fund. So if you haven't already done so, you might put that extra $1,000 toward making a dent on the principle of any outstanding debts with interest rates greater than 5%.
"I use 5% as a dividing line because debt lower than that tends to be either mortgage debt or really low government student loans," says Manisha Thakor the director of wealth strategies for women at Buckingham Strategic Wealth and the BAM Alliance.
Been there and done that? Then she advises putting your new surplus into your emergency fund until your nest egg is up to $2,000, or more. "The rule of thumb is to try and save three-to-six months of living expenses. That is a perfect long-term goal, but in your 20s in particular, it's the rare person who's going to be able to save that much right out of the gate. This is a good place to start."
Once you clear those hurdles, you should start thinking even bigger. Read on for 6 next-level money goals.