Whether in form of a 13th-month salary or an Xmas bonus, a little extra cash is always welcome, during the yuletide season when expenses are high.

While some Nigerian workers may be paid 13th-month salaries, others would not be as fortunate.

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Nairametrics looks at the origins of the 13th-month salary, samples opinions from various Nigerians, and then gives suggestions on how one should spend a bonus.

Origin of the 13-month

The origins of the 13-month pay while not explicit, date as far back as the 1930s in Italy. The practice is also prevalent in several Latin American countries, where it is split into two installments.

In Nigeria, it is mostly paid between November/December.

The 13th-month pay, it should be noted, is distinct from a bonus. Employers are allowed to provide both. For the sake of this article, both are considered in a go, since they mostly occur towards the last month of the year.

 Different strokes 

Ceecee, in her 30s works in a financial services firm. For her, there would be no Xmas bonus from her firm this Xmas, as the company has no such tradition.

Ebony Maw in his late 30s works in a media outfit. For him, there will be no Xmas bonus, but his firm usually gives a bag of rice and cooking oil. On what he plans to do with it, he says

“I shall chop it well!”

Bobby in his late 40s, is a civil servant in a Federal Government parastatal. He is not sure he will receive a bonus this year.

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“My brother, my organisation does not give rice and oil, but we get 13th-month salaries. For this year, I am not too sure. If I am given, I will spend it on family expenses. The way the bills are coming –  school fees, house rent – my salary has already finished.”

Yeezy, in his late 40s is married with children. A senior staff of an oil company, he would not be receiving an Xmas bonus, though he got a 13th month bonus in November.

“My organisation gives 13th-month salaries. I used mine to buy dollars. For the Xmas bonus, I don’t know if they will give, but I intend using it for general expenses.”

Nicholas is in his early 30s, and runs a small firm that installs security cameras and motion detectors. He intends giving his staff (and himself) Xmas bonuses.

“My staff have done well for me this year. We didn’t make much money compared to one or two years ago, but nevertheless, I will give them Xmas bonuses, as well as chicken and small bags of rice.”

This would, however, mean cutting his bonus

“In order for me to do that, I’ve cut down on my bonus this year. I intend spending my bonus on furniture. You know i just had another child. So I had to move to a bigger space.”

Iyke works in a stockbroking firm and intends to save his 13th-month bonus.

“Yes I will be getting a bonus in December. I intend saving mine for a few professional exams I’m considering next year. I’m thinking of doing CFA and you know it’s quite expensive.”

How to spend a bonus

There is no one-size-fits-all approach to how one should spend a bonus. Factors to consider include the number of dependents one has, as well as one’s socioeconomic status.

You could, however, decide to split the bonus into four. A quarter going to savings/investments, a quarter towards expenses associated with the festive season. This could involve spending on family, and colleagues. The third quarter could go towards buying yourself a gift, and the last quarter to any charitable works.

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