Few people enjoy doing their taxes, but most of us love getting a tax refund! Receiving a check for a substantial sum of money can inspire impulsive behavior in many people who are quick to rush out and blow it on something frivolous. But, there are many wise ways to spend your refund money that will pay off in the long run instead of just bringing you instant gratification. A little planning goes a long way, and figuring out how you spend your refund once you get it could prevent you from wasting it and suffering from regret as a result.
If you don’t already have an emergency fund, you absolutely must start one. Life is full of uncertainty and you don’t want to be caught unprepared for the worst. Ideally, you should have three to six months-worth of income banked, but any little bit helps. A tax refund of any amount would be a great source for funding a saving’s account.
If you already have an emergency fund, then you should use your refund to pay off debt. Some financial experts suggest starting with the account that has the highest interest rate, while others recommend paying down the account with the smallest balance first. Either way, paying off debt is one of the smartest ways you can use your tax refund.
If you have children, using the refund to seed a college tuition savings plan is wise. If you are not a parent, then invest in yourself by contributing to a Roth IRA, buying into a stable real estate market, or diversifying your portfolio.
Some may say going on vacation is indeed frivolous, but vacations can be beneficial to your mental health, and in turn, your physical health. If you were planning to go on a vacation this year anyway, use your refund to prepay for it. Imagine how much more enjoyable your getaway will be knowing it’s already been paid in full.
Add up all the money you spend on a year’s worth of birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, etc., and you may be shocked! Use your refund to open a “special occasion” savings account to draw from when you go to buy gifts for your loved ones, or food and decorations for the holidays.
You probably have a cause that’s close to your heart. Consider donating your money to a charity that helps sick kids, abandoned animals, or the homeless. If you have a hard time choosing one charity, donate across several that mean something to you.
Perhaps you need a new roof, or your water heater is on the blitz. Perhaps you have desperately wanted to tile your backsplash, or get new windows. Using the found money that is your tax refund is an excellent way to upgrade your abode.
Remember that great idea you have always wanted to implement, and possibly even profit from? Use your tax refund to seed a new business. Whether you need supplies to make hand-crafted jewelry, or a month’s rent for a retail space, your refund may be the impetus you need to realize your dreams.
Look within your circle of friends and family members to determine if one of them may need some financial help. Your aunt may have crippling medical bills due to unexpected surgery, or your godson might be struggling to land his first job. Maybe your neighbor recently became widowed and can’t afford to get her car’s transmission fixed. If you can afford it, and are so inclined, helping out a loved one is always rewarding.
Managing your money can be hard. Sometimes, consulting a financial professional for advice is the wisest investment of your funds that you can make. Find a reputable advisor and discover how you should spend your tax refund.