12 ways to use your tax return

Apr 14, 2017 | Real Life

You’re either waiting for your tax return, already have it, or blew through it weeks ago, no judgment. If you didn’t get one or had to pay money to the big man (IRS), this post is not for you (our condolences). If you haven’t decided how you’re going to put that tax refund money to use, we have some ideas for you.

Save, save, save

Maybe you’re saving for a bigger splurge? Have higher priced goals? Keep adding to your cash stash and before you know it you’ll have enough for your down payment. It’s also never a bad idea to save, just throwing that out there.

Pay off some debts

So, you just had to use your credit card to buy that expensive set of golf clubs. You’ve been paying it off slowly — but it’s still going to be a while until it’s paid off. If your return can help you live care-free and debt-free sooner rather than later, why wouldn’t you pay off those golf clubs??

Invest above the rest

You might be doing pretty well financially but saving can only do so much for you and your future. That small percent you get back from your savings account probably won’t give you enough for a retirement in Boca. Learning how to invest can help your financial future.  If you decide to invest you have to start with something, why not use your return?

Back to school fund

The thought of going back to school kept taking the back burner because you were strapped. Maybe you have a small fund ready for tuition but not for books, well now you do! Stop pushing it aside and put on your thinking cap because you’re going to go back to school!

No debt or got your emergency stash set up? Lucky you. Here are some ways to treat yourself.

Take a trip

You want to visit Barcelona, hike Mount Everest, or get away for the weekend. You didn’t have money before but low and behold your return has arrived. Take that trip, it’s worth it and you’ll have the time of your life. Want to visit somewhere a bit more expensive? Save your return and when you have enough, take the plunge!

Spa day

You’ve worked hard all year and now you have this extra cash. Take a spa day! Get a massage, get a mani-pedi. It’s time to take a breather and relax, you deserve it.

Build or add to your “oh-no-not-me” emergency fund

The only thing that can make an emergency worse is not being prepared. Having a cushion of money in case of emergencies gives you a leg up to unforeseen circumstances. Experts say having saved up around three months of expenses will cover most unpleasant surprises like a big car repair or a trip to the emergency room.

Feed your inner foodie

You have your order memorized at your favorite restaurant, and they probably have it memorized too. Reach outside your comfort zone and visit Fogo de Chao in Chicago (the one on the radio), or visit Carnivale, that Spanish place your annoying-but-good-at-food-recommendations-coworker raves about. You’ll get a new culinary experience and if you don’t end up liking it, at least you took a chance.

Summer concerts

Are you an avid music fan? Friends visiting over the summer? It’s time to ditch the replay button on your favorite playlist and hit up those concert halls and festivals. Best practice? Pick one big festival and save the rest of your money for next year’s concert.

Get ahead on gifts

There’s always a birthday, a wedding, a holiday, etc. Get ahead on getting those gifts and by the time of the event, you’ll be stress-free and ready to relax knowing you got the perfect gift on time.

Get the better wine

You don’t often splurge on your favorite wine and usually keep to the bottom racks, right? Raise your standards up a shelf! Try something new, your taste buds will thank you. So wine-not?  You deserve it.   

Pay it forward

Whether it’s donating to your favorite charity, paying for someone else’s meal, or helping a friend in need, find a way to work more giving into your routine. At the very minimum, be a good tipper.

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