5 Smart Things to do with Your Tax Refund
It’s always tempting to see a tax refund as a windfall to be used for something fun and frivolous, like a shopping spree or throwing a big party. But remember, the government isn’t giving you anything that wasn’t yours all along. It’s not really ‘free’ money, so why treat it that way? Make the most of your tax refund by using it one (or more) of the following ways:
Pay Down Credit Card Debt – Identify your credit card with the highest interest rate and use your tax refund to pay off as much of the balance as you can. It might not be the most fun way to use the money, but you’ll be glad you did it when you see the balance drop dramatically on next month’s statement.
Build Up Your Emergency Fund – A tax refund is the perfect way to significantly grow your emergency fund. Remember, this is the money you set aside to use for everyday expenses in the event of a true emergency, such as job loss or major home repair. It can be hard to build up a balance that feels significant, and your tax refund will really help. And if you don’t yet have an emergency fund already set up, use your tax refund to get it started.
Invest in Your Home – Use your tax refund to do one or more of the home improvement projects you’ve been wanting, such as painting a few rooms, getting new kitchen cabinets, or replacing sinks, faucets or other bathroom fixtures. These small changes go a long way toward keeping your home looking and feeling up-to-date and actually add to its resale value.
Pay for Your Summer Vacation – While summer still feels like an impossible dream in most parts of the country, it will be here faster than you think. If you have a summer vacation planned, put away your tax refund to pay for it. You’ll enjoy your vacation that much more knowing you aren’t going into debt to pay for it.
Invest in Your Career – Use your tax refund to boost your earning power by enrolling in classes, attending a conference or getting additional certifications (if applicable). You may not see the ROI right away, but the next time you’re being reviewed or interviewing for a new job, your added skills and knowledge will give you the confidence to negotiate for what you’re worth.