If you’re someone who receives a tax refund, the sudden surge in cash, no matter how large or small, is sure to put a smile on your face. You overpaid your taxes for the year and now you have some extra money you weren’t necessarily expecting. So, what do you do with your tax refund? Here is a list of 20 smart money moves you can make with your tax refund:
1. Start or add to your emergency fund It’s always a good idea to have rainy day money for the ‘just in case’ moments in life.
2. Put it towards something you’ve been saving for Maybe you’ve been saving for a large purchase like a car or new technology. Your tax refund may not cover all of it, but it can certainly help you save up for that big-ticket item a little faster.
3. Pay down a debt If you have credit card debt, this is exactly where your tax refund should go. Get rid of those high interest payments first!
4. Make a home improvement Home improvements can increase the value of your home and your level of enjoyment in your home. You can definitely use a tax refund to tackle that landscaping project, put in those French doors or put it towards any home improvement project you’ve been dying to get to.
5. Give it away to a charity Giving money away to your church or a cause you believe in is a wonderful way to use your tax refund and may become a tax write off on next year’s return.
6. Invest it in your business Own a business? This extra surge in cash can be put towards new equipment, software, inventory or something else that can make your business run more efficiently and be more profitable.
7. Buy something you want (within reason) Although not the most financially savvy option, it’s ok to splurge on yourself every once in a while when you’ve been working hard to save and tackle debt.
8. Make an extra mortgage payment Making extra mortgage payments help you pay down the principal amount of your loan faster, reducing the length of your loan and interest payments.
9. Have an experience Buy an experience with your tax refund instead of an item. Experiences create memories that have much stronger lasting gratification than a shiny new toy.
10. Buy someone a gift If you’re the generous type, show someone you care about them by buying them a gift just because.
11. Invest in yourself Prioritize your own personal and professional development by investing in your growth.
12. Open a Roth IRA If you haven’t opened a Roth IRA yet, you can use your tax refund to open one now. I like how these retirement accounts work and recommend them even if you already have a 401(k).
13. Save it for your child’s education Open or make a contribution to a 529 plan that specifically allows you to set money aside for education purposes.
14. Pay it forward Next time you’re at Starbucks, pay for the guy or gal in line behind you. Spreading goodwill and good cheer is an excellent use of money any time of the year.
15. Host friends and family Invite everyone over to your place and host a get together! Fun times all around and you won’t worry about dipping into your regular grocery budget this month.
16. Update your wardrobe Use a portion of the money to add one or two staple pieces to your wardrobe.
17. Re-energize your health Join yoga, Pilates or a gym. Try purchasing a couple of workout DVDs or spending a few extra dollars on healthier items at the grocery store. A healthier you could translate into reduced costs for medical expenses over the long term.
18. Visit friends or family Not everyone lives close to their friends and family. Maybe you can take that trip upstate or buy a plane ticket cross country to spend some good quality time together.
19. Be extra generous Give your mailman or garbage man a tip, leave a little extra for the waiter, buy an extra box of Girl Scout Cookies!
20. Do a little bit of everything Typically, I recommend a 50 / 30 / 20 allocation: 50% towards debt, 30% towards savings and 20% towards a splurge on yourself. This gives you the best of all worlds and ensures you’re putting the money to good use! What are you planning on spending your tax refund on this year? Tweet me @marybstorj!