Every time your employer distributes your paycheck or deposits money into your checking account they forward a little chunk of your earnings over to Uncle Sam. When tax season rolls around you may get to recoup those funds in the form of a tax refund. So what are the best ways to use that money? Here are five financially savvy suggestions:
1. Invest in Your Home
Could your kitchen or bathroom use a touchup? Does your wallpaper look outdated? Is your paint cracking? Consider using your tax refund on home improvement projects that will boost the value of your house and make you feel more comfortable living inside of it. You don’t have to remodel the entire house or make major changes. Consider upgrading appliances, applying a few coats of new paint or replacing the knobs on your kitchen cabinets. These will all make a big difference. You could also use your tax refund to permanently lower your electric bills. Not sure where to begin, try swapping your current light bulbs with LEDs and installing a programmable thermostat to help you save money for the long haul.
2. Invest in Your Skills
Take a hard look at your job. Are you happy in your current profession? Would you like to advance your position or further your career? If so, consider using your tax refund to pay for additional training that will provide you with invaluable knowledge and skills. Right now you can receive 14% off any course at 360 Training. Learn about entrepreneurship, leadership and general business skills or increase your expertise in a wide range of fields including real estate, human resources, information technology and environmental health and safety. You could also use your tax refund to become a member of a professional organization where you can meet other like-minded individuals who have a passion for the type of work you do. When you invest in your skills you are bound to increase your value at work and ultimately increase your paycheck as well.
3. Invest in Your Passion
Have you ever wanted to play a musical instrument or write a book? Do you want to fine tune your painting talents or become a more proficient photographer? Have you dreamed of preparing magnificent meals or baking and decorating Martha Stewart worthy birthday cakes? If you’ve ever wanted to start a new hobby or fine tune one you already love then consider using your tax refund to pay for instructional classes. Do you want to get paid for your passion? Investing time on lessons and new equipment will help you take your passion to the next level. By spending wisely your hobby could eventually become a second or even full time job.
4. Invest in Your Children
A tax refund can go along way towards saving for your child’s education. Contribute that money to your kid’s 529 plans and watch it grow until your child needs it for college. Is your child preparing for college entrance tests like the SATs, GREs or ACTs? Would they benefit from study guides, specialized courses or one-on-one instruction? Get your child off to the right start by using your tax refund to pay for test preparation courses available from Kaplan. With a little extra practice and instruction they are bound to get top-notch scores.
5. Invest in Your Health
Did you set a New Year’s resolution to get fit or lose weight? Have you been struggling to keep up with that goal? Why not use your tax refund to pay for fitness classes, a gym membership or a few visits from a personal trainer? We all know that an unhealthy lifestyle is more expensive than a healthy one. Over time you will pay more for medical bills as the cost of insurance and procedures is constantly rising. Use your tax refund to get in shape and feel better about your body. Right now you can obtain free class passes and deeply discounted memberships at Gold’s Gym.
Before that check arrives from the government put a plan in place for how you want to spend your tax refund. Don’t waste your hard earned money. Consider the five financially savvy tips above instead.