It’s that time of year, tax refund season, yes, that time when some of you get money back from your tax return. What do you do with the money now? Of course, your first thought may be to spend it all, especially since it is “found” money, but wait, there are better choices. Here are 6 smart ways to use that money to achieve impressive benefits and a fair dose of instant gratification.
- Start an emergency fund right now. If you don’t have one, this money is a great starting point. The general consensus is that you need at least six months (I say at least 9 months) of living expenses saved in case of an emergency or job loss. Getting started or beefing up an existing account will allow you to rest easier.
- Upgrade your home appliances. If you have anything home related that is giving you problems or about to, now is the time to fix the problem and give yourself peace of mind. Also, home improvements now will pay you dividends over time and you will enjoy a more comfortable home in the meantime.
- Pay down credit card debt. This should be at the top of the list. Paying off a high interest credit card saves you money down the road.
- Put it in an IRA. If you don’t have an IRA, start one. Studies have shown that Americans don’t have anywhere near the savings they should at retirement. If you are in that number, this is a chance to catch up.
- Go back to school. If your financial house is in order, how about investing in yourself? Taking some of the money and taking weekend or night classes can be a chance to upgrade your professional credentials or check out other career options. This could be a great way to leverage that money into a promotion, raise or better job down the job.
- Join a gym or buy a bike. This choice allows you to improve your physical health. When you can, riding a bike can save you money on gas and car repairs while improving physical fitness and joining a gym will give you an opportunity to take care of your body. Studies have shown that productivity is positively impacted and related to fitness and health. However you do it, an investment in your health can reap big rewards.