Use Your Refund Wisely

It’s that time of year again: tax time! If you’re lucky enough to be getting a refund, the money experts have some tips for wise ways to spend it. The first one at least, may surprise you.

1. Set aside some for yourself
Take at least a small percentage of your money and do something nice for yourself. This will give you the incentive to do something smart with the rest of the money.

2. Pay down your credit cards
Starting with the cards that have the highest interest rates, this is the perfect way to use what often feels like “found” money. If you’re thinking “that’s no fun!” consider the amount of fun you’ll have next month when the bills come due and there’s one less to pay. Even if you’re working on minimum payments (rarely a smart strategy), the cash flow increase over time will mean something new you can do or buy or have – like a savings account!

3. Put it toward your tax bill
If you’re required to make quarterly tax payments, applying your refund toward your next tax bill will save you the expense when that time comes. Likewise, if you’ve recently become self-employed, consider last year’s refund as making up for the hit you may take this year.

4. Consider the long-term
It may not feel like a few hundred (or a few thousand) dollars can make a difference in the long-term, but it can if it’s well-placed. Whether you want to start a Roth IRA or start saving for your kids college, consider using your tax return to contribute to an investment account!

5. If you’re a homeowner…
Use your money for home improvements. It will increase the value of your home when it comes time to sell and you won’t feel the dent in your pocket nearly as much as if you coughed up the cash (or worse, put it on credit)!

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