10 Smart Things to Do With Your Tax Refund

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You work hard all year. You pay your taxes and hope that you might get a refund when it comes time to file your income tax return.

Of course, if you’re lucky enough to get a refund, you might be asking yourself, “What should I do with it?” Sure, you could buy those new sneakers you’ve been wanting or that luxury handbag, but you have other choices, too. 

If you think you might want to do something with your income tax refund that could potentially help you now or further down the road, here are some options to consider.

  1. Pay Down/Off Existing Debt: Do you have credit cards with debt that you’re carrying over each month? Or other loans that you need to pay off? Using your tax refund to pay down or even pay off existing debt is definitely a smart choice. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of interest you’re paying or get rid of a bill altogether.
  2. Replenish Your Emergency Fund: Do you have an emergency fund? Perhaps an emergency fund that you had to dip into this past year? Use your refund to replenish your emergency fund (or create one if you don’t have one already). This ensures that you will have a little bit of extra cash should something unexpected happen.
  3. Put Some Into Your Retirement Account: Retirement may seem like a long way off – but saving for retirement should happen early in your life. Dave Ramsey has an Investment and Retirement Calculator that you can use to do some planning – and remember it’s never too late to start putting money away for your later years.
  4. Invest: Why not take your tax refund and invest in something? Yes, this will require some research to make sure you’re making the right choice for the money you have – but it could pay off in the end.
  5. Start Saving: Are you looking to make a big purchase in the future? Then start saving now. Check with your bank to see what types of savings accounts are available to you and if any of them generate interest so that you can grow your money while you save.
  6. Donate to a Charity: If you have the ability, you might donate your refund to a charity you support. Charity Navigator can help you find a trustworthy charity if you are unsure. They have a list of reputable charities and provide useful information to people looking to make donations. 
  7. Start a College Fund: Even if you have young children, it’s never too early to start thinking about their future – and starting a college fund might be a good use of your refund. Dave Ramsey shares three college-saving strategies, plus some other useful tips for students.
  8. Invest in Yourself: You can always use your refund to invest in yourself. Perhaps there are courses you’d like to take to advance your career or that will be beneficial for your current position. Enroll with your tax refund and get started!
  9. Start a Business: Have you dreamed of starting your own business or a side hustle for some additional income? Maybe your tax refund is just the starter money you need! Create a budget and see if you can make your dream a reality.
  10. Purchase Life Insurance: If you don’t have life insurance, your refund could help you purchase some. Talk with your insurance agent and see what options are available to you and what the financial commitment would be.

If you’re receiving a tax refund this year – congrats! Now it’s time to decide what you’re going to do with it – and maybe one of these ideas will be the answer.

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