It’s that time of year again… tax season! For many, this means an exciting tax refund. While it can be tempting to take this cash windfall and splurge on a shopping spree, you may want to reconsider. There are a number of great ways to use this influx of cash to improve your financial situation. Below are some smart uses for your tax refund you may want to consider:
Pay Off Debt
One of the best ways to use your tax refund is to put it towards debt repayment. Consider putting it towards the highest interest debt you owe, as this will save you the most money in the long run.
Top Up Your Emergency Fund
If you’ve recently had to dip into your emergency fund (or haven’t even started one), your tax refund can be a great way to top it back up again. Remember, it is generally recommended that you have at least 3-6 months’ worth of savings in your emergency fund!
Whether a Roth IRA, stocks, bonds, or mutual funds, your investment options are nearly endless. The opportunity to earn even more money can be a great use of your tax refund. If you’re new to investing and not sure what options make the most sense for you, consider talking a financial planner or investment advisor.
Put It Towards Your Children’s Future
If you have children, you can do them a huge favor by using your tax refund to set up a 529 College Savings Plan.
"There are people who have money and people who are rich"
Make Home Improvements
Try to limit your spending to needed improvements, such as a new roof or more energy efficient windows. Also consider whether you’ll see an ROI on your investment. For instance, kitchen and bathroom improvements tend to have the highest returns on investment. Remember, your home is an investment, and at the end of the day, if you are going to be spending money on it, you want to ensure you are increasing your property value.
Don’t feel like you necessarily need to do anything exciting with the money! Simply putting it in your savings account is still a responsible use of the money. However, don’t do this if you have more pressing financial matters to attend to such as multiple debts owed, as you want to avoid paying more interest than necessary on those debts.
Donate to Charity
Rather than several smaller charitable contributions throughout the year, you may find it more manageable to earmark your tax refund as a yearly lump sum contribution to your favorite charity.
While these options may not feel as “fun” as a last-minute weekend getaway or new handbag, your future self will thank you for making responsible financial decisions. Of course, if your plan all along was to use your tax refund for a big expense you’ve been considering for a long time, there’s nothing wrong with that! Just try to avoid blowing it on impulse purchases and first consider whether any of the above options make more sense for your financial well-being. Happy tax season!
It isn't always easy to stay on top of your finances, especially when you have developed unhealthy spending habits over the years. However, as you begin to realize the many benefits of having healthy finances, it can become something you want to make a conscious effort to improve. When your finances are in a good place, you often have access to better opportunities whether it be a mortgage loan, greater credit line or business loan. On that note, here is how you can become an expert at managing your finances in case you need a few tips.
Learn to Use Technology
The good thing about managing finances in the technological age is that you don't have to do it alone. There are so many apps available that will help you pay bills on time and track your expenses. For instance, some apps force you to live within your actual income and tell you what to do when you need to balance your budget.
If you need an app that will help you get better at saving, then some will set aside your spare change for you. Also, don't be afraid to use more simple tools such as your smartphone calendar to set reminders about payments if you don't automate them.
Seek Legal Advice
Sometimes, being an expert at something means understanding that you can't possibly know it all. This is why you have professionals around you that can help fill in the gaps where you're lacking. Consider hiring a legal firm to help with any challenges that are beyond you. Lexington Law is a good firm as they could help remove negative items from your credit report. Read this Lexington Law Review (Our #1 Credit Repair Service of 2019) to find out more about how they could help improve your finances.
You can't do better than what you know when it comes to managing finances. You should, therefore, invest your time in learning more about finances and how to manage them. Think about what your goals for your finances are and what knowledge gaps you need to fill.
For example, if you want to invest in the stock market so that you can improve your net worth, then you may need to learn more about investing to do so successfully. To boost your knowledge, try reading articles on credible blogs that share finance information from professionals. Also, be weary of content from finance-driven companies as it could be biased.
Work on Growing Your Income
As a self-proclaimed finance guru, you know that the more sources of income that you have, the better. Work on increasing your streams of income so that you have more money to meet your targets whether it's to save for a property or put larger sums towards retirement. One way to do so would be by getting extra income by doing social media marketing for businesses or creating tutorials on YouTube. If you own a property, renting out rooms is a great way to make passive income.
Live Within Your Means
It can be difficult to live within your means when you live in a society that is always presenting you with things to buy. However, being more conscious about the things that you purchase could help you realize that most are wants rather than needs. To live within your means, always take time to think about a purchase as opposed to impulse spending. You should always get good at bargain hunting as many times you can find items of similar quality at a cheaper price.
Learn How to Manage Debt
Debt doesn't have to be a bad thing if you understand how it works and how to manage it. It can be a tool for credit building when you understand the fundamentals. For instance, if you take out a loan or credit card, always be mindful of your interest rates.
By paying the amount of money you borrowed back in full before the due date, you won't have to pay interest on what you borrowed. If you can't pay back in full, paying more than the minimum payment will ensure you incur less interest. For the most part, the secret to good debt management is never spending more than you can afford to pay back.
Managing finances is a life skill that can help improve your quality of life. By following the mentioned tips and taking your finances more seriously, you're more likely to master the art of healthy finances.