Green is the color of March—both as we prepare to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and as taxpayers look forward to receiving their tax refund in the mail. You’ve worked all year, gone through the hassle of filing your taxes, and now it’s the fun part—waiting for your refund. Nearly 80% of Americans receive a tax refund. If you’re one of these lucky individuals, you know there are endless ways you could spend your money, but consider how you could put it to the best use.
You earned it!
Before brainstorming the best ways to make the most out of your tax refund, it’s important to understand why you are receiving a refund. While many people think of their tax refund as a bonus, or extra money, this isn’t actually the case. The money you receive through a tax refund is actually income you earned. If you paid more taxes than you owed the previous calendar year, the government pays you back—this is your tax refund. Though this money is earned, most people don’t factor this into their day-to-day budget, which might make you think about your tax refund differently than you think about your weekly paychecks. If this is the case for you, take a moment to think of how you could spend it differently as well.
One way to stretch your tax refund is to make a payment that will reduce your debt. Do you have a monthly car payment, loan, or credit card bill? In most cases, you pay interest on these monthly bills. Instead of just making small payments, use the money from your tax refund to either completely pay off an item, or to dramatically reduce your amount owed, which would reduce the number of monthly payments you owe and reduce the amount of interest you would have to pay in the long run.
Take care of things you’ve delayed.
Have you been meaning to go to the dentist for a while, but haven’t had the funds? Or maybe you need new tires for your car, or to fix a leak at your house. It seems like there’s always something that needs our attention, but sometimes we just don’t have the money to address everything at once. Use your tax refund as an opportunity to check some things off of your list. You’ll feel good that you’re getting things done, and you won’t have to use the money you rely on from your paycheck.
Keep the future in mind.
If you’re caught up-to-date on payments and you don’t have any pressing needs, consider investing the money in your future. Prepay predictable bills, such as insurance, in advance. Go ahead and pay for any memberships or subscriptions now. Set money aside in an emergency fund in case an unexpected cost arises, such as a doctor’s bill or repair. Emergency funds can also be beneficial in case you have a lull between jobs.
If you could use more money throughout the year, stop by your local Penmac office to learn more about employment opportunities available in your area.