With the average tax refund check running into the thousands for many ($3,000 on average according to CBS News), car dealers, mall stores and other retailers are drooling at the sight of consumers running to the mailbox for their checks.
How about being different this year and investing your refund in, well, you! Now that doesn’t mean buying the latest jeans or shoes. It means investing in your future.
• Enhance your education. Go back to college to upgrade your craft, take a course at a community college or invest in a seminar on anything that will increase your value in the job force.
• Pay off or reduce your debt, especially with high interest credit cards. Truth is, once you pay off the ones with high interest rates, you will increase your credit rating and be able to get cards with better interest rates, although it’s best to just stay clear of building credit card debt, period.
• Buy things to make things. We spend way too much on coffee, soda and even water. But we can now have these things at home and save a bundle over time. Buy your own espresso machine, invest in a water filter and if you must have soda, buy one of those machines to make your own!
• Put it into your home. Increase your home’s value by adding a deck, repairing those raggedy stairs or painting inside and out.
• Pay upfront for a vacation. Don’t lop hotels, airline tickets, etc. onto your credit cards if you can just pay for much of it with cash.
• Check your insurance. With so much adverse weather across the country, it may be a wise investment to fill any holes you may have in insurance coverage, especially if own your own house. Also look into your life policies and make sure that you and your family are properly protected.
• Invest in others. That could be your kids (opening a savings account or college fund), but it could also be charitable organizations. You’ll feel good and you can also use it as a tax write-off for next year.
• Buy shares in a company. Just be smart and look for stocks from companies that you know aren’t going to ever go belly up. Check online for stocks to watch or consult with older family members or friends and ask what’s been working for them.
• Stock it away in an IRA. Let it earn for you and your retirement. Be disciplined enough to put it or a good chunk of it somewhere where you won’t be tempted to spend it.
• Rebuild your savings. A lot of people have had to raid their savings accounts over the last several years for a variety of years. It’s important to have a cushion for emergencies, so put something back into your savings or add to an existing one, or start one! Check with some of the major banks that offer actual money if you open an account with them. For example, Chase was offering $100 to anyone who opened an account with them.