What Are The Best Options With Your Tax Refund?

Tax day is approaching and after the gifting season, you are probably debating what to do with your tax refund. You may have earmarked it as money to “blow”—that is money you can frivolously spend on all the fun things you have wanted but could not afford. But is there a better use for this money?

While there are many ways to spend your refund check, you have the opportunity to use it frugally and not treat it as extra income. A tax refund is the money that you have earned over the prior year and have overpaid in tax with holdings.

Here are a few ideas to get you to think wisely about how you can invest your tax refund and thank yourself for your choice in the future.

1. Create or Build Up Your Emergency Fund

We always talk about the benefits of having an emergency fund to deal with unexpected expenses. Experts say that you should save at least six months of living expenses. Saving that much of money may take you some time, but if you start with the tax refund check you will have an immediately sizable balance in your fund for emergency use.

So, consider adding at least a small part of your tax refund to start an emergency fund if you do not have one already or add it to your existing one. You will be amazed at how free you will feel when you have prepared yourself for unexpected circumstances that life throws your way because the unplanned expenses will crops up.

2. Pay Down Debt

The next best thing to do after establishing your emergency fund is to reduce or pay off any debt hanging around. You can use part of your refund to start the debt elimination program of your choice by paying down your payday loans, debt consolidation loans, high-interest credit cards, private student loans, or car loans. It will not only boost your credit score but also save you hundreds of dollars in interest payments. This is a great way to maximize your refund dollars and help you to secure your financial future.

3. Make an Extra IRA Contribution

Roth IRA’s amazing benefits cannot be emphasized enough. Your Roth IRA distributions will be tax-free and you will not be penalized for any withdrawals you make after retirement age. Adding even small amounts to your Roth IRA can make you happier as your three-digit tax refund can grow into four-digits in a couple of years. If you do not have a retirement account then now is the best time to start one.

4. Donate to a Cause

If you are one of the lucky few who has your financial situation under control or even if you are on a tight budget, you can make a charitable donation with a portion of your tax refund if you itemize. It is an excellent way to help your community and it also may be tax-deductible.

5. Splash Out a Little Bit

While it is important to do what has been listed above, you should set aside a small portion of your tax refund to spend it on things you wanted to do but could not due to say a tight budget. Treat yourself and family to a nice dinner, purchase a new gadget you have been coveting, or buy gifts for Christmas, Valentine Day or your kids’ birthday. However, you should not go overboard with a huge unnecessary splurge that consumes the entire refund.

Whether your tax refund is a major windfall or a small amount you should be smart to put it towards improving your financial situation. How do you intend to spend your tax refund this year?