If you are expecting a large tax refund this year, what will you do with it?
It might be tempting to spend this large windfall on shopping, eating out and other fun things.
However, a tax refund is also an opportunity to gain some financial headway and set you up in a better situation for the future.
Here are a few smart ways to use your tax refund this year:
Create an Emergency Fund
If you are currently living from paycheck to paycheck, you are treading water on the surface of your finances and any unexpected disaster can pull you under and cause you to start drowning in debt.
If your car breaks down, you lose your job, or you get ill or injured, you will need to borrow money to get your head above water again and this can take you on a downward spiral which is hard to get out of.
It is essential to have an emergency fund of at least six to eight months of savings to protect you for the unexpected situations which might arise in life.
Use your tax refund to get this savings account started and then slowly build it up more by adding a percentage from every paycheck.
Pay Off Your Credit Cards
Another very smart thing to do with your tax refund is to pay off any high interest debt which you have accumulated.
Credit card debt is draining your finances every month with high interest payments, so it should be the first debt that you pay off.
If you think about it, paying off a credit card charging interest at 18% or more is the same as buying a high-flying investment that gains at least 18% on the same amount of money.
The difference is that by paying down expensive debt, you actually are guaranteeing yourself that return on investment.
You can also contribute it towards paying down student loans, car loans and any other debt you might have.
Make Home Improvements
If you already have an emergency fund and you have paid off your credit cards, spending your tax refund on home improvements can also be a smart way to invest the money.
Renovations can help to increase the value of your property when you eventually resell it, especially when you upgrade the most important rooms such as the kitchen and the bathroom.
Also, green renovations such as adding sealed windows or energy-efficient appliances can save you money in the long run on your utility bills.
These are just a few clever ways that you can use your tax return to set yourself up for the future.
Do you have any other good ideas that you’d like to share?