It’s tax season! Brace yourself. You’re about to be blasted with advertisements telling you to buy trendier clothes, a newer car, a bigger TV, or a faster computer. The beginning of the year is usually the time when people are ready to spend their tax returns on new or used cars and on their car repairs. With the average tax refund coming in at $3,120, temptations will be high and the commercials even flashier. Instead of buying something that will inevitably wear out or break why not spend your refund on something that has a lasting and positive impact on your life? Check out these seven ideas before you spend a cent of that refund!
Catch up on bills.
If you’ve ever felt the stress of bills piling up and the wave of relief you get from paying them off, you understand how priceless this feeling can be. Use your tax refund to bring as many of your balances to zero as you can. You’ll sleep more soundly, stress less about late fees, and won’t have to worry about using your next paycheck to play catch up!
Start an emergency savings fund.
Kids get sick. Tires pop. Phones break. Dogs eat stuff they shouldn’t. No matter how carefully you plan things out, unexpected expenses will come up. With an emergency savings fund, you’ll be more financially prepared for whatever life throws at you. But how much should you put back? According to the financial pros at MoneyUnder30, everyone should have a minimum emergency fund of two weeks’ pay or $1,000, whichever is greater. Their Emergency Fund Calculator can help you determine how much you’ll need.
Pay down debt.
Being in debt to a credit card company or lienholder can weigh on you, especially if your debt carries a high interest rate. Give yourself a clean slate! Use your tax refund to settle as much debt as you can. Depending on your refund, you may even be able to pay off your credit card balance or car loan completely. Now that’s a gift in itself.
Take care of auto repair or home maintenance.
Is your roof leaking? Your car heater making strange noises? It’s easy to sweep these sorts of repairs under the rug temporarily, but they could very easily bloom into something much worse. Your tax refund is a chance to make permanent fixes! Use your tax refund to make any necessary repairs and get your house and vehicle in tip-top shape.
Donate to your community.
We all have causes and organizations that are near and dear to our hearts. Maybe your cause is the animal shelter near your home, your church’s food bank, or even your child’s school! If you’re unable to spare anything from your usual paycheck but still want to give back, now’s the time to put your money where your heart is. Save your donation receipt and you can deduct your donation during tax season!
Buy a term life insurance policy.
Does your family depend on your income? Make sure they’re not left out in the cold should the unthinkable happen to you. A term life insurance policy can offer financial support to your loved ones for expenses like medical bills, funeral costs, mortgage payments, and even student loans. Plus, a 12-month term life insurance policy can often be purchased for much less than the average tax refund. Building a more secure financial future for your family? Now THAT’S something you won’t regret.
Buy auto insurance, or get ahead on your insurance payments.
It’s hard to have buyer’s remorse when you’re buying auto insurance. Without the right car insurance coverage, you could find yourself in legal trouble and in serious financial pain after a car accident. Use your tax refund to finally buy auto insurance or get ahead on your existing insurance payments. It could be one of the best investments you ever make!
Speaking of peace of mind, put your refund to work for you by spending or saving it in a way that brings you peace of mind. We all have regrets, from past relationships to our hairstyles in the 80’s. Don’t add “how I spent my tax refund” to the list. Get an auto insurance quote online to see just how cheap auto insurance can be. If you’re a Direct Auto Insurance policyholder, call 1-877-GO-DIRECT (1-877-463-4732) to get ahead on your current insurance payments today!
More About Tax Time
- 5 Places You Can File Your Taxes for Free
- Tax Facts: Getting a Refund [INFOGRAPHIC]
- Using Your Tax Refund to Buy a Car? Read This.