9 smart things to do with your tax refund
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For those of you still collecting your taxes and wondering what kind of refund you might get, there’s good news: CNBC reports that the IRS has already issued 22 million refunds for 2021 taxes. average is $3,536. It’s serious money, and if you didn’t expect to get it, you wouldn’t have planned on how to use it, either.
You probably have a long list of things you would like to do that require a little cash capital. And while a spontaneous trip to Las Vegas might seem appealing when that refund rolls around, there are other things you can do with that money that will put you in a better financial position in the future. Here are smart things to do with a tax refund, no matter the size.
What to do with a $500 refund
Take a course to boost your CV
Your skills are your currency and having certain skills on a resume instantly qualifies you for higher paying jobs. Showing certain certifications on that resume can make you more attractive to recruiters and put you in a position to ask for a higher salary. However, courses are usually not free (or cheap). If there’s a class that might open the doors to higher earning potential, but costs a little money, use your tuition reimbursement. You will get back much more than what you invested.
Save for a rainy day
If there’s one thing we’ve all learned from the pandemic, it’s that anything can change in an instant and due to circumstances beyond our control. If you got sick, used up all your sick leave, and still couldn’t return to work, how would you pay your bills? If you were laid off unexpectedly, would you be financially ready for it? The bank rate reports that about half of Americans have less than three months savings for regular expenses. However, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that the average person remains unemployed for just over five months. Five hundred dollars can be a good start for an emergency fund for a rainy day.
Do a home renovation
Do you have a room that desperately needs a repaint? You wanted to put up a beautiful fence to attract attention? Want to turn a guest bedroom into a home office? Having a home that looks good can improve your mood. Sage Journals even reports that the colors of an environment greatly affect our moods, so repainting a room or part of your home can make a big difference in things like creativity, happiness, and even productivity. Use your $500 to finally get started on this home improvement project.
What to do with a $1,500 refund
Start a savings account
A savings account will be different from your emergency fund in that an emergency fund is in your checking account to be accessible, but a savings account must remain intact. It is meant to spark interest and grow. Opening a savings account is a smart thing to do with $1,500. Many banking institutions require a certain minimum in savings accounts to avoid fees, and $1,500 will allow you to avoid these fees. Credit Karma reports that most savings accounts grow with compound interestso $1,500 can go up dramatically pretty quickly.
Open an education savings account
A 529 account is a tax-free education plan. Funds must be used to pay for education and any US-based adult aged 18 and over can open one. They can use the funds for any designated beneficiary, including themselves, making this a great type of account for someone hoping to go back to school. Earnings from these accounts grow sheltered from federal tax, making them a great part of a long-term plan to fund education — yours or someone else’s.
Buy something for your business
Wherever you are in your business – whether you haven’t even started it or have been running it for a while – there’s something your business could need. If you’re looking to start a business, you can use your $1,500 to create and design a website. If you have a physical business, you may need more equipment. You can use these funds as an investment in your business, that is, an investment in yourself.
What to do with a $3,000 refund
Contribute to an IRA
The Institute of Investment Companies reports that 37% of US households Have an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). An IRA can be an important part of a retirement plan. Investopedia reports that a properly diversified IRA can grow 7-10% per year. Moreover, they grow with compound interest. IRAs benefit from tax-free growth and withdrawals upon retirement. Three thousand dollars is a good amount to start an IRA and see how that number grows in a year could encourage you to contribute again next year.
Pay off the debt
The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances reports that the average US household has just over $6,000 in credit card debt. Meanwhile, Investopedia reports that the average interest rate for all credit cards is 19.49%. It is expensive money. If you have high debt, use your $3,000 to pay it off to stop wasting money on those interest payments.
Work on that installment for home
If buying a house has been a dream, then that $3,000 can get you closer. That might not seem like a lot, but remember that some FHA and conventional loans will only allow borrowers to put down 3 or 3.5%. While a small payment won’t get you much equity upfront, if you hold onto the home long enough to see it appreciate, it can be a smart type of mortgage for some buyers.