As if it isn't bad enough that 76% of Americans are living paycheck to paycheck, there are a lot of people sitting around waiting for their tax refunds to hit their direct deposit so they can buy all of these things that they probably couldn't otherwise afford.
Those of us who have a problem with spending money before we get it have probably already calculated down to the penny what we're going to spend our tax refunds on.
This year, I will not be one of those people. I have bigger things in mind besides a shopping spree or big ticket item purchase.
I'm pretty new to this tax refund thing (three years to be exact), but I've learned from the mistakes of the people around me who I've watched blow tax refund checks and of course my own experience blowing money fast. Unfortunately, many of us are never formally educated about this tax refund business and just learn from what we see. Most people see their tax refunds as “free money" from the government but it absolutely is not. Your tax refund is nothing more than the excess amount of your money that you paid to the federal government throughout the year. Keyword, YOUR money.
Let's make this tax refund season the one that helps shape our financial futures instead of a trial period of the “lavish life". Here are some of the things that I plan on doing with my tax refund check this time around:
Paying down credit card debt
Whether you have one credit card or 10, owing folk's money is NOT cute. The first thing I'm doing with my tax refund money is paying off a good portion of my credit card balances. Some experts say to start with the card that has the highest interest rate, but considering the rates on my cards are relatively close to one another, I will be starting with the card with the least amount of debt. When that balance is zero, I'm on to the next.
Paying some bills in advance
People come and go, but bills, my dear, are here to stay. Of course you could wait to pay your bills on their respective due dates as you usually would, but what harm is there in getting a head start on next month? And the month after? None whatsoever. Making some advance payments on some bills can ease some of that “first of the month" blues.
Putting some coins to the side
I've gotten into the habit of always having some emergency money stashed away somewhere because quite frankly, sh*t happens--like my MacBook wanting to give up on me every few months or so (yes, I'm in my feelings). You never know what the future holds, so just in case something crazy happens, make sure you have the money to take care of it without being broke afterwards. I definitely will be dropping some coins into my savings for the rainy days.
Investing in your work/career
Whether it's a business that you want to start or career move that you're looking to make in the near future, things that usually bring you money take some sort of monetary investment. Simply put, it takes money to make money. Investing in something now that can secure you a bomb financial future is a sure win.
Revamping your work space (especially if you work from home)
As a writer, I do a lot of work from home whether I'm writing for my own site or freelancing for another publication. In the last few months of my writing career, I've been slowly adding things to my home workspace to make me work more productively. Now, I can take care of the things that are more for aesthetics than productivity, like a new bookshelf and wall decor. FUN!
A treat of your choice
I'd be doing a disservice if I sat here and acted like tax refund checks were all work and absolutely no play. Haha, imagine that! Some people like their money where they can see it, like in their closet in the form of clothes. I'm more of an experience kind of gal. I'm not going to use my whole tax refund check to fund a big lavish vacation but I will put a few dollars to the side as my vacation spending money for when I go away in March. Treat yourself as long as it isn't going to put you right back at square one.
Now that you guys have gotten to see where my head is at, I'd love for you all to share some of the responsible (another keyword) ways that you plan on spending your tax refund check. That's if your spending it at all of course!