5 Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

Need ideas for your tax refund dollars? Try these tips and suggest some of your own!

1. Put a dent into your debt

As obvious as it may seem, this should be the first thing on your list. If you are anything like me, your credit card is still sweating from the holiday parties and gifts. While it’s easier said than done, pay yourself a little peace-of-mind and lop off some (if not all) of your debt! Whether it’s ideal for your credit score or not, nothing feels better than a $0 balance on your credit card… well… maybe a good pair of boots!

2. Upgrade your wardrobe

I used to hate buying clothing. I would never hesitate to drop $60 on the latest Final Fantasy game or spend $50 on CDs and Blu-rays on “New Release Tuesday,” but I was always hesitant to spend $30-70 on something I would use multiple times per month and presumably keep around for years. The fact of the matter is, no matter how many times you think you will re-watch Spielberg’s latest masterpiece or play through that 40 hour RPG, you don’t live in consumable goods. Spending money on good clothing may seem an absurd thing for some, but for many, it feels great to look great. New clothes can boost confidence, attract others, and show that you mean business.

Spending $100-200 dollars doesn’t mean just a pair of shoes and dress shirt. A little time at Gap or waiting for a great deal at Banana Republic will prove that your hard earned money can go a very, very long way! Pick up a good pair of denim, grab two or three tops, and select a timeless $30 Timex watch from to freshen up your look! And, as I mentioned in the tip above, snag some good boots if you can!

3. Delightful dining

This tip flew under my radar until I thought about my own tax refund. With tools like Yelp and Foursquare, there is no excuse not to eat great at a great price. And with a little extra change in your pocket, who says you can’t splurge a little! $100 will surely buy you (and a date) a fantastic meal. If you are having trouble finding a joint, try using Food Network’s On The Road restaurant finder.While average food may be fleeting, a fantastic meal will stick in your mind and on your taste buds for years to come!

This tip also my be subtext to take a vacation to a place with great food. If you happen around the San Francisco area, might I suggest Wayfare Tavern, Don Pisto’s, or Vicoletto?

4. Something timeless

Technology becomes obsolete. Games become dated. Code becomes unreadable. The trend with the previous two tips is timelessness. While food sticks in your memory and clothing sticks in your closet, their luster may occasionally need rejuvenation. If you really want to get the most out of your tax refund dollars, find something truly timeless. Some ideas include a watch or a bookcase full of hardbound classic novels.

Now, I challenge you to set aside your definition of timelessness. There are plenty of us hiding from that tried and true New Year’s resolution of loose weight / exercise more / run a marathon / bench 250 lbs. / get back to your drivers license weight / fit into those skinny jeans / etc., and grabbing some workout gear might be the push you need to get started! While the gear may not be timeless, the results can be! I have my reasons to believe that jogging is the best of all workouts, but don’t let me stop you from buying some weight lifting gloves and/or a yoga mat. If you are of the gaming type, there are apps and tools like Nike+ that can gamify your progress. With those few extra bucks in your pocket, buy a Wii and Wii Fit! While not the most accurate, games like Wii Fit may be the catalyst for your successful workout regimen and your future self!

5. Save it!

While this is another obvious tip, it is usually the hardest to heed. I will speak for myself in stating that I also struggle with this tip. It is very easy to squander away that tax refund cash. I mean, it’s just extra money, right? It’s my year-end bonus to myself! Wrong.

If you haven’t spent your entire tax refund on credit card debt, clothing, food, and/or a timeless piece, save it! Save it for a vacation. Save it for college spending money. Save it for that marathon you’ve been meaning to run. Save it for the future of your kids. Save it for an engagement ring or your wedding. Save it because it’s nice to have a security cushion when you least expect it. If you are a calculated person, take at least 30% of your tax refund and put it into a savings account before having a little fun. To my knowledge, saving a little money never hurt anyone.

How do you pan on spending your tax refund? Sound off in the comments below!


Kyle Starr is the writer of and The State of Gaming. Find Kyle on Twitter at @_kylestarr.


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