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9 Dumb Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund – And 1 Smart One

Would you buy a peacock with your tax refund?

When you think of spending your tax refund money do you think about the Bare Naked Ladies song If I had a million dollars? That’s definitely one thing that comes to mind. If you’re expecting a nice big tax refund from the Internal Revenue Service this year what are your plans for the money?

We can boil down your options to two choices: you can spend the money wisely or you can totally blow it. Just for fun, let’s say that you want to be completely irresponsible and careless with the money. What would you buy?

Buying exotic pets

If you’ve always wanted a pet but thought you couldn’t afford it, now is not the time to take the leap of faith. Exotic pets like a llama or an emu or a peacock don’t belong with people in their apartments, do they?

Blowing it on eating out

Have you ever wanted to go out to a nice meal with all your friends, order whatever you want and tell the waiter to put it on your tab? Before you book the VIP room carefully consider if one meal is really the way you want to spend your money.

Buying a boat

Spending your tax refund on one swift purchase may seem like a good idea at the time, but big purchases like boats and cars have maintenance costs that will keep going long after the money is spent.

Upgrading to a designer wardrobe

Admittedly it would be nice to have a personal stylist and personal shopper but just because you have a new financial windfall doesn’t mean you need to waste it on $300 shirts and $500 pairs of shoes.

Making good on your fitness resolutions

Maybe you want to join a gym, do a two week detox or hire a personal chef to help you live healthier. If you’ve never wanted to do any of these things before will you stick with them now?

Taking a once in a lifetime vacation

It’s called a once in a lifetime because it takes that long to save up for it.

Investing it and locking it all away.

Trust us you’ll regret it in about 24 hours and you’ll want access to it. Invest some of the money for retirement and put some into a rainy day savings account, but don’t deny yourself access to all the money.

Popping champagne and other expensive drinks

According to NY Magazine women regret spending money on expensive drinks a la Sex and the City. Let’s face it, no one needs to spend $16 on one cocktail when you can get the bottle for $35.

The latest technology

Whether you’re rich or poor no one needs to spend $700 on a new phone. No one. After you lay out the money it’s gone. Why not get a more moderate phone at $200 and use the rest of the money for something else that seems reasonable?

The one thing you should do with your tax refund this year

The one thing you should do with your tax refund is pay off credit card debt. Doesn’t that sound nice? Stop wasting money on interest charges, use your money wisely and help yourself become debt free.

If you are experiencing financial difficulty and are looking for a solution, non-profit credit counseling can help you make sense of all your options. ​Contact us today for a free financial assessment with one of our certified credit counselors.

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2 Responses to 9 Dumb Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund – And 1 Smart One

  1. John says:

    Having a tax refund in itself is dumb. I spend my tax refund on nothing at all because I change my withholdings throughout the year as needed to receive a refund near zero.

    The level of ignorance around tax withholding doesn’t surprise me really. Even my own mother was convinced I filed my taxes wrong the first year I had a child because I told her my refund was close to zero. She wouldn’t believe me no matter how much I tried to explain a w4 and witholdings to her.

    • Tracy East says:

      John – adjusting withholding to get the maximum in your paycheck makes a lot of sense and is a wise route to take for sure! For those who either don’t know how to adjust correctly or prefer to have a refund at the end of the year, there’s always a smart way to use that money 🙂

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