April 15th is just around the corner, and if you haven’t filed your taxes with the IRS, it’s time to get started! If you’re one of the lucky ones who will receive a tax return this year, the sooner you submit your completed paperwork, the earlier you’ll receive that much-anticipated refund. In fact, according to the IRS, 9 out of 10 refunds are processed in just 21 days.
Still deciding what to do with your tax refund? It can be highly tempting to go on a shopping spree, but consider being a bit savvy with your funds this year. Five smart and responsible uses for your money include:
1. Use the money for your college tuition or student loans
As a college student, you’re either making tuition payments directly to the school or your student loans are footing the bill in the interim. Get one step ahead by using your tax refund to send an advance tuition or student loan payment. This is a great way to invest in your future, by getting one step closer to paying off your education.
2. Pay down credit card debt or other large payments
Have you racked up a bit of debt? If so, you’re probably paying a significant amount of money to keep up with mounting interest expenses. Making the minimum required payment each month ensures you’ll be paying off the balance for years to come. Combat your debt head-on by putting your tax refund toward settling or at least lowering your debt, and enjoy the feeling of improving your financial health!
3. Upgrade your computer for school
Have you been thinking about a new computer for a while now? Are you constantly struggling to work with a machine that seems to be on its last legs? Use your tax refund to purchase a computer that doesn’t make it difficult to complete your assignments. (Before you buy anything, ask what student discounts may be available!) You’ll be amazed at how much stress you can avoid just by having a device that functions properly.
4. Put the funds in a savings account or retirement fund
Saving for the future may not be the wildest way to spend your tax refund, but it’s certainly a wise choice. Use this opportunity to pad an existing savings account or retirement fund, or to open a new one. It’s never too early to start preparing for the future—or even for your kids’ future. Whether you’re saving up for a specific upcoming event or looking ahead to your golden years, you’ll appreciate having that savings available when you need it.
5. Save some and use a designated portion to treat yourself
There’s nothing wrong with spending some of your tax refund at the mall, on a vacation or in any other fun manner, as long as you’re smart about it. When you get your refund, send a certain amount to your savings account before allowing yourself to have fun with the rest. This way, you treat yourself without being tempted to spend the entire amount on a whim.