What is the average tax refund? The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has good news to pass along–finally! The average refund is an impressive $3,000. While it will not exactly enough to help fulfill your dreams of buying a yacht, an extra $3,000 can go a long way.
When you receive your refund as a check or direct deposit into your bank account, many of us ask, “What next?” Should you treat yourself? Put it into savings? There is not a single right answer. In fact, many Americans do a bit of both. According to the National Retail Foundation, half of U.S. men and women save part of their refund. Whether you plan to save, invest, or splurge, here are a few ideas to get you started:
Relax. Tax return shopping is very normal. Nine percent of U.S. households plan to make a big purchase and another 9% have a splurge purchase planned in the books.
What’s more, science shows that extrinsic motivation and tangible rewards are effective. In other words, treat yourself and do it wisely. If you want to establish a new exercise routine, eat more vegetables and fruit, or start whittling away the errands on your to-do list, giving yourself a reward for meeting small goals is a great way to do it.
If you have had your eye on a certain leather purse for a few months now, use that purse as extrinsic motivation. Set a goal, achieve it, and buy that purse as a reward!
Get Botox And Find Out What All The Hype Is About
Getting Botox can reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, and make you look years younger! Emerging research suggests that it may also be an effective way to treat migraines and relieve the symptoms of depression, too. Botox smooths away wrinkles by relaxing the muscles in your face. It turns out this process also blocks nerve endings and pain receptors, stopping pain in its tracks before your brain gets the message. For that reason, researchers conclude that Botox treatments every 12 weeks can serve a dual purpose–helping you achieve a more vibrant, youthful look and putting an end to your migraine headaches.
Similarly, there is growing evidence that Botox treatments may even alleviate depression. How is this possible? The specifics are still up for debate. Currently, researchers believe that, when Botox relaxes face muscles, it stops negative signals from being sent to the brain. When you are depressed, your muscles contract. You tense muscles in your forehead, cheeks, and around your mouth. Botox stops these muscles from tensing, perhaps suggesting to the brain that all is well (or, at least, somewhat better).
Whether you reap all the benefits of Botox–including migraine relief and fewer symptoms of depression–it will undoubtedly make you look younger. Fewer wrinkles and a more youthful experience boosts confidence. Put Botox on your tax return shopping list today.
Straighten Your Teeth
Are straight teeth the key to high self-confidence? Survey results published in Hello! Magazine certainly suggest that is the case. An overwhelming 67% of survey respondents say that they feel less confident owing to the appearance of their teeth. Use your refund to invest in your smile!
Choose from traditional metal braces or clear aligners and trays like Invisalign to correct crooked teeth. Metal braces are best for complex bite problems or malocclusions. If you have any worries about misplacing or forgetting to replace clear aligners, metal braces are an effective alternative.
Invisalign, on the other hand, is entirely transparent. It is great for adults who want to straighten their teeth without metal braces. Invisalign aligners can also be taken in and out, making it easier to clean teeth while straightening them.
According to Forbes, a lack of confidence has the potential to negatively impact your life and career. Stay on track by investing in your confidence and teeth.
Put Money Into a Health Savings Account
If you want to reduce your taxable income (get an even higher refund next year!) and contribute to savings, a health savings account (HSA) is a wise way to do it. A health savings account is a separate account for medical savings. It is not an option for everyone, although it can be a cost-effective and financial-savvy option for those with a qualifying high-deductible health insurance plan (HDHP). Find out if you qualify on healthcare.gov.
By contributing to a health savings account, you are saving up for potential medical emergencies and doing it without any tax penalties. If you add money, accrue savings, or withdraw money, those acts are not taxable. Further, funds in HSAs can be invested in mutual funds and stock funds.
Buy Yourself A Nice Suit
Weddings, holiday parties, meetings, and interviews… there are several occasions in life that require a nice suit. Getting caught without one in a pinch or left to dry clean suits without much (if any) time to spare is inconvenient and inefficient. Purchase a new suit as part of your tax return shopping. Ladies, of course, the same applies to women’s suits and/or the equivalent formal wear!
Purchase suits and evening wear from the comfort of your home. Join the overwhelming 62% of U.S. households making online purchases. Use top search engines to get started. Once you have decided on a retailer, you can designate favorite items and save them for later using a wish list. When you are ready to purchase, make sure you are using the most recent version of your browser for the most secure tax return shopping.
Do not forget to accessorize! Lapel pins add personality to any suit. Choose lapel pins to display accomplishments and achievements or to designate yourself as a member of law enforcement, a firefighter, a service member, or a veteran. Ladies, buy clutches and jewelry to maximize the possibilities of your dress. Combine a dress with simple, stud earrings for a job interview. Break out statement jewelry and a fashionable clutch for special occasions.
Get Ready For Your Getaway
Twelve percent of taxpayers will spend their refund on a vacation. Why not spend a portion of your refund on preparations for your getaway? For a tropical vacation or cruise, pamper yourself with body waxing and eyebrow waxing. Lounge on the ship or lie back and relax on the beach with confidence. Waxing lasts three to four weeks on average, much longer than alternatives like shaving.
Similarly, include relevant purchases–like new swimsuits, towels, and beach wraps–in your tax return shopping. A necessary purchase for vacations that often goes overlooked is luggage. If your luggage is a bit worse for wear with a wheel that won’t unstick or scuff marks from being tossed into the back of your car or onto the conveyor belt at the airport, use tax return shopping money to buy a new set before your vacation.
Keep your preferences in mind when purchasing luggage. According to Travel and Leisure, spinner cases are most convenient: “Spinner luggage has four wheels, usually multidirectional, that will allow you full control of the bag. This is helpful if you feel more comfortable wheeling your bag beside you when walking instead of hauling it behind you.” Soft-shelled luggage holds up best long-term, and new smart luggage cases are available with built-in USB charges and solar-powered batteries.
Try Something New
If you have always wanted to go vegan for a month, try Whole30, or take up exercises but avoid making these changes due to their potential costs, tax refund season is a great time to give it try.
Diet and lifestyle changes like veganism or Whole30 can be cost-effective. However, there may be a bit of a learning curve. Use tax return shopping money to help you get the hang of it. In addition to being more environmentally friendly and sustainable, veganism packs a ton of health benefits. Veganism reduces chronic inflammation and arthritis and helps men and women lose weight. Vegan diets also lower cancer risks, regulate blood sugar levels, and improve kidney function.
Whole30 also promotes eating naturally-occurring fruits and vegetables. With this particular diet, meat consumption is okay. However, there are some additional restrictions, like avoiding prepared foods, processed foods, sugar, alcohol, MSG, sulfites, and dairy products. In other words, yes, if you want to complete the Whole30 program, it may take some planning ahead and a reasonable amount of cash. That is where your tax return shopping money comes in. While somewhat rigid, the diet clears skin, boosts energy levels, and helps with weight loss.
Finally, your health isn’t just about what you eat. If you have been putting off exercise programs due to cost, now is the time to try them. Search online or on studio or gym websites for discounts and package deals for your first few classes.
Pay Off Credit Card Debt
According to Debt.org, the average U.S. man or woman with at least one credit card has an average of four cards total. Plus, the average household credit debt amounts to $8,398! This debt can take a huge toll. Debt affects your credit score, future purchases, and even life milestones! It can be difficult to trade in your car for one that is new or to buy your first house with ever-mounting credit card debt.
Similarly, credit card debt can result in living paycheck-to-paycheck. That means little to no savings for retirement or emergencies.
Whether you pay off your debt all at once (recommended if your refund will cover that amount!) or make a few significant payments on-time, this will immediately improve your prospects and your credit score. If you do have a remaining balance, do what you can to make sure this balance remains below 30%. Keeping credit card balances below 30% will also improve your score and your ability to make important purchases in the future.
Invest In Stocks
Hopefully, we have all heard the advice not to keep all of our eggs in one basket–and that is especially true of savings and retirement savings. Investing in the stock market diversifies your savings portfolio, something that is important owing to any fluctuations in the economy. According to Investopedia, having savings and investments also helps retirement funds last for the entire duration of retirement or an average of 35 years.
Mutual funds are a great place to start. Because they involve many contributions, they tend to be more stable. They are easier to predict and track. Index funds, in particular, are often associated with lower and fewer fees and may be more automated and straightforward than other options. Once you get a knack for investing, you can make determinations about whether you would like to bridge out to other types as well.
Make Home Improvements That Promise Future Returns
Instead of or in addition to tax return shopping, consider investing in your future by making smart home improvements. Additions to your home can make you happier, more comfortable, and boost your home’s resale value a year or several years down the line. For example, adding another bathroom can pack a potential return on investment (ROI) of up to 96%. Many homeowners choose to add a garage or sunroom, both options that increase your curb appeal and encourage buyers to purchase your house.
Finally, home improvements do not have to entail adding a whole new room! If you are still saving up to add a new bathroom, garage, or sunroom, consider small improvements around the home that have a big impact. Paint rooms with new, striking colors. Purchase new elegant light fixtures. Give you and your family an added sense of security with the practical purchase of a safe and the perfect safe accessory. Safe accessories range from digital locks, jewelry cabinets, and desiccants to help preserve and protect safe contents.
The IRS reveals that 111.9 million Americans qualified for a 2018 tax refund. If you are among the millions expecting a refund this season, make the most of your tax return. Devote a percentage to tax return shopping, and use the rest for wise savings or investment ventures.