Personal Finance 

5 Ways to Stimulate the Economy with Your Tax Refund

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Normally, it’s not that exciting when you’re average… unless you’re talking about tax refunds. The average tax refund this year will probably settle in at over three thousand bucks. Three thousand dollars a lot of money, unless you’re Representative Sean Duffy of Wisconsin, and while many personal finance pundits will tell you that you should pay down debt, save for retirement, or bolster your emergency fund… I’m not. Then again, I’m not a personal finance pundit or an expert!

So, if you are looking for a few good ideas for that fat refund check, here they are:

Go on a Vacation

Cruise ShipTreat yourself. It’s been a rough few years and nothing beats going on an all inclusive vacation somewhere warm. All inclusive vacations are great because you pay one set price and then everything else is taken care of for you. If sitting on the beach isn’t your thing, consider going on a cruise. You can find a lot of stunning cruise deals if you’re spending three thousand dollars. I recommend going to all the deal sites, like Travelocity and Expedia, and comparing the different shipboard credit offers they’re giving out. I’d also scour Travelzoo for good deals, you never know when a last minute offer is going to come cheap. Cabins on a cruise are like hotel rooms, they’re an expiring commodity and go on deep discount in a pinch.

Buy A New Television

Brand New TVIf you haven’t purchased a television in the last five years, you probably need a new one, right? Fortunately, television prices have come down dramatically as competition as increased and technology has improved. You can find a 55″ Samsung 1080p LED-LCD HDTV for only $2200 plus tax. If you were to look for that TV a few years ago, it’d be several times that price. Prefer plasma? Samsung has a 59″ 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV for just $2070. Televisions are cheap now and your “average” refund check would easily cover it.

Downpayment for a New Car

New FerrariIs your car on its last legs? You can do something that’s both fun and financially savvy by looking at new cars. (By new car I just mean “new to you” cars, they don’t have to be brand new) Three thousand dollars will go a long way in reducing the monthly payments on a new or used car loan, why not take a few test drives to see if any catch your eye. You may also find yourself the beneficiary of test drive offers, like free gift cards and other goodies. Getting a new and more reliable car will mean less hassle and headaches for you.

Visit the Spa

SpaNo one says you have to spend the entire three thousand in one place, why not treat yourself to the spa? While I know little about the the menus of spas, I do know that a fraction of that three thousand will probably get you enough luxury and pampering to help you through the rest of the chilly winter. You can do the responsible thing and pay down some debt or save for an emergency fund, just leave a little extra for yourself and some aromatherapy.

A Nice Meal

Nice RestaurantIf you’re responsible side won’t let you splurge, why not just treat yourself to a night on the town or to a nice meal at a fancy restaurant? It probably won’t cost as much as the full treatment at the spa but it’ll rejuvenate you all the same. It’s great that you’re responsible with money and that you want to do the right thing, but sometimes it’s good to treat yourself and to indulge a little. It’s good for morale and ultimately good for you.

What fun plans do you have for your tax refund?

(Photo: xtrex, autowitch, quinet, johnguild, moriza)

{ 13 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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13 Responses to “5 Ways to Stimulate the Economy with Your Tax Refund”

  1. Holly says:

    Normally i end up paying the feds a couple hundred and get back the same from the state so I break even

    However, this year, beween the feds & state, I will get back about the avg you stated. BUT,I lost my job last Aug (BIG refund was due to witholding on my severance)it will enable me to pay my bills and eat for another 2 months – if gasoline does not get any higher.

  2. steve says:

    What about feeding the poor and needy?

  3. Martha says:

    I’d like to use it to make a down-payment on a hybrid or plug-in car! That will help me avoid the nasty increase in gasoline prices 🙂

  4. zapeta says:

    My refund was too small to really cover any of those ideas so I’m just going to put it in checking and pay bills. Not very exciting but practical.

  5. Shirley says:

    We treated the whole immediate family (15 of us) to a scrumptious meal at a favorite local restaurant and the rest went into the Household Repair savings account.

  6. Strebkr says:

    We are starting a patio project in the backyard. It just happens to be in the spring when we got our refund, but we would have done it anyways.

  7. David says:

    Spending it on nonsense helps the economy no more than spending it on something practical. Get a new washing machine, do some repairs around the house… you’ll employ people *and* save yourself some money down the line.

    That’s not to say you shouldn’t ever have fun, but doing it with a notion that you’re somehow making things better for others or that money from a tax return is better suited to it is silly – you should be using all of your resources as best you can to enrich your life.

  8. Dave says:

    One word: Vegas.

  9. skylog says:

    nice post jim. clearly, many, ok, most here will probably use the money in some practical manner; but, it is always a good idea to use a small portion of any funds like this as “fun.”

  10. Daniel says:

    A good portion of my refund went towards a Caribbean cruise for my family, booked for this Fall! Some of course, went into my savings as well. Balance!!

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