Those beautiful tax refund checks should start trickling in any minute now. Don't have plans for yours yet? Let one of these four suggestions help you along your way.
1. Payoff debt- Your knight on a gleaming white steed just rode up. Every month your valuable income is being eaten alive by the obligations you have to pay for things that you already bought. If you really took the time to think through it, then you would start your St. Patrick's Day "festivities" early. Stop and think about this for one second: when you don't have such high monthly debt payments, then you get to go and spend that money on more stuff. No, I don't want you to blow the money, but spending $600/month on stuff you don't need is better than spending $600/month to pay for things that you already bought.
2. Build your emergency reserves- How do you keep from getting into financial trouble? By being prepared. To be ultimately prepared for just about anything life throws at you, make sure that you have three months worth of expenses in savings. Your tax refund check is the perfect way to get this started.
3. Invest for the future- Do you have a child? Have you saved for their future? Are you wanting to purchase a house, and need to have money for a down payment? How much did you spend on beer, wine, dining out, cable, internet, coffee, golf, music, concerts, and vacations last year? Probably a ton. If you spent more on these categories than you did for your future financial plans, then let guilt be your guide. I like wine as much as the next girl, but there is no way that I'm spending more on wine than I save for my daughter's college. You?
4. Do something memorable- If you have no debt, a full emergency reserve, and properly funding future plans, then it's time to have some fun. Sure, you could go on vacation or buy a new TV. But why waste the opportunity to do something memorable? Buy a bunch of tickets to a sporting event and give them to the Boys and Girls Club. Fund a scholarship at your old high school. Buy a used station wagon for the Little Sisters of the Poor. Whatever. Trust me, you'll never forget it.