April 15th is rapidly approaching. If you haven’t already done your taxes, you’re probably preparing all your documents to make sure you take advantage of every possible deduction. Or, maybe you’re procrastinating because really, who wants to have to do taxes?
Money is a tool that will either help you or harm you, depending on how you choose to use it. For many, tax returns are an excuse to treat yourself to something extra that you don’t really need. Hopefully after you finish reading this article, you will be inspired to really use that tax return to benefit your life for the long term.
1. Pay off debt.
This sounds so simple, it’s almost silly to list. Depending on the size of your tax return, you might be able to completely eradicate at least one debt, if not multiple. Putting the extra money from the tax return towards your debts means the money that would normally be spent towards paying those pesky monthly payments is back in your pocket, every single month. Just don’t use this as an excuse to accumulate more debt!
2. Upgrade your vehicle.
If your transportation is needing an upgrade, take it to the dealership and see what is available if you trade in your current vehicle and pay the difference with your tax return. It helps if you have a little bit extra saved up too, as this gives you more options. However, many dealerships accept trade-ins and this can take thousands off the cost of a new(er) car! Newer cars typically require less repairs and have greater gas mileage. Tip: This savings is only significant if your car has a clean title. We learned the hard way that a prior salvage title will only get you a couple hundred off the price.
The new Stash app takes the fear out of investing. This app is free to use for the first 3 months, and $1 until your investment account grows beyond $4,999, at which point you pay 0.25%. Stash will help you choose where to invest your money using layman’s terms and plenty of options. If the cost of investing is holding you back, you can open a Stash account and start your first investment for as little as $5. The best part? With the Stash app, purchases are rounded up to the next dollar and that spare change is what is invested. It is such a small amount, saving is a breeze (and so is math when it comes to balancing the checkbook!). You can even set your account to automatically withdraw and invest a certain amount each month on top of your spare change.
Taking control of your life and your finances is within reach! With a few minutes of honest reflection of your long-term financial goals and some strategic decisions, you can make your tax return work for you to improve your life. Are you ready for a financially empowered year? Leave a comment with your favorite financial improvement or goal for this year!