6 Smart, Somewhat Fun Things To Do With Your Tax Return

Looking for financial advice on what to do with your tax returns this year? These fun, basic money tips will get you pointed in the right direction!  Click through for 6 money ideas you can use today!
Ahhh, Spring! When a lady´s thoughts naturally turn to tax returns! Wait, what?
Though not quite as tantalizing as Marc in accounting, tax returns are one of the joys of this time of year. And if you, like me, earn approximately $2, you can count on some serious bank. But since we´re all trying to be grown ups here, how´s a girl to spend that?

6 Smart, Somewhat Fun Things To Do With Your Tax Return

1. Pay off Credit Card Debt
But you knew that already, right? Riiiiight?! It´s not a particularly sexy way to spend your money, but super important and, in the long run, you´ll be really, really glad you did. If the siren song of Visa often overwhelms you, stick those credit cards in a bowl of water in the freezer.
2. Contribute to your IRA or 401K
Yes, again. Deeply unsexy. Super important. Your 65 year old self will thank you!
3. Invest in Yourself
You are your biggest asset, yo! Why not take a class or workshop that will make you a little more pinkslip proof? Maybe you can learn how to write grants, use that software that nobody in the office understands or create a basic website.
If that doesn’t float your proverbial boat, use a bit of this money to buy supplies for your Etsy shop, buy a laptop to help along your freelance writing or get some wicked headshots to kickstart your acting career.
4. Green up Your Living Space
Because I love any excuse to feather my nest. And this excuse is pretty damn valid! Low flow shower heads, fluorescent bulbs, water heater blankets, non-toxic cleaners and compost bins all go a long way towards reducing your carbon footprint.
And after spending money on all that un-fun stuff, you can probably validate a wee shopping spree at global exchange, a fair trade retailer that helps artisans from developing countries sell their wares at fair prices.
5. Donate to Your Local Food Shelf
With the downturn in the economy, more and more people are accessing food shelves, and fewer people are donating to them. Help turn that around with a cash donation or even just donating all those canned peaches you´re never going to eat.
6. Buy Something Fabulous and Frivolous
After all that do-goodery and responsible spending you deserve some tomfoolery! Maybe add a classic piece to your wardrobe that will last forever? Or splash out on a really nice haircut? Or fly to Vegas for the weekend with your girls! Buy yourself something fantastic that will bring you compliments and memories for the months to come.

How are you going to spend your tax return?

P.S. How to pay off your soul-crushing debt a lot faster + You can choose to want less.

photo by Dmitri Popov // cc

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  1. A

    I don’t pay tax (yay for scholarships) but that means I never have the joyful surprise of getting tax back. You scare me, Sarah, with your talk of retirement funds. For now, my 23 year old self needs petrol in her car and my 65 year old self will have to deal with that. I’ll make it up to her when I graduate, of course.

  2. kristine

    We were lucky enough to be able to claim the first-time-homeowners tax credit, so we greened our house…literally. Painted the kitchen and bathroom green.

    And, um, bought a super-expensive sofa.


    (and we socked the rest away for green home improvements, like the energy-efficient windows we will probably need to get. gulp.)

  3. Kelly

    It’s in my savings account now, but I’m probably going to use it to go to San Francisco with my BF this summer!

  4. Christa Nicole

    The majority of mine went to, yes, credit cards and recent surgery bills. I did, however, put aside $200 to make myself giddy with soon. New boots? Paints and brushes? Baking supplies? A teensy tiny vacation? Only time and my mood will tell…

  5. Sarah Von Bargen

    A: I had no idea you were so young! I´ll be 30 in August, us onld ladies need to think about things like this!

    kristine: nice couches are so important, eh? We upgraded from our Salvation Army find last year and it has been GREAT!

    Kelly: What fun!

    Christa Nicole: Smart Girl!

  6. A

    Funny, I’ve had that response often about my age! Dare I ask how old you imagined me to me?

  7. Vanessa

    I’m hoping to stick my tax return at least partially in my savings account. I need to get some self control, y’know?

  8. ambika

    We’re looking forward to taking advantage of the first time home buyers tax credit. Won’t be able to enjoy that until next year tho!

  9. Audrey

    I did my taxes early and used the money to have my dream bicycle built custom for me. It makes much more sense than my cruiser bike here in hilly SF, and the love and I can now sell our car, which is awesome.

  10. Amanda @ Hungry Vegan Traveler

    I spent my '09 tax return on enrollment in a holistic health counseling program. Best thing I ever spent a tax return on!

  11. Diane

    I always take a portion of my return and go get a proper bra fitting! I buy two or three, and then take pics of the tags of everything else I tried so that if I saw a sale through the year I always had my size in that brand in my phone!

    • Sarah Von Bargen

      Yesssss! I do the same! Good bras make everything fit and feel better!


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