6 Smart, Fun(ish) Things To Do With Your Tax Return

Looking for things to do with your tax refund? Things other than a shopping spree or car repairs? Click through for 6 smart, fun(ish) ideas! >> yesandyes.org

Ahhh, Spring! When a lady’s thoughts naturally turn to tax returns.


Though not quite as tantalizing as that cutie 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 are you going to spend that?

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.

Contribute to your IRA or 401K

Yes, again. Deeply unsexy. Super important. Your 65-year-old self will thank you! (I opened a Roth IRA and it was surprisingly painless!)

Invest in Yourself

You are your biggest asset, yo! Why not take a class or workshop that will make you a little more pink slip 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 your freelance writing or get some wicked headshots to kickstart your acting career.

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 Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trade retailer that helps artisans from developing countries sell their wares at fair prices.

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.

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. If you’re paying in this year, you might like this: 22 free (or cheap!) things to do when payday is far away

photo credit: Padurariu Alexandru // cc

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  1. Chrissy

    Hopefully I get something back.. Last year I got back my quarterly estimates I paid out because the investments took a dive…. If I get anything it will stay in my account to pay my quarterly, i.e. if I have estimates…and if not, it will just sit there until property taxes are due.

  2. Francine

    I didn't get a tax refund. In fact, I had to PAY. Had to last year, as well. I hate tax time, haha. I need to find out what I'm doing wrong…

  3. Caitlin

    I got the biggest refund I've ever gotten this year (YEAH FULL TIME JOB!)!! I got it back in February and This is how it was spent:
    -New roller skates (http://dailybooth.com/MimsieSky/3351417)
    -Put away for my plane ticket to LA in July
    -And the majority of it went into savings for when I move to NYC and go back to school in the fall!
    Frivolous and smart! GO ME!

  4. Corrine/Frock And Roll

    Love this!

    I'm completely throwing this year's tax pennies into a European adventure in October/November, whee!

  5. Rita

    You live in the cities right? If you haven't yet been – I suggest gathering friends and splurging a bit at Chino Latino's. Are you a meat eater? I am not but I make an exception for CL's lobster sushi. Best food I have ever eaten, anywhere, ever.

    Preparty with your own home made gimlet though, overpriced drinks = not worth it! You'll want all of your $$ going to the spectacular food 🙂

  6. Barb

    My federal return goes straight to the visa card, but I use my state return for something fun like my beloved iPod nano.

    Since my returns have been pretty stable the last few years, I also went in and added another exemption to my W9 at work to reduce the amount being withheld so that hopefully it come out closer to even next year. I don't see why the government should get to use my money interest-free for the year.

  7. Sarah

    i love tax time. this year the brakes on my car died just in time for my entire refund to go toward a brand new scion.

  8. Kate

    Teeth. Sigh. The minute I hit "send" on my return, I knew that's what it was going for. Stupid crowns. Very, very un-sexy.

  9. Mark

    Received a giant tax return this year and its particularly good timing as I am losing my job on tuesday. Your "invest in yourself" is good advice, something I will have to do as I haven't been. Course I may slip in a little something fun, can't live ONLY by paying bills!

  10. bun2bon

    I did the irresponsible thing of spending Uncle Sam's refund before it actually arrived at my bank on airfare to D.C. =)

  11. The Naked Redhead

    Every penny went straight into my savings for a down payment! Woo! So…grown up. (Scary!)

  12. Kristi

    My tax return went to:
    <3 Ticket to Belarus for a missions trip -woohoo
    <3 School loans-paid off half!
    <3 long overdue new purse 🙂

  13. Marie

    I have had to pay about $50 the last few years, which I don't think is bad. It's mainly that by some error they show two allowances on my paystubs even though I am single with no kids. The plus to this is that I am making interest off my money instead of them. 🙂
    This year may be different as I actually had to pay for a few classes, so I can deduct those.

  14. Catherine

    I'm sort of wishing my return were as big as the pile of cash under the mattress in the above photo! Sigh. Forging onward with abundant thoughts…

  15. Laurel

    We spent it on a (much needed) vacation) to Sayulita Mexico. We leave the end of April.

  16. screwdestiny

    We got ours in early February this year. My boyfriend had just lost his job, so we spent a part of it on bills, but we also got some frivolous stuff. A LoveSac for him, an iPod Touch, I got a much needed haircut, and a super cute new swimsuit.

  17. Jen

    I somehow worked it out so that I only got $10 back (love that!), so it's just going into my checking account for whatever. No ear-marked purchases.

  18. penn

    If you make $2, I think I make about $1.25. I got back a significant chunk of my earnings from last year. I think the unofficial title of one of my credits was the "thanks for not going on welfare" tax credit. Anyway, I digress.

    I got my taxes back in February. I didn't have a job until two weeks ago, and I still haven't gotten my first paycheck. I've managed to scrape through, so I still have the return sitting in my bank account. Once I'm back up on my feet (and hopefully haven't had to touch the return), I will be investing in my Roth IRA and repaying the tiny bit I did have to borrow from emergency savings. I think I'll also allocate a little to Amazon to buy a book and a food scale, since I'm working on losing weight. Finally, I might buy some new short hikers, since I teach environmental ed and my old ones are falling apart. That wraps it up. Mostly, my money right now is going to needs, and wants will get covered this summer after I've built back a nice cushion for myself.

  19. Rhitbee

    I'm going to put it towards my trip to Cuba once the semester is over! So excited.

  20. Sara

    We're supposed to be getting quite a nice li'l heap o'cash. Sometimes, it just makes me happy to see my savings account replenished after the way it's been pillaged over the past year. It's kind of like getting an HP elixir in an RPG video game. Re-freshing!

    PS-my inner nerd and I are very happy together, thank you very much!

  21. Shawna Peryea

    My husband and I filed together this year and we got back a good chunk. We are probably using it for a New York trip for our first anniversary!

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