February is the month of love. Hearts, flowers, cupids, and … taxes?! Wait! What?? Yes, that’s right, the IRS has officially announced that just two days prior to Valentine’s Day, February 12, marks the start of the individual tax filing season. Now, we know what you’re thinking, filing our taxes comes up last on your amorous “to-do” list for February. Okay, we get it. None of us “love” filing our taxes, but it’s easy to be sweet on that tax refund! So put down those candy hearts and get filing, because really, what’s more romantic than a refund?
To celebrate the season of love we’d like give you some swell ideas for cashing your refund check and for spending your refund dollars.
Romancing your Tax Refund
Did you know that the IRS returned $324 BILLION of paid taxes back to taxpayers in 2018 in the form of tax refunds? That puts one billion Valentine’s Day cards that were sent, nine million pet gifts that were bought, and eight billion candy hearts that were munched in that same time frame to some serious shame. And, with that much dough in circulation, there’s plenty you can do. Here are some suggestions:
Pay off debt:
Start your February off with a fresh start. “Bye, bye bills … it’s not so much you, it’s just, well … we’ve grown apart.” Breaking up is always hard to do, but in February it might be a little easier to dump the baggage and fall in love with the freedom of less debt. Move aside, fancy chocolates and flowers, put your refund cash towards paying down that pesky credit card bill, car loan, or even home mortgage and love the impact on your wallet later.
Create an emergency fund:
There’s no time like the present to start squirreling away for a rainy day fund. If you’ve already set some aside for savings or are just starting out, your stash could get some serious traction by allocating all or part of or your tax refund to the cause. Be a “bestie” to yourself during this season of love with your tax refund … the perfect boost to your emergency savings account!
Invest in yourself, the kids, grandma … whoever:
COVID-19 shutdown got you a little stir-crazy? Why not give yourself, your kids or really anyone in your “oh, so close” household the gift of engagement … get it, engagement. Use your tax refund to learn! It could be anything … learn to knit (we said it, knit), teach the kids algebra (or Japanese!), pick up a hobby (photography anyone?). Maybe grandma wants to learn some mad gaming skills. It’s all good. Take inventory of who needs to learn what and allocate a part of your tax refund to making that happen.
Make home improvements:
Maybe the perfect way to spend some of your tax refund cash is to give your home a mini-makeover. Rugs need replacing? Refund! Roof needs work? Refund! Refrigerator on the fritz? That’s right – refund! Hey, we know you’ve got a whole secret list after watching non-stop HGTV for the past 12 months. So channel your inner-Chip and Joanna and get cracking on giving your “home sweet home” some home grown sweetness this Valentine season.
Check your ride:
Just as a reminder, that “check engine” light and the strange noise coming out of the vents are not your car’s way of telling you “you turn me on.” It’s more like “Hey, I could use some TLC.” So, use your refund to show your best mechanical friend some love: “How do I love thee, let me count the ways”: lube, oil and a filter; check the struts; rotate the tires; maybe as a little treat you get your buddy washed, waxed and that little hula dancer for the dash. The possibilities are endless once the love for your ride starts rolling.
Buy life insurance:
Life insurance doesn’t sound very romantic (and let’s face it, it’s not for everyone), but if you’re not financially independent and have young children for example, it can give you some peace of mind that your loved ones will have an income source should the worst happen. It’s not a flashy “love kind of thing to do” but it shows your family that you care by taking some real grown up steps toward protecting their financial security.
Donate to a good cause:
Walt Whitman once famously said “When I give, I give myself” so think about giving of yourself, rather than to yourself this Valentine season. There are plenty of worthy and needing organizations, individuals, and animals that could use your generosity to help make their lives easier and their goals a little more achievable. Fall in love with the generosity of your heart – bet you never thought filing for your tax return could be that fulfilling!
However you choose to spend your tax refund, this Valentine’s season, there are two things you should keep in mind. The first is to plan how you intend to use your refund so that it ends up doing some good for you, for your family or for your community. The second is that Moneytree is here to help you get your cash so that you can start putting your plans into action. We’ll cash your tax refund check for a low rate at a Moneytree branch near you. Plus, you’ll get your cash instantly
Looking for more tips? Check out our Financial Living page.