Most middle-lower class tax payers are getting ready for the government to pass a bill to help boost the economy in America. In an attempt to slow or stop a possible recession each tax payer that meets the guidelines set by Uncle Sam, will receive a tax rebate check up to a total of 600$. Married couples will receive up to 1200$ total, with 300$ per child after that. With some families getting upwards of 2000$ unexpectedly; many people will be using that check on un-needed things. Some people will soon be blowing through the money that easily could have helped to build their financial futures.
In no way am I am financial expert, however taking time (and we will have it, since checks will likely not be mailed out to the public until June) to research exactly what each family or individual should spend their tax rebate check on is vital to making smart money decisions. Please use this list of Top 14 Ways to Spend Your Tax Rebate Check to help aid in your decision.
1. Pay off debt.
We all have some, some more than others. If you are one of those folks that have close to 2000$ coming back due to kids and lower incomes – don’t forget about your debt. Sometimes it is too easy to think about new TVs, iPhones, laptops and whatnot… instead of looking around at your debt and taking care of business. This year when you get your tax rebate check, use it to pay off a big chunk of your debt. Pick the card with the highest interest rate (but with a balance that is low enough for you to pay off in full) and pay it off. If you have several credit cards and cannot decide which to pay off, use the DOLP chart to help out.
2. Invest in your car.
Your car has been making that strange noise for way too long. You can only turn up the radio to drown it out for so long. Use your tax rebate check to do a simple car tune up. Spark plugs, new tires, new brakes or whatever it takes to get it running like a charm again. Your car, just like your 401k or stocks… is an investment. If you could pour at the least 1000$ into it, your car could last you years longer. Remember, 1 month ago you had no clue you would receive a tax rebate check – so why not use that money to help your situation – long-term. Your car needs love too, so don’t forget about it come rebate time!
3. Take a vacation.
Lots of folks get too busy with life in general and fail to take time to enjoy themselves at least once a year. Taking a simple vacation can help take stress off of the people involved. If you have been working hard for too long, you can’t remember the last vacation you took or if your family is having issues – a vacation can help ease the stress and bring families closer together. Using your tax rebate check for a vacation is a great way to celebrate as a family this small windfall. If it is a quick weekend trip to a theme park close by, a lake trip to take in nature and enjoy some scenery or just taking a romantic getaway with your special someone… taking a “free” trip can relax your mind and refocus your efforts on forgotten goals. If you or your family is in need of a vacation, use your tax rebate check to reward yourselves.
4. Invest in your health.
Has your eyesight been going downhill? Need to go get your teeth cleaned? Many of us see health care as a huge expense that gets put off until it can no longer. With unexpected money coming in, it can be directed to fixing health problems or concerns. Getting a few cavities filled now, while you have the money can help in preventing pain and financial discomfort down the road when money isn’t easily accessible. Using your tax rebate check to get a check-up, physical, eye exam or dental work done is a great way of investing in your own health. What good is a new plasma TV if you can’t see it? What good will new stereo system sound when your 6 feet under – because you didn’t get that diabetes diagnosed sooner. Be smart with your “free” money and invest it in yourself.
5. Make an extra house payment.
On a 30 year note, making one extra payment a year can drop your note down 7 years by the time you pay it off. That is huge if you think about it. Taking all or some of your tax rebate check and applying it directly to your principal on your home can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the duration of your home loan. Remember that your tax rebate check is “unaccounted-for” money and if you use it wisely, it can free money up in the future that buying that iPod… just won’t do for you. Investing in your financial future by paying one extra house payment on your home is one way for sure you can make your tax rebate check last.
6. Save, Save & Save.
Pretty simple really. Contribute to your savings account. If you have a higher return on a savings account, possibly a money market account or anything of that nature… put your entire tax rebate check into that account. In 10/15 years, when you friends iPhone, laptop, mp3 player or TV has got to the dump already… you can take your big fat check and go around the world for a few weeks. Better yet, take your friends on a weekend in Vegas… tell them you are using your money from the tax rebate check in 2008… remember… the one you bought that MacBook Air with (that now has been obsolete for 10 years)? Who knows, when you run into a bind down the road and need a little cash to tide you over, your money will be there in the saving account – making you look like genius.
7. Buy yourself something nice.
Every once in a while you need to treat yourself with a reward or something to make you feel like you did a good job this past year. Does it need to engulf your entire tax rebate check? No. You can buy yourself something nice for a couple hundred dollars and use the rest to fix your car, pad your savings, get your teeth cleaned or whatever else makes sense. Treating yourself to nice things is not a crime, you shouldn’t feel guilty – however, you should use good judgment when doing so. Make sure when you make a big purchase with your tax rebate check that you are buying something your actually need. If you have 4 TVs in your house and you are buying one for your kitchen… it is probably not something you “need”. Now if your monitor in your office has been going in and out for the past year and there is a great sale going on that you can’t pass up on a brand new one? At least it makes sense. Use common sense and do not make rash decisions when purchasing yourself something nice with your tax rebate check.
8. Plan for your future.
Wanting to be retired by 45? Want to be living in New Hampshire by next year? Have a lake house in your sights by the time your 30? All these things take time, effort and a bit of planning (likely by a professional) in order to accomplish. Don’t forget money either – each requires lots of money to make happen. Will your tax rebate check have you checking off one of these upon arrival? No. However, each amount you deposit or invest will help in the long run. Perhaps your first step is getting a financial advisor and figuring out your future – letting your tax rebate check finance this portion is a huge step in the right direction. Let your tax rebate check aid you in developing and securing your dreams.
9. Donate to charity.
Just like the government has done to you, by giving out a tax rebate check to those that work and need every single extra penny they can muster up, there are those that are less fortunate out there struggling just to eat. All to often people forget that people are starving in other countries, wars are depriving kids of a normal life and disease is killing off hordes of people without proper medical care. Donating to charities is a great way to use your tax rebate check for the good of the world. Every little bit counts, but only if you research and ensure your money is going to charities that will invest that money in the correct ways. Local charities are an awesome way to see your money work right in front of your eyes. Donating to world wide charities is where you need to research a bit more. Building homes in New Orleans, helping fight hunger in Somalia or furnishing money for supplies to help the people of Darfar’s genocide – all are worthy causes that with a bit of research can easily be donated to a viable charity.
10. Invest in a candidate.
This is an election year, you should have a candidate or at least a cause you are backing at this point. Candidates need lots of capital in order to run the campaigns for presidency. Each candidate takes donations while running for office and using your tax rebate check to help fund a campaign is an easy way to make a difference, while supporting your candidate’s run for the white house. Should one use their entire tax rebate check? Probably not, unless you are really into the candidate and you want to show your support in that way. However, donating a portion or even a small amount to a campaign ties you to that candidate financially, which sometimes makes people feel more obligated to speak out and encourage others to do the same. A small donation can make the difference when it comes to grass roots campaigns. Choose a candidate that is in it for the long haul and donate as much as you feel is needed.
11. Pay something off completely.
I spoke on paying off debt earlier, and this is along the same lines… however more specific to paying off in full. Let’s say you have taken out a loan for some furniture, a new TV or your car loan is down under a few thousand now. You pay roughly 200$-300$ each month on whatever the item is, but with your tax rebate check you pay it off in full – that is a 200$-300$ raise you just gave yourself. So by freeing up that money each month, you are able to put it towards other bills in order to pay it off as well. Take your largest bill each month and see just how much it would take to pay it off, if you can’t do it in one payment – save that money and rat-hole a few more dollars each month until you CAN pay it off in full. Just like that you are living in the black – instead of that nasty red. Thanks Uncle Sam.
12. Redesign a room.
If you are already invested in a home, an easy way to bring the value of your investment up a bit is redesigning a room. I know your thinking; I don’t have 10k to spend on my kitchen! But you might have 2000$ to spend putting new laminate flooring or putting crown molding throughout your house. Perhaps you have wanted to redo your bathroom for the past 10 years; however you never had the budget to do so… use your tax rebate check. Want to do all that landscaping in your backyard you always dreamed about? Use your tax rebate check to get it done. There are several ways to bring your property value up, while real estate is on a retreating trend… so that when it comes back up again, you are looking good.
13. Educate yourself.
Been falling behind on your continuing education? Always wanted to learn how to play the guitar? Why not use your tax rebate check to fund some classes to increase your skill-set or learn a few languages. It is a proven fact that people that know more than one language are worth more to an employer than those that only know one. By taking your tax return check and putting it towards education, you are growing your brain and learning something that no one can take away from you. You never know when you will be thrust into a foreign company on business and that Arabic class you took allows you to order something off the menu at a business meeting. Nothing makes you look better to a potential client than that.
14. Get a membership.
Never had the money to join that wine taster’s club, 24 hour gym or country club? Always wanted season tickets to the local playhouse or sports team? Take the plunge. Using your tax rebate check to get involved in something you love is a great way to make your money last. Season tickets to most events are rather cheap in small cities and that money is used to upgrade facilities, purchase new props/tools of the trade and bring in new talent. So not only are you getting great seats guaranteed throughout the season – you also are helping to ensure that next year the group can carry on as always. Also, next time someone mentions the play being put on at the playhouse and how they have heard it was awesome – you can not only chime in with our two cents… but follow up by offering free tickets! If you have been complaining about the fees associated with the gym or country club in your area, using your tax rebate to take care of those fees for you is a great way to make your rebate last a year. The relationships & benefits you will receive from the membership will make you forget about the plasma tv of your dreams.
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