I know you are excited to get money back, but remember, the government has been holding your money at zero percent interest all year long. In that respect, it is more beneficial to pay taxes all year. Try not to think of the refund as a bonus, because it was your money all along.
Before blowing the money on fun activities, think about if you really want to be spending more money on the other things you have already purchased; that would be the interest accruing on your credit card bills. Pay down as much as you can with your refund. Debt causes more problems than just a bad credit score; it can affect your mood as well. The relief that comes from becoming debt-free is priceless.
See number one, as it is the same as a credit card. Getting rid of the student loan has other benefits; they send you a letter that says "Congratulations! You have paid off your loan." Come on, you want that don't you?
I know you are sick of hearing this, but you need one. Things happen, and never at the right time. You need a buffer of savings for emergencies (spa treatments or vacations don't count).
This is funded by your after-tax income. It is in addition to what you would put in a 401k/403(b) for retirement. Since you already paid taxes, you won't be taxed upon withdrawal after the age of 59 1/2. It is best to put large amounts in when you are young, but who can really do that? Once you establish an account, you can manage the funds in your portfolio and buy shares based on your deposits.
What is more important than an education? Start saving for your kids with these plans, which is exempt from federal taxes upon withdrawal.
Experts say that one additional payment on your mortgage each year will significantly (up to 50 percent) shorten the life of the loan; that is a big deal. The extra payment is applied to the principal, thereby reducing the overall total interest paid.
Yes, this technically isn't somewhere to stash your cash, but it is something to think about for next year. Max out your retirement plan each year for tax benefits and to create a healthy account to live off of upon retirement.
Check out my other tips for January to March here: http://experts.sheknows.com/user/kristin-hammill
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