14 Frugal Ways to Use Your Tax Return

The tax deadline is right around the corner. Have you filed yet?

If you’ve got a tax return headed your way, you’ll want to start thinking about what to do with it sooner rather than later. Take a look at some ideas from Mint Life Blog for using your refund in the smartest, most financially-helpful ways possible:

  1. Seed Money for Your Emergency Fund: even a small emergency fund is a start. Put your refund down as a start and then add to it as you are able to.
  2. Pay Down Your Credit Card Balance: take 10% of your money to use as a treat, then throw whatever is left at your consumer debt. Even a small chunk toward your debt can make a difference.
  3. Prepay Your Car Insurance: check to find out if there’s a discount for paying 12 months at a time rather then twice a year (or monthly).
  4. Supermarket Gift Cards:

    At least one chain was willing to tack on an additional 10 percent when I bought a $300 gift card. Does your store do this? Having the card with you will let you take advantage of manager’s specials or bonanzas in the dented-can bin.

  5. Home Improvement: think about things that will ultimately impact the bottom line:

    Examples: New windows to replace some of the heat-leaking old ones, an energy-efficient fridge, the down payment on a new furnace or whole-house fan system. Cheaper fixes: A low-flow showerhead, faucet aerators, compact fluorescent bulbs, or weatherstripping. You earn extra frugal points if you invest in a home-improvement item that generates a tax credit for next year.

Check out more great ideas at Mint Life Blog’s 14 Frugal Uses for Your Income Tax Return.