1. Pay off student loans.If you pursued (or are currently pursuing) a higher education, then you're probably one of the many who have student loan debt. A smarter way to spend your tax refund money is to pay off student loan debt or, if you're one of the few without student loans, you can put the money toward paying for school (instead of having to take out a loan).
2. Pay off your car.Regardless if you're getting a small sum or a large sum of money on your tax refund, if you apply it toward your vehicle loan you'll be able to pay it off faster or, if you're lucky, pay it off altogether!
3. Pay your car insurance.Depending on who your provider is, you can pay your car insurance up 'til the end of term. Some people are able to pay for the whole year. My terms are only six months long and my company won't allow us to overpay, but calling your company should help you find out how long you could pay your car insurance off for.
4. Renew your plates and registration.When that time rolls around every year, is it like a punch in the gut (or wallet) to you? Go ahead and tax your tax return and renew your plates and registration, even if they've been fairly recently renewed.
5. Pay your rent or mortgage.If you're getting a hefty tax refund, why not pay your rent for the year or pay down the principle on your mortgage? You could even set up a savings account to deposit your refund into that will automatically withdraw your mortgage payments all year, if you'd rather just not have to worry about paying your mortgage for the year.
6. Invest in home improvements.Replace your roofing. Update your windows, doors, insulation, etc. Now is a good time to get on those home improvements you've been "meaning to get around to," especially if they add value to your home and/or improve your home's efficiency.
7. Pay off miscellaneous debt.If you can pay off a debt or bill that you have, then do it! Stop paying the minimum that you'll be paying for the next 473 months and pay it off now so you can forget about it!
8. Save for a rainy day.None of us expect or want bad things to happen in our lives. However, sometimes jobs are lost or accidents happen. We really can't predict all the things that could go wrong in the year to come. If you have no other pressing matters, why not drop some (or all) of your tax refund into a savings account. Just put it there and forget about it. It'll be there if you need it. If not, and next year rolls around, you might be surprised how financially stable you suddenly feel.
So, for anyone who is receiving a tax refund this year...
What will you be using your money for?