Tax day has come and gone, and now is the fun part — waiting for your refund to arrive. According to the IRS, the average tax refund was a little over $3,000 last year. That’s a sizable chunk of cash. Here at Asset Health, we believe your most valuable asset is your health, so why not use your refund to enhance your physical and mental wellbeing. We’ve compiled a creative list of ways you can use that money to invest in your wellness.
Investments in Your Financial Health
- Use your refund to pay off or lower your credit card debt. Pay down the cards with the highest interest rates first.
- Use it to build your emergency fund. Experts recommend having three to six months of living expenses.
- If you’re in the process of saving for a big-ticket item like a new car, apply it toward your goal.
- Place it in your retirement savings account where it can grow exponentially.
- If you’re behind on bills, get caught up on them.
- Contribute to an education savings account if you have children.
- Replace old appliances with energy-efficient models.
- Set it aside in a high-yield savings account.
- Tackle some larger home improvement and maintenance tasks you’ve been wanting to address.
- Donate to a charity that’s important to you. Save the receipt so you can claim the deduction next tax season.
- Invest in yourself by taking a class to build your professional expertise. Consider a conference, additional training or membership to a professional organization. It may pay off by increasing your chance of a raise or promotion.
- Add money to your health savings account.
- Invest it. You may be able to earn up to 10 percent annually in a broad-market fund.
- Make a few extra car or mortgage payments to pay off the loan sooner.
- Invest in financial services. Take a class or meet with a financial advisor. It may seem expensive, but advisors often provide recommendations that help you make more money (than you paid) in smart investment allocations in the long run.
- Consult an estate-planning expert about a will, advanced medical direction or trust.
Investments in Your Physical and Mental Health
- Go on vacation. Getting away can increase productivity at work (upon your return), improve mental health and decrease heart disease risk.
- Spend it on experiences. Whether you love to travel, visit art galleries or take music classes, studies have shown that experiences make us happier than possessions.
- Sign up for a race you’ve been wanting to do. If your finances are in order and you received a large refund, consider an event in an exciting destination.
- Get new fitness gear. If your gym shoes are worn, get a new pair that’s specific to your activity.
- Try a new class, such as a workout at a boutique fitness studio (e.g., hot yoga, martial arts or a boot camp) or healthy cooking workshop.
- Take a fitness-inspired trip, such as backpacking in a national park or biking through a region you’ve wanted to explore.
- Get a massage. It has numerous physical and mental benefits and can reduce stress. Better yet, sign up for a monthly massage membership to take care of yourself throughout the year.
- Add equipment to your home gym like a rower, indoor exercise bike or Pilates reformer.
- If you have young children, invest in a convertible chariot stroller system so you can run, bike and ski with your little one.
- Splurge on healthy foods you’ve wanted to try or go to a smoothie bar for a treat. Prepared health foods can be pricey.
- Get a wearable fitness tracker.
- Buy a bike to commute to work or get around town. Make sure to pick up a helmet, bike lock and safety lights.
- Subscribe to a healthy monthly meal prep service.
- Hire a personal trainer to help you get on track and design some workouts you can do on your own that are based on your goals.
- Get a standing desk for your home office.
- Join a gym.
- Invest in a good mattress.
We put the “fun” back in “refund!” So if you’re in good shape financially, have some fun with all or part of that money. And you don’t have to spend it all on one thing. You can apply the 50-20-30 Rule to use 50 percent to pay down debt, 20 percent for savings and 30 percent for personal expenses. Just be intentional about how you use it. Don’t spend it right away. Think about how that money can make a big impact in your life based on what you value.