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Top 10 Ideas for Your Tax Refund

By Darlene Arechederra

It's true. Most of us won't become rich from our tax refunds each year. Imagine, though, what you could accomplish over the next year just by applying your refund in ways that will reward you -- over and over again.

Read on, and discover the wonderful things you can do with your refund!

1. Research and Train for a New and Exciting Career

Maybe you've dreamed of a new career, but haven't had the money to get started. While most training does cost money, it is possible to train for a new career without breaking the bank. Why not use your tax refund to pay for your training?

2. Open a New or Gently-Used Car Account

Imagine losing the car payments. You can do this by having money set aside for your next vehicle. Just tuck away each refund over the next few years. Make this a yearly habit, and you'll never have to worry about those car payments again.

3. Open a Clothing Fund for Your Children's Clothes

When you have money set aside for kids' clothing, you can find those great bargains and discounts -- year round. This will also help you spend less, while using your credit card less (or avoiding credit card purchases entirely).

4. Set up a Home Repair Fund

If you're a home owner, you know how those unexpected expenses can easily mess up your budget. So, why not create your own home repair fund? Start simply by depositing even $10 or so from each paycheck. Grow your account by tucking away cash gifts or other small amounts into your new home repair fund.

5. Open a Vacation Fund

If you allow yourself a set amount to spend each year on your vacation, you'll learn to leave the majority of the money in your vacation fund. Aim for spending only one-fourth of it each year, or a set amount like $500. Keep funding it with your refunds each year.

6. Open a Christmas Account for Next Year

Each year, it seems as if Christmas sneaks up on us, and we end up counting the number of paychecks we have left before the holidays hit. And, sometimes, we end up pulling out our handy little credit card... But, just imagine having next year's holiday expenses already paid! Why not use part of your refund -- no matter how small -- to open or grow next year's Christmas account?

7. Open or Add to Your Emergency Account

Let's face it. Emergencies are going to happen. But, wouldn't it be nice not to worry or stress out over how to pay for these emergencies? You can make it through your emergency much easier when you can confidently pay for most any emergency that arises.

8. Use Your Refund to Pay Down Debt

Yes, I know you've heard this one many, many times. But, a word of caution, though. If you find yourself constantly running a credit card balance, it's possible you are living beyond your means. Be sure to put safeguards in place to avoid spending more than you make, once your tax return has paid off your credit cards. Otherwise, you could find yourself right back where you started this time next year.

9. Set up an Expense Fund Just for Your Car

It's a given. We need to keep our vehicles in good running order. We replace tires, batteries, headlights, fuses -- to name just a few. Then, we have the bigger ticket items like engine or transmission problems. Why not ensure you have money set aside, just in case?

10. Create a Sense of Security Knowing You Have a Backup Plan

While many spend their tax refund almost immediately, consider the sense of security you'd feel at having set it aside without touching it. Consider, too, how many hours or weeks you'll work to make that refund amount again.

(How about a Bonus Tip?)

11. Transform Your Hobby into a Creative Career

Do you have a hobby you love? Have you been waiting for 'extra' money to transform your hobby into a new career? Set this refund aside to purchase supplies or materials on sale so you'll be ready to go. Even a small refund can help provide some of the books or other tools you may need to get started.

So, there you have them. Ten (okay, eleven) fantastic reasons to hang onto your tax refund and use it to make your life just a little bit easier. Why not tuck it into savings first? Then you can move it to where it can best help you in the future.

Darlene Arechederra is the author of Rat Race Blues for Women. She shares money-saving articles to help others live a debt-free lifestyle. Visit Darlene's site today and join her free, money- saving articles update at  

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