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It’s that time of year again, like Christmas it comes every year. For some people, it’s more like they will be getting a lump of coal, as you may owe some cash, but for others, it is a chance to open the envelope and get started again. Like the ‘new year’s resolutions’ that many of us have at the start of each year, the financial year gives you that too, a chance to do something rather than shop until you drop. Please read before you splurge, as you may not get another chance again – until next year – to get ahead.

1. Eliminate your credit card debt.

Let’s face it, credit cards are a necessary evil for many of us, a get out of jail free card – until then, they are not and you a paying monthly compounding interest on them. Your tax return is something that can eliminate some or all of that debt, stop you paying interest, stop the calls from the bank and allow you to get back in the black.

2. Replenish your savings account.

Savings are important, they fund your holidays, your emergencies, your home, kids college, just about everything. So if you have the opportunities, put some or all of the refund in your savings and enjoy earning interest on the money throughout the year.

3. Start planning for a house.

Why not get started on that allusive home savings account? With your return, you can put that into a high-interest savings account, such as with ING or similar banks that make it a little harder to move the cash out – for impulse purchases – but offer a great interest rate and can start getting you closer to that 5% you need. Remember, if you want 5% of a $250,000 home, that is only $12,500! So you could get that sooner with a couple of tax refunds and a regular savings plan.

4. Boost your home’s value.

Thought about putting in a pool, adding a new deck, new room, maybe a pergola, well maybe with your tax refund, now is the time. Depending on how much you get, why not add value to your home, add functionality to your home and enjoy putting your refund to work, where you can enjoy it each and every day.

5. Plan for your kid’s’ future.

College saving is hard, it is a true fact that your kids future can be slightly dictated to by where they go to college. We all work hard to assist them, however, if you regularly put your tax refund in a college fund, you will be adding a lot to your kids future, each and every time.

6. Think about retirement.

How much is enough when it comes to retirement. You want to own your own home, maybe an investment home that is bringing in some income. But what else? What about planning for your retirement sooner by opening an individual retirement account (IRA), or increase contributions to your employer-sponsored 401K. This will make it easier for you and your spouse as you start moving toward to twilight years, making you more comfortable and leaving no stone unturned.

7. Invest in your future.

Start-ups are the way of the future. From Uber to Twitter, these are startups that have changed the world, and especially the bank accounts of their founders. So with your return, why not look at what you can invest it in to get you out of the rat race and running to the beat of your own drum. From buying the computer equipment you need to set up, through to getting a business plan or app developed, your tax return could be the ticket to your future if you let it – far better than a new pair of shoes.

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