It’s the best time of the year for some, and a last-minute panic for others — nope, not the holiday season. April 15 is the day when you can forget about your in-office or online accountant, and relax, at least temporarily. Taxes and tax planning still happen after April 15. Why? Because the IRS never sleeps. Ever.
But let’s not concentrate on that today! Instead, it’s time to think about what you’re going to do with that refund coming your way. And if it’s not, well, you may need some post-tax-time relaxation anyway. Work-life balance, right?
Are you going to be one of the 34 percent of people who plan on using your tax refund to pay off debt, the 50 percent who are going to put it into their savings, or the 9 percent that are gonna have a li’l fun and splurge, according to a study by the National Retail Federation (NRF)?
Maybe you fall into more than one category — so you’ll balance out saving with fun and have the best of both worlds.
With 65 percent of consumers expecting to receive a tax refund, according to the same study, we thought we might be able to help with some killer ideas for your tax refund, including great deals and maybe a nudge or two in the right direction.
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Sweet Savings Ideas for Your Tax Refund
We couldn’t call ourselves a financial literacy site if we just encouraged you to recklessly spend willy-nilly, now could we? This is for the 50 percent of you who are smart about saving for your future, and a reminder to everyone else that you should save something.
You’re gonna buy groceries anyway, so why not get yourself some cash back in the process? Sign up for SavingStar’s cash rebates program for free and get money back into your SavingStar account, which you can then transfer to your bank account once you reach $20.
Invest in yourself and your future with just your spare change — really!
Acorns not only helps you grow your wealth but will teach you a thing or two about investing in the process.
With automated saving, this app will glean the best time to save just for you. If you sign up for Digit now, it’s free for 30 days and costs just $2.99 a month after. There are an unlimited amount of goals to set, so you can pay off debt or save up, all without even thinking about it. How?
Well, there are four things that influence their algorithm: your checking account balance, upcoming income, upcoming bills, and recent spending. Digit uses this information to determine a small amount of money it knows you don’t need for upcoming spending, and more importantly won’t feel, based on how you’ve recently been spending. It then saves the money for you automatically.
Tired of your crummy old phone with the broken screen? Republic Wireless is giving you $40 off a new phone, or your first two months’ phone service free (which includes unlimited calls, texts, and one GB of data) when you switch over and activate a new line. Switch today and save!
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Now for the fun part — vacay! Got a little extra back in your refund and want to indulge? You deserve a relaxing holiday, and we have some hot deals.
Looks like you’re cruisin’ for a cruise, baby! Receive early saver rates and up to two category upgrades when you book a Carnival Cruise with Travelocity. I can see it now — you, up on deck, sipping a margarita. Bliss!
Mother’s Day is fast approaching, and while traditional flowers are nothing to throw water on, why not buy her a flight to see you?
Why not get your mom a good deal on her hotel as well? Book early with Choice Hotels and save up to 20 percent on a fabulous hotel where she can truly relax this Mother’s Day.
You could save a whopping $150 on flight and hotel bookings with Orbitz. Think New Orleans, Indonesia, South Korea, or Vancouver!
Hotels can be too stuffy, sometimes. If you want an alternative, why not consider a home away from home instead? You can get vacation rentals with HomeAway (think Airbnb, but homier) for less than $75 a night. We all secretly prefer our own cooking, anyway.
Want the freedom to zip around in a car on your vacation, but don’t want the hassle of having to use it 24/7 to get your money’s worth? Zipcar will let you rent by the hour, so you’re only paying for what you need. Join now for 30 days free: You can’t go wrong! Unless you rent a minivan — come on, vacations are supposed to be cool.
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Maybe a vacation isn’t in your budget, but having some fun on the weekend is exactly what you need. We have the answers.
Fancy a show? Want to be a tourist in your city, or a city near you? Save on Broadway shows, tours, attractions, and museum tickets today with ShowTickets.com. Why pay full price when you can get the best price? We know, CentSai is so good to you.
What about dinner at Olive Garden, LongHorn Steakhouse, or Red Lobster? Fandango is giving you a $25 gift card that can be used for dinner and a movie at one of these locations. Go ahead, treat yo’self.
24 Hour Fitness
Or maybe you’re after some self-improvement as a way to indulge? Get a free seven- day trial for 24 Hour Fitness. Membership prices start as low as $30 a month after that — that’s about $1 a day to stay fit — with a free guest pass on Fridays so you can work out with your mom (or not).
For the Fam
If you have kids you may want to spend some of your hard-earned tax refund money on them. In fact, they may insist. Let’s hope they’ll remember the fun times and sacrifices you made for them and pay it forward.
Prefer old-fashioned paper coupons to an app?
There’s something that’s just so satisfying about snippin’ coupons out of a sheet of paper.
Coupons.com has hundreds of deals for you to choose from: groceries, baby products, health and beauty, you name it. You can save up to $150 today.
Do you ever feel like there just aren’t enough hours in the day? Shipt can help free up some time by doing your grocery shopping for you and delivering it right to your door. Act now, and you’ll get free delivery for two weeks! Might as well take advantage of that extra cash savings, right?
Don’t want to think about what to cook, but sick of eating takeout? HelloFresh cuts the crap and eliminates the old “what do you want to eat tonight?” question by bringing you freshly prepared and measured ingredients with step-by-step preparation instructions. Sign up today and get $20 off your first four orders with code GOBBLE80.
No health insurance or dental? No problem. SingleCare can help you save up to 80 percent on prescriptions, vision, and dental. Just show the downloadable card to the pharmacist and hopefully never pay full price again. Now you have no excuse to keep putting off that cleaning.
While you and your partner slip out for a fancy dinner on the IRS (well, actually it’s your hard-earned money coming back to you, but let’s not get political here), know your kids are in good hands (and save money!) with Care.com. All caregivers are fully vetted, and you can choose who satisfies your criteria. You can save an extra 20 percent now with a premium membership, too.
Fancy giving your brain a workout over the Easter hols? Udemy is slashing their courses by over 50 percent! It’s never too late to learn something new: web developing, financial analysis —you can even become a magician! We don’t judge — whatever floats your boat.
Yeah, kids are fun, but let’s face it — the real babies of the family are always your precious furballs. Give them a treat from your tax refund, too. Your doggo can have its own monthly subscription box so it will feel like royalty. For just $22 a box, Barkbox will send you toys, treats, and gifts worth more than $40, and with a theme to boot. Little Fido is worth it.
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Sometimes, there’s only one thing you want to do with that tax refund: shop shop shop!
AliExpress by Alibaba.com
Don’t go into this store looking for something in particular — AliExpress will show you things you never knew you needed, but now you must have, and for next to nothing. See what you can find.
Want customized anything-under-the-sun, with free shipping and up to 50 percent off sitewide? Look no further than Zazzle, where you can get homeware, office decor, and baby bits and bobs, all customized to your taste.
Warning: You will get hooked on this site. Proceed with caution, because Zulily has serious styles for seriously low prices. And you can save up to 70 percent on ready-to-ship items, too. We spoil you.