The moment we’ve all been waiting for…tax season! As most of us wait for those good ol W-2s to come through the mail, we’ve already made plans with our money (don’t lie, I know you have). Some of you have already started searching for vacation deals, searching to see if those shoes or that bag you’ve been eyeing got a price cut, some of you simply want to pay off some debts, and the rest have no plans except to spend. We’re all looking forward to that brief period where we can literally ball out!
Keyword: brief. As quickly as it came, it’s already gone and you’re wishing you could have a lump sum of cash like that again. You start to regret all those unnecessary purchases, fast food and restaurant dates, buying rounds at the club and splurging on clothes you probably won’t wear often. Before you start swiping, writing checks and handing out cash, here are some things to consider because folks, we’re grown and too old to be financially irresponsible, especially in this economy.
Pay off Credit Card Debt
We are a “right here, right now” generation and even when we don’t have the money to pay for things, the first thing we do is swipe a high interest credit card. Paying off credit card debt is one of the best uses for your tax refund because when the balance you owe to credit card companies goes down, the interest (or finance charges) you have to pay on that debt also goes down. It is said that paying off at least $1000 of credit card debt can actually save you hundreds of dollars in future charges. Plus, it just makes no sense to splurge on something glamorous when your credit is jacked. Make wise choices.
Stack On Your Emergency/Savings Fund
As a lesson learned, there have been plenty of times where I’ve found myself with JUST ENOUGH funds to JUST pay bills and nothing else, but then getting hit out of nowhere with a huge bill or charge that wasn’t in my budget. When you owe companies money, have a bill due, or own collections, they do not care how much money you do or don’t have…they want THEIR money. Having an emergency fund comes in handy in times such as that. You might find yourself laid off or fired from work with rent and other bills coming up that you can’t afford to pay, having an emergency fund is important.
Treat Yourself Wisely
If you must plan a vacation, make sure to find as many deals as you can and pre-pay for everything rather than using credit cards. If you already have a fully functional, good condition television, ask yourself do you really need to buy another one? How many times are you going to wear that statement bag?
Take Care of Home
Maybe your house or apartment needs some TLC. Taking time to clean up and maintain your place is an investment with lasting effect. Call the plumber, electrician, carpenter, etc and get some quotes on things that need to be fixed up. Stock the pantry and make your home feel more like home.
Giving yourself the kind of financial security that lets you breathe easy even in times of crisis will provide you with a cool composure that never goes out of style, plus you’ll have money in the bank!!!!