What to Do With Your Tax Refund

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Tax Day is nearly upon us (April 18th!), and with it comes something treasured: the tax return. As we diligently file our taxes, the silver lining is the check from the IRS that we hope will be coming our way. In 2016, the average tax return was $3,053 — that's not chump change! The fun part about tax returns is figuring out what to do with the bonus cash. Here are some suggestions.

1. Pay down your debt.

If the average American household has more than $16,000 in credit card debt, chances are you have some outstanding bills to pay off. No better way to put your unexpected earnings to use than to lighten that debt load.

2. Invest.

Tax returns feel like free money, so it's not really like you're going to miss it. With that in mind, investing is a great option. Might we suggest putting this money into your IRA or 401K, or using it to invest in the stock market.

3. Buy that home item you've really wanted.

Have you needed a new couch for years? A new mattress? A bathroom renovation? This is a great way to pay for it. The nice thing is too, when you enjoy your newly spruced up home you'll remember exactly how you got the cash flow to afford it ... and maybe it will help keep inspiration alive when tax time rolls around next year.

4. Start saving up.

Do you have an emergency fund? A rainy day purse? A special savings account? Put some of your refund in there and start growing that nest egg.

5. Take a trip.

The memory from the trip will last longer than the money would, and everyone deserves to treat themselves. If there are no other highly urgent matters to spend on, plan a vacation. It's a cost you won't regret.

6. Donate it.

There are bound to be a million causes out there that you care about and always wish you had the money to give to. Well, now you do. Share the wealth.