5 Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

It’s tax season again! Are you ready to submit all your forms, certificates and documents to SARS?  

If you are lucky enough to get a bit of money back this year, sure, go ahead - splurge, indulge and treat yourself - but the important thing is to set limits.  Budget a portion of your refund and reward yourself with some short-term gratification. Then take the rest (ideally, the majority) of that refund and put it to good, long-term use.

Here are some tips that ensure that your hard-earned refund goes the extra mile

  1. Pay off credit cards and debt. Using your tax refund to pay off credit cards or other debt may be one of the most productive moves you can make. Debt is as an obstacle to your financial security and it’s so easy to get caught up in the spiral of debt. One of the ways of avoiding this spiral is to clear at least part of that debt, and what better way to do so than with your tax refund? Remember that the interest rate payable on debt is usually higher than the interest earned on savings.
  2. Top up your mortgage. Depending on the size of the refund, consider paying off part of your mortgage, which will lower your monthly payments.
  3. Emergencies and large expenses. Look ahead and think about any large expenses that you might incur - for example, your car’s annual service fee, a fridge to replace the one that’s on its last legs, etc. You can also start an emergency savings account for life’s unplanned events – the general rule of thumb is to have three to six months’ worth of your salary saved.
  4. Boost retirement savings. If you are in the very fortunate position of being debt-free, you can use your refund to boost your retirement savings – which will have further tax benefits!  If you do not already have a retirement annuity, now might be the best time to kick-start one with your additional funds.
  5. Invest the money. Aside from your retirement, this could be a great way to start an investment portfolio. Seek professional financial advice about which portfolio or investment plan suits your future needs or lifestyle. You could also invest the money towards a specific long-term goal, such as your children’s education.

If you do happen to purchase that (much-needed) fridge, or treat yourself to the latest espresso machine, don’t forget to increase the insured value on your home contents insurance policy so you can continue to live your way no matter what happens!

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