Have you been a good citizen, diligently paying your taxes all year, feeling saddened each time you see that percentage of hard earned cash ripped from your paycheck? Well now is the time for you to reap your just rewards. Time for your tax return! Yaaaaaaassss money in the BANK!
Now comes the hard part… what to do with that sweet, sweet government check? If you are like me, you could spend the money in a flash on frivolous things. The high is great when spending that extra money, but the remorse afterwards leaves you empty inside. So let’s stop, wait a moment, and really think about the other possibilities. Maybe with this upcoming tax return you could start paying off those dreaded student loans? Or you could open an IRA and start saving for the future? Perhaps you could create an emergency fund for a potential rainy day? All wonderful and responsible things to do with your tax return… although a bit boring. Here is an idea… how about you find a healthy balance between that shopping high and those responsible financial decisions by investing in your home, investing in the environment, or investing in your health! Here are ten socially conscious things to do with your tax return that are sure to leave you feeling that it’s money well spent.
- Your Health
Taking care of your health should be priority numero uno when you are considering spending your tax return. You can start by eating healthier and exercising. To live a healthy lifestyle, you can’t expect the changes to happen overnight (or rely on it as a one time fix for that whole pizza you ate last weekend). Start off gradually. Try signing up for some fun work out classes or being more mindful of what you ingest by checking food labels.
- New Wardrobe
Now that you’re feeling good, time to look good. But don’t run to the mall for a totally new closet just yet. Let’s consider where those clothes where made and what materials they are made of. Invest in clean fabrics and high quality pieces that will last – and not fall apart after 3 wash cycles. You could even support artisans in leading a better life by purchasing your clothing and accessories from fair trade brands.
- For the Kiddos
When it comes to your little ones, what you dress them up in, give them to eat, and let them play with matters. Non-toxic, handmade, organic toys and clothing are some of the go to keywords when Mom’s are shopping for their babies. Spend a little extra on some eco-friendly, sustainable products to make sure that what you’re giving your tots will last and will not harm them.
The makeup world is an overwhelming experience. With so many brands and kinds of makeup, shopping can be an absolute nightmare. Well, let’s make it a little easier on you and just get rid of a huge chunk that’s on the market. The only makeup brands that you should be buying are the kinds that will not harm your skin or the environment. Non-toxic, cruelty-free, natural materials, and vegan are just a few things to be aware of when shopping for makeup. With this tax return you can start a new with what you put on your face and in your makeup bag.
- Bath and Beyond
The fountain of youth is more attainable than you think. All you need to do is have a simple beauty regimen that takes care of your skin. Exfoliating and moisturizing products are everywhere and they are easy enough to work into your daily routine. The benefits of healthy, glowing skin work in your favor now and even more so once you age. Just keep it simple with all natural, organic products.
- Spring Cleaning
Out with the old and in with the new! It’s time for some serious spring cleaning. But, with all of this dusting, moping, wiping and disinfecting; the products you use to clean your home can become a poisonous concoction for you and your loved ones. Instead, opt for buying new cleaning products that are all-natural and contain ingredients that you can actually pronounce. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you won’t be inhaling toxic fumes after a good home cleansing.
- Home Décor
Are your drab overhead lights just not doing it for you anymore? Have you been eyeing a certain end table for quite some time now but didn’t have the extra cash on hand to take that plunge? Well NOW IS THE TIME! With your tax refund you can complete or revamp your homes feng shui. When you are shopping around, look for one of-a-kind, quality pieces instead of settling for mass-produced. Your home is your space, so make it as unique as you are.
That tax refund could come in handy in jazzing up your jewelry game. Who could turn down a nice pair of earrings or a new necklace? With your next jewelry purchase look for profit shared or fair traded brands that hire artisans to do some incredibly beautiful work. Not only are you going to look fabulous, you are ensuring that these artisans have jobs so they continue their craft. Their skills have sometimes been passed down from generation to generation and the end result is sure to never disappoint with one of a kind pieces.
- A Much Needed Vacation
Who doesn’t need a vacation? My wanderlust is at an all time high during the spring time. Plane ticket prices squash those dreams most of the time (sad face). With the upcoming vacations many people around the world will be going on, we have to ponder the impact this will have on the environment. Fossil fuels? Bad for the environment. The surge in trash being disposed in parks and ocean areas? Bad for the environment. The list continues on how this time of year can become a bit strenuous for our environment. Not that you shouldn’t go on vacation! But, we must consider the footprint we leave behind a place we are visiting and try and plan accordingly. Use public transportation as much as possible so that you don’t have to use your own vehicle and gas emissions are minimalized. Be sure to dispose of any trash into recycling or opt for reusable containers to bring food and drinks. It takes some planning ahead of time but you will be one less person impacting the environment in a negative way. The world is a big place and you should explore it! Let’s just make sure that others may be able to visit in the future.
All of these are great socially conscious ideas for spending your upcoming tax return. But, one of the best things you could do is save a large portion of that money. Whether it’s put into an IRA, a future college account, or an emergency fund; it’s ideal to save a large chunk of that money so you will not have to stress about future financial issues.