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Tax season is in full swing. According to the The Motley Fool, about 80% of taxpayers will get a refund, and the IRS paid out $2,782 on average for 2016 returns. If you're getting a big refund this year, we recommend you use that money to pay down debt, take care of bills, add to your savings, or increase your investments.
But if your finances are in order, it's okay to have a little fun — within reason. Here's eight ways to save money while you spend your tax refund.
The ultimate splurge, a vacation could be just what you need to fully recover from winter. Cruises generally provide a good value, since your room and meals are traditionally included. All-inclusive resorts are also a great way to save money if you do your research, and have no dietary restrictions.
Can't afford to take an extended vacation? Sometimes a weekend getaway can provide all the same benefits on a smaller budget. United Airlines, American Airlines, and Delta frequently offer last-minute, discounted weekend fares across all parts of the country. Prices can range from $130 to $220 roundtrip.
Can't afford a vacation? Treat your body to one instead. Deal sites Groupon and LivingSocial regularly list local offers for facials, massages, and other skin therapy packages with discounts as high as 60% off the original price.
While you could invest in a set of dumbbells, some people need the extra incentive of a gym to work out. Fortunately, the next few months are a good time to join. During the spring months (when people are more likely to exercise outside), gyms offer promotions in an attempt to entice new members. Wait for a sunny streak in your local forecast, then head to your gym to haggle a cut-rate deal. That said, be sure to avoid the sneaky tricks many gyms use to hook less savvy customers into long, expensive contracts.
Of course, the best exercise is the kind you enjoy. If you're not the type to work out at a gym, running is something you can do pretty much anywhere. Having the right equipment will definitely reduce your injuries, but it can get expensive. Check out our guide before you get kitted out.
"They" always say you should dress for the job you want, so one solid place to invest your income tax refund is your closet. Get on the mailing list of a few great retailers to make sure you're in the know about all the latest coupons, then stack those codes with clearance items for big savings.
If you're set on clothes but shopping for fab footwear, your best bet is to purchase a quality pair that will last.
At the end of the day, settling down to watch movies or play video games is the perfect release for many folks. So spending your refund on a shiny new TV or a sleek new gaming setup could be perfect. Admittedly, the best time to buy a TV is in November. You might want to squirrel away that tax money until Black Friday if you're going to go the big-screen route. That'll give you plenty of time to familiarize yourself with current technologies, and pick the set that's right for you!
Should you prefer to zone out with the latest RPG or MOBA, a tricked-out gaming laptop could be exactly what you need. Check out our latest deals to find your new rig.
Revamping your living space is a smart investment, if only because you have to live there. However, remodeling can get extremely expensive without careful planning, so it's important to prioritize your projects. According to Lifehacker, you can actually damage your home's resale value by over-customizing. It's better to ditch your dream of hot pink shag carpet and splurge on something practical, like new windows.
Kids are great, but alone time with your significant other is gold. Luckily, you can buy that alone time and a few weeks of fun for your younglings with summer camp. According to Mint, there are lots of ways you can make the summer camp experience more affordable. The biggest way to get a discount is to ask for one — lots of camps offer sibling discounts, referral discounts, and loyalty discounts — as well as childcare tax breaks.
Alas, not everyone is going to get thousands of dollars back this year. If you're among those receiving a more modest return, don't despair! You can still put those funds toward a modern luxury: upgraded (or new) subscription services. Why not purchase a Premium plan from Netflix? Or spring for an Apple Music membership for the whole family? Or just sign yourself up to receive a box of goodies every month? The options are endless, and you'll thank yourself all year long.
Readers, are you expecting a big tax return this year? Will you save it, or spend it on something fun? Sound off in the comments below.