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Over the years, I have heard the stories from friends about people having spent their tax refund before it even arrives. Then once the money arrives, it is gone within a matter of days and they are right where they started still facing financial difficulty. In an effort to alleviate some of the financial strain you may have, let's create a financial game plan now before the tax return arrives.
1) What outstanding bills do you have? Were there specific bills you want to pay off last year - whether it was debt or even a credit card that may be new but has charges? Could you pay one or two off and have money left over.
2) Do you have an emergency fund in place? Sure most financial experts say six months worth of the household bills. I always advice to start with saving a minimum of $500. Why do I say $500 because often times some of the unexpected car repairs or household items cost around $500. Start with $500 and if you can add more without it affecting the household budget, then do so.
3) Is there a large ticket item that you have been saving for and would be able to purchase with a few extra hundred dollars? Yes, I do believe that people should pamper themselves within reason AND also remove some of the financial stressors they've been dealing with.
4) Do you have a savings account? If you don't have a savings account, there is no better time than the present to begin one. This is separate from an emergency fund. This should be money that you do not touch and instead let it grow.
5) Vacation fund - Do you have a vacation fund? Depending on the size of your family this could be a hefty expense. Start putting money away and plan ahead. There's nothing like paying for a vacation in cash!
What would you add to the list?