It’s tax time again and I know you’re wondering what to do with that lump sum of money that’s burning a hole in your pocket getting you into trouble every year. Go ahead and admit it, you were one of those people who thought your tax refund was a bonus check. You kicked it, took vacations, bought new outfits, you basically splurged and don’t have much to show for it besides a few old Coach bags and a new computer. The fact that you’re reading this, means you’re ready to change your relationship with finances. To hear more about how to use your refund, listen to my podcast at .

Here are a few things you can do with your refund that will help you create a solid financial foundation to build on:

  1. Create an emergency fund. You need 3-6 months of living expenses set aside. Put it an in interest bearing account. And when disaster strikes, and it will. You’ll have some cushion.
  2. Pay down your high interest credit card. For every $1,000 you carry from month to month, you pay an additional $150 in interest if your interest rate is 14.99%. If you carry a balance with an interest rate that exceeds 14.99% you need to hurry and pay that off.
  3. If you own your home, do some general maintenance you’ve been neglecting or upgrade your appliances with more energy efficient models that will cut your energy and water bills.
  4. Start saving for college with a 529 Plan. 529 Plans can be used to meet costs of qualified colleges nationwide. In most plans, your choice of school is not affected by the state your 529 savings plan is from. Every state now has at least one 529 plan available. 529 plans can differ from state to state so be sure to do your research first.
  5. Been putting off working out because you can’t afford to join a gym. Do it now and take advantage of the health benefits. Often, your employer will offer a reduced health insurance premium for employees who participate in wellness programs or weight loss programs.

If you’ve already blown your refund. Visit  for  5 Ways To Jump Start Your Savings This Spring

Tax Preparation Info
Taxpayers who make $57,000 or less can now access free software to help them prepare and filetheir federal returns. For those with higher income levels, the IRS now provides Free File FillableForms, electronic versions of the paper forms which allow them to prepare and file electronically. Both are available on the Web site.,,id=118986,00.html?portlet=8

Where’s My Refund?
Where’s My Refundis an online tool that provides refund information for the most current tax year filed, generally available 72 hours after the IRS acknowledge receipt of an e-filed return, or three to four weeks after mailing a paper return. You will need your social security number, filing status and refund amount.

Face-to-face Tax Assistance
Taxpayers who make less than $49,000 can receive tax return preparation help at their nearest IRS Taxpayer Assistance Center or through a local Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program or a Tax Counseling for the Elderly tax preparation site.

To locate the nearest VITA site, call 1-800-906-9887. Members of the U.S. military worldwide can receive free tax assistance through the VITA partnership with the Armed Forces Tax Council. These VITA sites provide free tax advice, tax preparation and assistance to military members and their families.

Until next time stay strong, smart and powerful!


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