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Feature Articles: Taxes


Getting a tax refund? Make it work for you

Brenda Procter, M.S., State Specialist & Instructor, Personal Financial Planning, College of Human Environmental Sciences, University of Missouri Extension


A big tax refund check can provide a financial boost that some families don’t normally receive. If you plan ahead, you can use your refund to solve problems and meet goals.


It can help when everyone in the family talks about what to use your check for and agrees on it, but the goal could be whatever provides the most benefit to the family as a whole. This can be a moment to teach young children that there are limits to what the family can afford. Let them dream a little, but don’t be afraid to say no. They appreciate limits, even if they don’t say so.


Look at this list of ideas, add your own and then make good use of your refund!


  • Pay or catch up on utilities
  • Open an emergency savings account at the credit union
  • Pay off payday loans
  • Get a new TV
  • Buy new glasses
  • Get new clothes
  • Fix your car
  • Get a car with better mileage
  • Pay off your cell phone
  • Get your hair done
  • Weather strip doors and windows
  • Buy compact fluorescent light bulbs to save on utilities
  • Make a deposit on an apartment with better utilities
  • Get renters insurance
  • Pay back a friend or family member
  • Pay your rent
  • Take a vacation
  • Insulate your house
  • Get a massage
  • Make household repairs
  • Get a computer
  • Pay medical bills
  • Buy an energy-efficient stove
  • Give yourself a well-deserved night on the town
  • Pay the babysitter
  • Pay insurance bills
  • Get new shoes
  • Go to the dentist
  • Buy toys
  • Get a cell phone contract
  • Buy furniture you need
  • Stock up on non-perishable food and paper goods
  • Buy an energy-efficient refrigerator
  • Get a new lawn mower
  • Take your kids to the movies
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Last update: Tuesday, April 07, 2015