Money at 30: How I’m Spending My Tax Refund

As I mentioned in my review of Quickbooks Self-Employed last week, my wife and I recently filed our taxes and, to our surprise, were entitled to a decently-sized refund. That cash ended up being direct deposited to my bank account at the end of last week, leading us to question what exactly we should do with it. What ensued was a struggle I assume many people have where it’s up to you to strike the all-important balance between being responsible with your refund and splurging just a little tiny bit.

After some debate, second-guessing, and eventual agreement, here is how we plan on spending our tax refund:

Vacation must-dos

This time next week my wife and I will be in Paris, France. Needless to say, the unexpected refund means we no longer need to stress about the budget woes that might have come had we been slapped with a large tax bill instead. Furthermore we now have a little extra cash to ensure that we’re doing everything one should absolutely do when in Rome Paris.

Granted, it’s not like we weren’t going to visit The Louvre on our trip but for us to be able to say the cost was covered by the refund is a win. Similarly I have another portion of the money earmarked exclusively for croissants, coffee, and baguettes (and I’m only half kidding). Basically, thanks in large part to our rebate, I’ll be able to accomplish one of my goals for the year: avoid missing out on an experience because of money.

Upcoming taxes

First, I probably should have mentioned that, while we did get a nice refund from the Feds, I do still owe a small amount to the State of Missouri by April 18th. Additionally my tax guy/father has recommended that I begin paying quarterly state taxes. As a result a portion of our glorious rebate will, unfortunately, being going right back to… whatever the Missouri state equivalent of Uncle Sam is.

Retirement boost

Before we got around to actually filing our taxes, I wrote on how my wife and I were deciding on which retirement account we should give an end-of-year addition to. We ultimately choose the Roth IRA, which turned out to be a good move. In fact we ended up earning a major credit for our contributions to our retirement savings. Yes, even though it was a Roth, it was still eligible to earn us a nice chunk of change (this is called the saver’s credit and really deserves its own post down the road).

As I’m sure it’s intended to do, the realization of this credit has made us even more motivated to continue building our retirement savings. Thus a portion of our refund has already been set aside for our next contribution. Of course that will likely bring us another credit next year, so really the circle of tax life just rolls on.

Our next big purchase

After those other three plans, we still have a little bit left over. Instead of deciding exactly what to do with it right now, we’ve elected to just apply to whatever our next larger purchase may be. Current contenders include a new mattress, some summer wardrobe, and a new passenger side mirror for the car. Actually, we better get that mirror fixed first, huh?

There you have it — our plans for spending the tax refund we sincerely weren’t anticipating to get. Clearly not everyone’s plans will resemble ours but hopefully it gets you thinking about how you can best spend your rebate this year. Just be sure to balance the fun with the responsible — like I believe we have — in order to really get the most out of your tax refund.


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site and has recently starting publsihing his own personal finance blog at

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