How to spend your tax refund

Look at a W2 to fill out out line 8b of a 1040A. For those who aren’t accounting majors, this may seem like a foreign language. The thought of tax season may make students groan, but those eligible for refunds may find themselves with some spare change.  If that refund is eating a hole in your pocket, here are a few suggestions for that long awaited shopping spree:

$1-$100: It may not make you independently wealthy, but even a small tax refund can be a boost to a limited diet. For those of us living off of ramen and peanut butter sandwiches, some healthy food options may help ward off the finals week junk-a-thon.

Try a Morningstar Veggie Burger (six patties, $4.29), or for a quick snack throw together some almonds, raisins, died cranberries and apricots in a zip lock bag for homemade trail mix. Pick an apple over that 15-cent package of reconstituted noodles and dead week may not be so lifeless.

$100-$300: There may be no better investment for a student than an e-reader. For those dreading a giant checklist of expensive textbooks next fall, the same textbooks in the bookstore are often available digitally for a fraction of the cost.

An E-reader also relieves the pain of lugging a heavy backpack around campus. If that isn’t convincing enough, there are thousands of free books the can be downloaded with the touch of a button. Some of the most popular E-readers on the market include the Amazon Kindle 3 ($139) and the Barnes and Noble Nook (Black and White, $149, Color $249).

$300-$500: As this time of year rolls around, coats and sweaters tend to get shoved to the back of the closet. It’s also the time of the year when jeans begin to fade and clothes look a little stale.

Updating a wardrobe doesn’t have to be a task. Instead of replacing everything in the closet, look for clothes that will go along with what is already there. Also, consider investing in a formal or business outfit. Whether it’s a banquet or a seminar, dressing to impress can be a deciding factor in landing a job or internship.

$500-$1,000: With summer around the corner, Logan is the perfect place to invest in some outdoor gear. Whether you buy a bike and ride the Jardine Juniper Trail (Mongoose Mountain Bike, $500-$800), take a camping trip to Tony’s Grove (Springbar Vagabond Tent, $419.95), or buy a Kayak to take down the Snake River (Perception Sport Caster 12.5 Angler Kayak, $600), the options are endless. Also, it’s never too early to prepare for the slopes. A custom snowboard, boots and bindings can cost anywhere from $700 to $1,000.

$1,000-plus: If a hefty refund is headed your way and school costs are covered, consider using money to make more money. Place a piece of the refund in a savings account.

Feeling really adventurous?  Research a discount stock broker and invest. It’s only a few dollars a month, and if a student could find a way to put away $1,000 to $2,000 a year for 15 years, they would have the potential to be set for the rest of their lives.

– allee.evensen@aggiemail.usu.edu

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