U.S. Markets close in 2 hrs 24 mins

6 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

While most of us overpaid Uncle Sam in 2012, the good news is we can expect a sizeable tax refund. Best, of course, to be responsible with this windfall and address savings and debt first, but if those financial bases are covered, time for some fun!

Here are six, wise ways to spend your refund.

Cruise Getaway

April tends to be one of the best months to book a cruise. Last-minute specials to the Caribbean and Europe are especially hot this month. Plus, with cruise lines battling with some recent bad publicity, you can expect tons of discounts. JetBlue’s Cruise site, for example, boasts markdowns of up to 80% off brochure prices for cruises setting sail in April. Other travel sites worth checking out include Travelocity.com/Cruises, Kayak.com/Cruises and CruisesOnly.com.


According to researchers at DealNews.com, Amazon has recently slashed prices on its Kindle Fire HD Android Tablets by $30 and $100 – the steepest they’ve ever seen. Since these tablets don't typically see large discounts, the site says this is an exceptional bargain.

If you prefer the iPad, DealNews expects to see price cuts this time of year on the fourth generation tablet, as Apple introduces updates. For the lowest prices check out resellers like MacMall, Fry's Electronics and Best Buy.

Widescreen HDTV

For those in the market for a widescreen, deals on 55- and 60-inch name-brand HDTVs are currently surpassing Black Friday prices, according to DealNews, with offers starting below $700.

Curb Appeal

If you’re looking to get a return on your refund, invest in your home’s curb appeal. Research finds that a home’s exterior leaves a significant impression on prospective buyers. So, if you're planning to place your house on the market, consider landscaping with fresh mulch, plants and flowers and giving your front door and mailbox a fresh coat of paint.

Energy Efficient Appliances

Another smart tax refund project around the house is upgrading to energy-efficient appliances. This can not only help to reduce your annual utility bills by up to 30%, it’s another great way to boost your home’s overall resale value. And the time to shop for all these items is now. With spring in tow, home improvement giants like Home Depot typically host storewide sales this month.

Resume Assistance

Finally, speaking of investments, pouring some cash into your career may also be money well spent. For example: If you’re seeking a new job, experts say spending a few hundred dollars on a career coach to optimize your resume could make a major difference. A study by online job search engine TheLadders.com says a professionally revised resume can up your chances of landing a job by 40%.

What are some other meaningful ways you plan to spend your tax refund? Connect with me on twitter and use the hashtag #FINFIT.