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It’s that time of year already, as much as we might like to ignore it.

It feels like just yesterday that we finally got the hang of writing “2019” on our bill payments and checks. Now, we have to get it into our heads that another year has come and gone. Already we have to worry about doing our 2019 federal and state taxes.

Tax RefundSure, taxes aren’t the most fun time of the year. Depending on your lifestyle, taxes can take anywhere from one to several grueling hours - going through receipts, making adjustments for changes in the family, and working out how much you might owe the government. Making things worse, springtime around the Kansas City area is a gorgeous relief from the cold and dreary winter, and there are few of us who like to be stuck inside during it. For the average American, however, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: the humble tax return.

Unsure on what you want to spend your hard-earned tax dollars?

Here are five smart ways to spend it that will keep on giving down the line.

1) Purchase a Buy Here Pay Here Car

We can’t let you leave this list without praising the simple buy here pay here car.

Getting around without a car is a hassle in places like Missouri. Sure, in places like Kansas City, you might get away with using public transit most of the time, but what about if you want to get out of the city for a while?

Purchasing a buy here pay here car is one of the best ways you can do this while also investing in other areas of your life. Having a second car available is useful for when your primary vehicle breaks down, for when your kids get old enough to drive, or to even out the mileage on your cars to ensure their long lives. Buy here pay here cars are usually great deals, so even if your tax return doesn’t cover the full cost of the vehicle, it will help you out with a hefty down payment so you’ll pay less over time.

2) Pay Off Debt

Debt is not a position to be ashamed of - in fact, most Americans are in debt. The debt average in the United States was over $13 trillion in the first quarter of 2019. It has been steadily increasing over the past five years. The most commonly stated reasons for debt included home loans, student loans, credit card debt, and auto loans. Most Americans tick off at least one of these items, and sometimes paying off that debt can seem impossible. Luckily, tax season is a great time to chip away at debt when you have the extra money, decreasing the overall amount you will pay over time.

Most debt advisors will suggest paying more than the amount due, but that isn’t always a tangible solution for those in debt. We recommend paying off monthly debt as soon as possible, preferably within the same month. That way, when you receive extra money, you can make larger payments toward your debt and ultimately save on purchase interest.

3) Buy a Gym or Group Fitness Subscription

Getting fit doesn’t necessarily mean losing weight or making a huge lifestyle change like weight lifting if you don’t want it. Getting a gym or group fitness subscription is a commitment to long-term health. It can help you maintain physical, emotional, and mental well-being, regardless of your weight or ability. Studies show that people who work out or pay attention to their mental and physical well-being spend less time going to the doctor, and unexpected doctor visits are listed as some of the biggest reasons why people run up credit card debt.

Better yet, you don’t have to work up a massive sweat to reap the health benefits of a group fitness subscription. Even something as low-key as weekly yoga or meditation can lower stress enough to save you on the cost of doctor visits. A recent study says that stress can cause up to as much as 80% of doctor’s appointments. Therefore, reducing stress can make an impact on the number of times you visit the doctor each year. If you’re a go-getter, working out a few times a week on equipment like the treadmill or elliptical can also boost endorphins and lower stress.

4) Invest Your Money

Investing your money in stocks has never been easier, and it is a great way to make money from additional income like your tax return potentially. If you know a little about stock investments, you know there are different ways to invest based on your interests. AutoBank’s top picks for investments are all car-related, but the good news about investing is you can mix it up and spend money on causes you genuinely believe in.

However, it might seem hard to get started with investments if you have no prior knowledge about them. Apps like Stash, Robin Hood, and organizations like Charles Schwab help you make sound investments and learn about the process while you’re at it.

5) Make Home Repairs

We tend to get used to issues in our home, which can make us blind to them in the long run. However, if we put them off for too long, they can grow to be an even more significant problem, costing more down the line. Unfortunately, we don’t always have the money to make substantial home repairs, which is one of the reasons we put them off. Tax returns are often the perfect solution to home repair issues. Using them quickly to fix your water heater, replace a window or two, or repaint the house is a smart way to use the money from your tax return.

One suggestion for keeping up with home repairs is to write down noticeable issues whenever you see them. Keep a note on your phone, since you likely always have that with you. Then, when you get your tax return, you can review the repair list and see which ones your tax refund will be able to help you make.

Ready to spend your tax return on a car? Look no further than AutoBank of Kansas City. We have the best deals on reliable used cars in Gladstone, Kansas City Northland, Parkville, and more. Visit our homepage for more information on getting started with our business.