Consumer Watch: Five top ways to use your tax return

Using your tax return for one of these five options is more likely to leave you in a better financial position (FILE).

There are some bright and shiny things you could get with our tax return. Vacation anyone? However, there are a few smarter choices that can pay off in the short and long term.

These are Fox 25 Consumer Watch's top five things you should be doing with your tax return:

1. Savings: Saving money can be tough. If you have no money saved, use this burst of cash to start your emergency fund. The practice putting away a small percentage of your paycheck every month to keep building on that fund.

2. Paying down debt: Whether you are getting a few hundred or thousands of dollars back, it's a smart money move to get rid of some outstanding debt even if you aren't having trouble making monthly payments. Paying off the debt sooner means paying less money over all in interest.

3. Health related expenses: Even with health insurance, certain health expenses are financially overwhelming. Using the money from a tax return to make a down payment on something like dental care can take care of your health and bring you peace of mind.

4. Start investing: If you've been looking to get into the stock market through micro investing or a more traditional way, using your tax return wouldn't affect your normal budget.

5. Home repairs: For home owners, little projects can build up around the house, so whether you are looking to do some painting or a more in depth project, using your tax return to fix up your home will add value if and when you decide to sell.

One time irregular buys are also not a terrible way to go. If you have been needing a new couch or a new bed, it could be a smart money move to use your tax return money to make the purchase outright without taking out a new line of credit. People don't buy things like this often and paying cash will keep you out of debt.

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