Tax refund should be carefully spent

Published 12:12 pm Wednesday, April 9, 2008

By Staff
There are some really smart ways you might be able to use your income tax refund.
How about a new computer?  
Need a new recliner?
Or do you want to enjoy a nice vacation?
These are all great ideas. But before you spend the money, try to think through all options, even the ones that aren't especially exciting or glamorous.
Consider three general rules:
Do plan ahead before spending your refund.
Without a plan, you may use the money on the first important thing that comes to mind, and then later realize something else was more important. Planning ahead and involving the family increases the chances you will identify all the possibilities, and think about which are most important.
Do devote a portion of your tax refund to build long-term financial security.
Don't throw away part of your refund on loan fees.
Did you know that companies that offer “quick refunds” are just giving you a loan? It's a high-cost, high-risk loan. Build a year-long habit!
It feels great to make good use of your tax refund.
You can experience that same sense of accomplishment all year round!
Tax refund season is not your only opportunity to make financial progress toward your goals.
Every week you have opportunities to improve your financial well-being.
If you don't think you can come up with any extra money each month, look again.
You may be able to plug a few spending leaks and “find” some money!
Once you've found some extra funds, you can use the money to keep bills paid, pay off debt early, build financial security, and keep saving for retirement, college, or something else.
Even a little bit makes a difference!
Recipe Corner
Apple Stuffing
1/4 cup reduced-calorie margarine, divided
1/2 cup each of chopped celery with leaves and onion
1/4 cup parsley
5 tart apples, peeled and diced
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
1 cup soft bread crumbs
Non-stick cooking spray
Melt two tablespoons of the margarine in a nonstick skillet.
Add celery, onion and parsley and cook until tender, stirring while cooking. Remove vegetables from pan and set asid.
Add remaining margarine; heat and add apples. Sprinkle sugar over apples; cover and cook over medium heat until tender.
Remove lid and continue to cook until apples are candied.  Mix in vegetables, salt and pepper; add bread crumbs and stir until well blended.
Use for stuffing bird, chops, or a roast. Or add enough water to moisten and bake in a baking pan coated with cooking spray at 375 degrees for 30 minutes. Yields 8 servings at 1/2-cup portions.