Do you cringe when tax season rolls around? The paperwork can be confusing to say the least, and there’s always the question of whether or not you’ll owe or be granted an unexpected payday.

Let’s imagine that your situation warrants the latter. If you’ve received a nice tax refund and don’t already have the funds earmarked for something specific, there are some pretty great ways to put that refund back into your household. From family vacations to charitable donations and DIY projects, here are just a few ways that you and your family can reinvest your tax refund in yourselves!

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1. Take a Family Vacation

This may be the most obvious way to spend your money and one that the entire family can enjoy. Depending on how much your refund is, you can plan a short getaway or even several day trips.

You may not want to waste a big chunk of your refund on airfare, so it might be best to choose a destination within driving distance. Travel on a budget by opting for camping or save your money to travel during the off season.

If the family can’t all decide on one specific location, pick a few local attractions you can visit over the course of a few weeks or months. Indoor water parks are fun all year round. Splurge on a dine-in movie, an indoor arcade or amusement park. If you’re feeling adventurous, book a hot air balloon ride or  go parasailing. A fun day at a museum or beach can also be a lot of fun for children of all ages.

2. Pay It Forward

Teaching children to give back, volunteer and donate some extra income is a great way to teach your kids about selflessness. It also helps them to appreciate what they have and understand that not everyone is as fortunate as them.

Sit down as a family and choose a charity or organization that means something to your family personally. Research some foundations in advance that speak to you and your family. Depending on your child’s age, you can go into great detail about those who will benefit from your donation.

Get creative about ways to show your child where their donation is going. Perhaps you donate to a local animal shelter, where you can then visit and can see the quality care the animals receive, thanks to your child’s generosity. It’s never too soon to learn about giving back.

3. Treat Yourself

You work hard for your money and there’s no reason why you can’t splurge a little with that extra cash. And why not spend it on something the whole family can enjoy,l ike a new big screen TV for the living room? Dad gets to watch his sporting events, the kids’ video games are life-sized and mom can complete her workouts with ease.

If you’d rather spread the money around, give each of your children a small budget and allow them to make suggestions on additions for their rooms. Perhaps your daughter wants a new desk or bookshelf and your son would love a bean bag chair or new bedspread.

And don’t forget about a little something for yourself! Maybe a new kitchen appliance or piece of exercise equipment. Let your husband get in on the fun, too and splurge on a power tool or extra-comfy recliner for the living room. It’s okay to indulge in yourself once in a while!

4. DIY Home Projects

Making home improvements with your tax refund is another awesome way to put that hard earned money back into your home, in a way that everyone can enjoy and appreciate. There are some great projects that the family can perform together, too, such as painting, decorating and small home repairs.

Have you been wanting to build a garden outside? The entire family can help build a small garden area, and squeeze in some physical activity and education while you’re at it! Decide on what you want to grow: herbs, vegetables, flowers—or all three? Once you’ve decided, you can get to work by using that tax money for much-needed supplies from gardening tools and fencing to seeds and garden ornaments.

5. Start a College Fund

If you don’t already have a college fund or savings account started for your children, now is a great time to do so. Use your tax refund to lay the foundation for your child’s future. The average cost of annual college tuition at a private university is nearly $35,000. No matter how you look at it, college costs money. So, why not start saving now?

If you’re not sold on starting a college fund, why not just place the money in an interest bearing savings account for future use? That money can help your child purchase their first car, buy gifts or other incidentals. By starting a savings account for your children, you’re investing your tax money in their future. You might even have the opportunity to teach them about budgeting.

Spend Wisely

It’s exciting when you discover the government actually owes you money, instead of the other way around. But before you run and blow that money on just anything, take some time to plan and consider ways the entire family can benefit from your purchase or investment.

And as some items on this list indicate, you don’t need to spend the money on materialistic items. There are numerous options for using a tax refund to better your family as a whole.

Featured Photo Courtesy: NeONBRAND via Unsplash