Tax day has come and gone, and if you were lucky this year, all that stress from scurrying to finish last-minute filing hopefully paid off in the form of a nice, big refund check from the IRS.
If you have a refund check coming your way and are contemplating on spending it on a nice gift for yourself, invest in something that helps keep a little extra change in your wallet over the long run.
1. Home Soda Machine: This is one of the coolest new gadgets out there. If you have a sweet tooth for carbonated soda, but are sick of buying cans or bottles of Coke, invest in a home soda machine that makes a bubbly drink right in your kitchen.
Prices range from $80-180 for a nice machine, but it will end up saving you 36 cans of soda every week (for a family of 4, that works out to around $15/week). You’ll start noticing the savings in 5-9 months after your purchase, plus add in the convenience factor and this is one smart buy.
2. Espresso/Coffee Maker: If you can’t last a day without drinking a cup or two of coffee, then a coffee maker is a must have for your kitchen. Experiment with your own coffee concoctions with an espresso maker instead of buying a pricing latte more than 3 times per week.
You’ll start seeing savings in 6 months by replacing your coffee shop trips by being your own Barista.
3. Bicycle: With gas prices shooting up practically every week, there’s no smarter buy than a road bike to make those short errands. If your trip is only 3 miles away (one way), save on gas money by riding a bike to your destination.
Replacing short distances with a bike instead of your car will start saving you money in less than a year, and besides it’s good for the environment and your health!
4. Backyard Grill: Summer is just around the corner and what better way to celebrate warm weather and a refund check by splurging on a BBQ grill! If your family likes to eat out at least one a week, a grill will cut back spending on dining out but still give you a quality, restaurant style meal.
Savings will be seen in one summer and the family will love spending time together lounging outdoors for a backyard picnic!
5. New Mattress: It’s important to get a good night’s rest every night, but that’s hard to do when you’re tossing and turning from pain and uncomfort from a budget spring mattress. Do yourself and your back and neck a favor and invest your refund on quality mattress that will last you at least ten years.
Savings of a good, durable mattress will be noticeable after seven years, but the investment in a comfortable night’s sleep is priceless to begin with.
[Source: CBS money watch]