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To stretch your tax refund is a way that we can pay necessary bills while also making some family memories.
We’ve always been a very frugal family. I was raised on a dairy farm, where money was short, but life was good. I learned many valuable lessons in frugality from my Mom. Once I married, we became a single income family. As we added more children to our family, it became more important than ever to be frugal and pinch pennies.
We have some bills that are always paid with our tax refund. There is generally a little left over and that’s what we use for our family memory splurges. Living a very frugal life can sometimes make one feel that he is missing out on the extras. One way that we combat that feeling is a once a year splurge. At tax refund time, we set aside a small amount for a few nice extras that are typically not affordable the rest of the year.
We pay the major bills first, of course, and then decide how much we have for our family memory splurge account.
The items that we pay help all year long, so it’s a great feeling knowing that those bills are paid in full.
Here are our top 15 uses to stretch your tax refund:
- Property insurance- since we have a small farm, this is a pretty big number.
- Property taxes
- Restock pantry
- Restock freezer- meats, cheeses, butter, nuts, etc
- Replace glasses/contacts
- Vehicle repairs- any issues that have not been addressed throughout the year
- Pay ahead on utility bills- I realize this may not be the best use of the money, but it is a comfort having a credit with the electric company!
- Replace appliances or large items- washer, dryer, tv, etc
- Medical checkups- dental visits, optometrist, etc
- Gym membership for the year- OBVIOUSLY if you won’t go to the gym, don’t spend this money. My husband is a faithful workout guy and goes three times per week. This is his only real hobby. Money well spent- no monthly fee and we save by paying a year at a time.
- Buy gift cards for gifts- they are easier to mail than gifts. Choose stores that your recipient enjoys. Or, buy Amazon gift cards and use them to purchase and send gifts directly to your recipient.
- Buy gift cards for date nights- it’s so much easier to plan a date night when the meal is already paid for!
- Add to your IRA- admittedly, we don’t do this as often as we should, but it’s an important one.
- Add to your savings account
- Family memory splurges!
For our family memory splurges, we don’t have a set amount that we spend, but it generally works out to be $50-100 per person. It’s fun to decide which items on our splurge list we get to buy!
For these splurges, we have only one rule:
It has to be a memory-maker OR has to have a lasting use
Download your own copy of this worksheet!
I think that we have chosen some great items this year! We have both memories and lasting use items for our children.
Rebecca is almost 24. For her birthday, she requested a family trip to the Huntsville Botanical Gardens. That’s what we’ll do. I look forward to the memories we will create on this day trip!
Thomas is 21 and has a truck of his own now. It is need of some new parts, so that’s where we’ve chosen to splurge for him. These parts will make his daily work commute safer and more enjoyable. A double win for this Mama!
Natalie will be 18 later this year. She is making plans to move out on her own. She will need some household items for this move. We are planning to splurge on a few home necessities for her. A shopping trip will be coming soon. We’ll be looking over this list of quality kitchen tools to see which items are most important in setting up her first kitchen.
Mary is 14 and is taking art and sewing classes and will begin dual enrollment college classes later this year. She is the only member of the family currently without a cell phone. Since she’ll be away from home, it’s time to get her this item. We’ve already purchased this item and she’s having a blast setting up her new Samsung Galaxy On5! I love that Mary will be able to keep in touch with us when she is away from home.
We looked at Walmart Family Mobile phones the last time we were at Walmart doing our regular shopping. I just love the convenience of one-stop shopping. I felt confident in choosing WFM since Natalie is still quite pleased with her service with the WFM phone we bought for her last year when she started working.
We chose the Samsung Galaxy On5 for Mary’s first phone. It only cost $69.00 on rollback! Set up was fast and easy. Even I could do it, and I’m not that technically-minded.
I don’t have to worry about a surprise huge phone bill with the Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan. The Plus plan includes Unlimited Talk, Text, & Data which includes up to 10GB of 4G LTE then 2G plus a free VUDU movie credit every month ($7 value- which is the same as a new release rental!) per line for only $49.88.
Getting started with Walmart Family Mobile Plus Plan is simple. Since Family Mobile bills you later, you only have to pay $19.88 when you sign up. Once you choose your phone, grab the SIM Kit and you’re ready to go! Managing the bill online is a breeze too!
The free VUDU movie credit included with the Plus Plan allows us to watch a new movie on our smart tv each month. I’ll share more about that fun service in a future post.
What will you do to create some fun family memories? I’d love to hear what you have planned!
Disclaimer: All prices for phones and plans included in this post are accurate as of the date of posting; however, these prices are subject to change. Please refer to the Family Mobile Hub or your local Walmart for current pricing.
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