We’ve finally made it to that time of the year: tax return season! I won’t bore you with the details on how these beautiful little jackpots work, mainly because, as unmanly as it may be, I really have no fucking clue how it all actually works.
Yes, my parents still file my taxes with their “guy” and I then proceed to pester them for the next couple of weeks about when I will see my check. This is my first year out of college, and having actually earned a real income, I am even more excited for this time of year than usual. I mean shit, I feel like I should get a tax return, some extra vacation days, and maybe even an old fashioned from the cute girl in HR for how much dear Uncle Sam took out of my paycheck throughout the year. I have decided to spend the last week of March getting absolutely hammered in Panama City with some friends who were smarter than I was and are in the final year of the classic five-year plan. Yes, I still question myself every day on my decision to graduate in four years, but I digress.
According to CNN Money, the average tax return for Americans in 2011 was $2,913. While it’s safe to say lot of us might not be getting paid like the average American, we can still expect a pretty decent return. Here are the five things I first thought of when I pondered what to use my return money for. If you don’t get a tax return, or you are like some of my self-employed friends who actually have to pay taxes back, then consider my first shot in Panama dedicated to you.
1. Save It
Sure, you could take your couple thousand dollars and throw it into the old savings account and feel really good about yourself. But at the end of the day, let’s be honest, that sounds a lot like leaving a party at 9 p.m. Nobody in his or her right mind would just tuck this money into an account that gains $0.01 interest every month. Emergency funds are for pussies anyway.
2. Invest It
If you are extremely financially savvy, then this is another valuable option. But, if you’re like the majority of young people, then you still don’t have the first clue–or the discipline–to put a couple grand in an investment account and watch it slowly profit over the years. Learn your shit before you go throwing your money into an account you can’t withdraw from during the first five years.
3. Pay Down Student Loan Debt
LOL sure. These bastard payments are going to be staring us down for the next 10 to 20 years, so what does $13.42 less a month really mean in the grand scheme of things? You’re not going to notice that extra money in your pocket each month. Save this option for when you reach the point in your life when you really feel grown up, or when you hit the Powerball numbers you know you’re destined to hit.
4. Go On A Trip
I’m going to go ahead and say this is the best option there is for postgrads. You worked your ass off last year, so take this money and spend it on number one. You’re not going to be young, single, and without any kids forever. As depressing as it is, there just aren’t going to be many more years left to travel on YOUR time, so worry about the first three on the list in a couple years when you can’t picture yourself bonging beers on a beach at 8:00 a.m.
5. The Ultimate Weekend Bender
This is probably a good option for the people out there working on a postgraduate degree. First, go on a 48-hour, nonstop rampage. Head to the bar and order those drinks you always want, but are too cheap to actually buy. Get everyone a couple extra rounds of shots, and leave a more than a generous tip. Then, after your weekend hiatus, go all out and buy yourself that $200 dollar bottle of scotch you’ve always wanted, refill your kegerator, and make sure to top off that bottle of adult candy you keep hidden away in your sock drawer. Dammit, you deserve this.
The options are endless on what you could spend this cash on, so I’m challenging you to go out and do something crazy with it. Also, one more thing: you might want to throw a few hundred to the side for bail money if you’re planning on getting too wild. I know I sure am.