After a long winter, it’s great to see the warmer weather roll in. Even better, getting those tax refunds is uplifting year after year. While you may be able to splurge, focusing on careful financial management can set you up for a great year. At WMB, we value smart spending and saving and encourage our customers to do the same. Here are a few tips on how to take advantage of that fresh refund.

1. Pay off some debt
Debt is real, and unmanaged debt can be detrimental to anyone’s financial well-being. Debt can definitely hold you back, so paying it off in chunks can help tremendously.

2. Build a Rainy Day or Emergency Fund
It’s hard to predict when hard times will come. So instead of preparing for the “if”, prepare for the “when”. Ideally, having three to six months of income stored away can protect you from major income swings and give you time to adjust.

3. Contribute to Your Retirement
At WMB, we offer competitive Individual Retirement Account (IRA) options. Even if you have a 401K through work, this account can lead to thousands more per year after you retire. You’ll thank yourself later.

4. Purchase Insurance and Liability Coverage
Again, we can’t predict when natural disaster or emergencies will occur. Protecting yourself against events like flooding are very affordable, and gives you a sigh of relief in thinking about the what-ifs.

5. Improve Your Home
How long have you pushed off finishing the basement? The bathroom? This year’s tax refund can be used to work on your home and prepare for the year ahead. Switching to energy-efficient appliances can result in lower utility bills.

6. Donate to Charity
It’s so difficult to pass up on donation opportunities. With some extra cash from your tax refund, consider donating to a charity that means something to you.

7. Invest
Once you have an emergency fund, retirement fund, and little to no debt, it may be a good time to start investing. Online stock brokers are very affordable and easy to learn.

8. Invest in Yourself
This all depends on your preferences. Get a gym membership, buy a bike, take a class… the possibilities are endless.

9. Start Saving for Something Big
Being forward-looking and delaying gratification can be difficult. But just picture sitting on the beach next year with your family. Or maybe driving off the lot with that new car you’ve dreamed of for years. Putting aside, and saving some income, can add up to that big spend.

At Wilson & Muir Bank, we know life is more than saving and spending money. You want to experience comfort, freedom, and happiness with your finances. Visit our website or one of our branches to learn more about how we can help.