Healthy Ways to Spend a Tax Refund
Invest in Your Future
More than two out of every three tax returns filed in 2015 received a refund. According to the IRS, the average refund was $2,797. That's a nice chunk of change. This year, think about re-investing some of that money into your future well-being. Here are several healthy things you can do with your tax refund.
Expand your transportation options.
Buy a bicycle. Use it for running errands instead of a car. Just remember to pick up a good bike lock, working front and rear lights and a proper helmet as well. For places where there's lots of snow, consider a pair of cross country skis for the months when biking isn't a possibility.
Invest in the food you eat.
Take a healthy cooking class and learn to prepare a few go-to meals that are good for you. You don't have to attend a class in person, there are thousands of videos online that'll show you what to do. For hundreds of free and healthy WeCookFit tested recipes, click here.
Buy containers to freeze and reheat meals in. Sometimes it seems like it takes just as long to cook something for one person as it does for four. Save time by making large meals that are freezer friendly and storing individual servings in freezer and microwave-safe containers. Then when you're in a hurry, throw the food in the microwave for a healthy meal in minutes.
Shake up your workouts.
Sign up for classes in dance, yoga, martial arts or swimming. Commit to keep going for six weeks and see how you feel when you're done.
Have a professional change your exercise routine. Hire a certified personal trainer to design an eight-week program that they can send to your smartphone, tablet or computer. Use them to teach you what to do. Mix guided workouts and a trainer; together with sessions you do on your own to stretch the money out.
Upgrade your accessories.
Look for athletic shoes specific to your activity. There are shoes designed just for runners, bikers, climbers, dancers and every other type of activity you can imagine. Invest in a good pair for your favorite sport. You're likely to have fewer injuries and experience better results.
Grab a couple nice washable gym bags as well. They don't have to be fancy, just able to be easily cleaned. Then when you get home from a workout, you can throw your clothes and bag into the washer and use the fresh clean one to pack for the next day. Having everything ready for a workout takes away the excuse of "I don't have my stuff with me."
Parents with children in strollers should buy a model that's runner-friendly. You get some exercise in the fresh air and you don't need a babysitter to watch the kids.
Pick up a fitness tracker. Several wearable options track what you've done and how long you did it. Exercise becomes a game as you try to make sure you hit your targets for the day.
Add something to your home gym. Buy some sort of cardio machine like a treadmill, elliptical, stair climber or rower. You can use it on those days when it's too hot, too cold or just unpleasant outside. While you're at it, add a television. Then promise yourself you won't watch your favorite show unless you're moving.
Don't forget the office.
Get a standing desk. In case you haven't heard, sitting for eight hours a day is bad for your health. Standing up can reduce your chances of death by 1/3 and a standing desk makes that much easier to do.
Put money aside for future health issues.
Set up a Health Savings Account (HSA). With the Affordable Care Act, millions more people now have insurance. But for many, that insurance carries high deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. Money that you put into an HSA is not subject to federal income tax when you deposit it. HSAs are owned by you. As long as you use the money to pay for qualified medical expenses, you don't pay taxes on the money when you spend it. Also, the funds roll over and accumulate year after year if it's not spent.
Financial advisors suggest one of the things you should do with a refund is to invest in your future. We couldn't agree more. But if you want to spend some of that tax return on yourself, what better investment in your future is there than in your health?
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beginning any diet or exercise program.