Here comes the sun! After a long winter, spring has sprung — or will soon in your neck of the woods. That warmer weather will surely help rid you of cabin fever and banish those winter blues. But spring also can bring new life to your finances.
Following are a half-dozen ways spring weather helps your money grow.
Reap the harvest of a tax refund
Spring is the season when millions of us will get a tax refund. In fact, about 75 percent of taxpayers get refunds, and the average amount is around $2,800, according to the IRS.
Although it can be tempting to celebrate that windfall with a splurge, it’s better to keep longer-term goals in mind. For example, you might want to pay off debt. As Money Talks News reporter Marilyn Lewis wrote earlier this year:
Think of it this way: Paying off a debt with a 15 percent interest rate is like earning 15 percent, risk-free and tax-free. That’s an investment virtually impossible to find these days.
For more tips, check out “Tax Hacks 2017: 9 Smart Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund.”
Cancel the gym membership and head outdoors
Each January, a flood of exercise newbies sign up for expensive gym memberships, all in the hope of fulfilling a New Year’s resolution to get fit. By spring, the vast majority of these folks have returned to their couch-potato ways.
But you don’t have to join them. Renew your commitment to a healthier you by taking your workout into the great outdoors. Fresh air and sunshine can serve as motivators and give your exercise routine a much-needed boost. If you enjoy getting fit with Mother Nature, cancel your gym membership and save a bunch of cash.
For more tips on cutting exercise costs, check out:
- “9 Best Low-Cost Exercises for Weight Loss“
- “How to Get Paid to Get in Shape“
- “The Best Home Exercise Equipment for People Over 50“
Throw open the windows
The debate is eternal: Is it more costly to heat your home in winter, or cool it in the summer?
The right answer largely depends on where you live. Floridians loathe the hot and humid summer and its high air-conditioning costs, while winter heating bills can torch your savings in Northern states.
But no matter where you live, spring is likely to be a less costly “in-between” season, when you keep your furnace in lockdown mode and throw open the windows to enjoy cool, fresh and free air.
Enjoy the lower bills while they last, though. After all, summer is right around the corner. Prepare to keep those bills low by reading “It’s Heating Up: 19 Ways to Bring Down the Cost of Staying Cool.”
If you want to get a head start on next winter, check out “19 Cheap or Free Ways to Cut Your Winter Energy Bills.”
Look for seasonal bargains
One of the best ways to save is to “zig” when other shoppers “zag.” It is counterintuitive to shop for a heavy coat during March, when winter is a fading memory. But buying a jacket now can save you big cash, as retailers dramatically mark down the cost of their winter inventory during early spring.
Jump to the end of spring, and you’ll save on spring clothing as retailers try to clear out their stock to make room for summer wear.
Or perhaps you have an incurable sweet tooth. If you have a little self-discipline, you can save a bundle on chocolates and other candies by waiting until after Easter to score bargains of 50 percent or more on your favorite treats.
There are many other ways to save if you use a little counterintuitive ingenuity. For more tips on cutting shopping costs, check out:
Host a spring sale
As the weather warms, it’s time for a little spring cleaning. This annual ritual is the perfect opportunity to gather together items you no longer need — clothes, furniture, old books and other accumulated stuff — and sell them in a yard or garage sale.
Perhaps you need a little extra money to pay down a debt. Or, maybe you hope to collect enough coin to fund a mini-vacation this spring or summer. A yard sale helps you get rid of the old and welcome new opportunities to build a stronger financial base — or simply to have a little fun.
For more tips on hosting the perfect sale, check out “16 Tips to a Super Successful Yard Sale.”
Plant a garden
Finally, spring is the perfect time to get your hands dirty, till the soil and plant a garden that will bear fruit — and vegetables — for months to come.
In fact, each $1 spent on seeds yields a harvest of about $75 in vegetables, according to seed giant Burpee. Plus, a garden will keep you outside for countless hours over the spring, summer and fall.
For more tips, check out:
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