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Many of us depend on our tax return to cover important expenses that we’ve been putting off. Whether that be to buy a new car, fix a broken furnace, pay college tuition or stash away in case of an emergency, this extra income can really help get us ahead. One place people like to show a little love with this extra cash is their home. There are all kinds of things we can do around our home to not only make them more comfortable, but to add value and save on costs over time.


  1. Replace appliances with energy-efficient versions.

Making these upgrades can lower your utility bills AND help the environment. When looking for appliances, be sure to read the Energy Guide label. The FTC requires that this yellow and black label be attached to all new appliances (except kitchen ranges, microwave ovens and clothes dryers). It states the estimated annual energy consumption of the appliance, allowing you to compare to other models to find the best option. You should also keep an eye out for the ENERGY STAR logo. Any appliance with this logo is more energy-efficient than the standard comparable model. Get more tips for finding energy-efficient appliances.


  1. Make some repairs.

If you’ve avoided fixing that leaky faucet or replacing your broken air conditioning unit, now’s the time! It’s never fun to spend a lot of money on these things, but these repairs can save you a major headache in the future.


  1. Upgrade your windows.

Upgrading to energy efficient windows not only makes your home more comfortable, it can also lower your heating and cooling costs. If you are currently using sealants and weatherstripping to deal with drafts, it might be time to consider a more permanent solution. Expert window dealers can help you choose the appropriate glass pack for your region, as well as the style of windows you want for your home.


  1. Replace your kitchen cabinets.

It’s amazing what replacing your kitchen cabinets can do for the appearance of your kitchen. Instantly modernize your space with sleek new cabinetry.


  1. Take it outside.

Don’t forget about the yard! Add on a new deck or completely overhaul your landscaping. Spending some money on beautifying the outside of your home will make you happy while boosting curb appeal.


  1. Get new carpet or refinish the hardwood.

Think about all the spills and dirty shoes that have landed on your floors. Why not use some of that tax return to get brand new carpet or buff out the scratches and make that hardwood shine like new?


  1. Finish the attic or basement.

That workout room you’ve been dying to install in your basement? It’s time! Even finishing just part of the basement can make all that space much more beneficial.


  1. Remodel the bathrooms.

Whether it’s just the master bathroom that you’ve thought about updating, or they all could use a little sprucing up, using your tax return to improve this often-used room is worth it. According to the 2016 Cost vs. Value Report, you could receive about a 65.7% return on your investment.


  1. Get a home energy audit.

If you’re considering purchasing those energy efficient appliances or upgrading your windows, this could be a great way to see exactly where you are losing the most energy. An audit can help you assess how much energy your home uses and evaluate what measures you can take to improve efficiency.


  1. Pre-pay your mortgage.

Consider using your refund to pre-pay your home mortgage. Even one extra month can help you not only save on interest payments over time, but it can also help you pay off the principal of your mortgage faster.

Using some of your tax return to make improvements around the home is worth the investment. Make a “wish list” and a “needs list” to determine which areas to tackle first.

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