Tax time can be something to look forward to, if you’re looking down the barrel of a refund! With travel and holidays a little bit of an uncertainty at the moment, you may be trying to figure out a way to spoil yourself or your family without setting yourself up for disappointment. We’ve put together some ideas to spend your tax return – some are fun, some are smart, and some sound like pure indulgence – something for everyone!

Invest in yourself

There is no time like the present! This year has taught us a lot, and ‘life is short’ has to be up there on that list. If you’ve been considering a change in career or any kind of self-improvement, your tax return could be the push you need to invest in yourself. Learn something new, sign up for a course you’re interested in, join a gym or club! It doesn’t matter if it’s for work or play, if it makes you happy and challenges you, then it’s worth it.

Learn cooking skills online

Save, save, save

There’s always a rainy day waiting! Do your future self a favour and pop at least a little of your return into savings. Next time you need a new tyre or spring a leak in the bathroom, you’ll thank yourself! For some unknown reason, the hardest part of saving is always the start. If you’ve got a little chunk of money from your tax return, it could be an incentive to set yourself a savings goal – and much easier to add little bits to each time you get paid! There are plenty of savings plans you can follow based on your target, but a simple rule to follow is 10% of your paycheck should always be savings.

You could also consider boosting your super a little – latest figures estimate to live comfortably in retirement, you will need about $45,000 a year on your own, or $63,000 as a couple – so help your future self now!

Donate if you can

There are so many worthwhile causes out there, many of which have been highlighted during this crazy 12 months we have all experienced. More of us have found ourselves in need this year and reached out for help, and your tax return could be your chance to help someone else in return. From cancer research, to animal welfare, to those living below the poverty line, your donation could mean something life changing for someone out there. The culture of helping your mates is why we are proud to be Australian – it’s definitely something to consider!

Pay off debt

It’s not the most exciting option when you come across some extra money – but sometimes the best thing you can do to spoil yourself is to resolve some stress in your life. It has become increasingly easy to let debt build up these days, with AfterPay, ZipPay, OpenPay, every-type-of-pay.. Whether it’s getting ahead on your car loan, paying off a credit card or popping a little extra in your mortgage re-draw, having less owed money hanging over your head can go a long way to helping you feel more in control of your life. With that debt paid down, you may even find yourself with a little bit of extra money in your pay packet to spoil yourself more often!

Middle aged woman executive manager company representative welcoming business partner while sitting in modern office boardroom or trainer shake hands with participant before starting education meeting

Start a business

If you’ve been dreaming about a change in profession or making a little something extra, your tax return could fund your next great business venture. A good side hustle can bring your non-work dreams that much closer and working for yourself can increase your flexibility and work ethic. You could be surprised at how much inspiration flows from having less financial burden. A little cash injection could set you on the path to something amazing!

Renovate or rejuvenate your home

Renovations are a great way to spend extra cash. They feel exciting and almost like shopping, but instead of empty purchasing, you’re investing in the biggest and most important asset you own. You could go all out and add a room, a deck or remodel your kitchen, or simply paint a wall or two! New blinds or curtains are also a great way to freshen a room.  If you’re renting, try removable options – some new furniture, art or a well-placed rug could change the space completely! Planting some new garden beds or reworking your landscaping can dramatically increase your street appeal, which is always important when looking at the value of your home.

Portrait of a happy couple laughing while taking a break from painting - home improvement concepts

Invest in your health

If you use a tax consultant to submit your return, you’ve likely been provided some advice about the state of your health insurance. Use this time and extra cash to have a look at your options! Consider your plans for the next few years when deciding on the cover that could suit you and your family. You could also invest in other health related goals – a new diet or exercise program, a gym membership, or a personal trainer!

Indulge in a spa day

Port Macquarie is littered with options in the beauty realm, so you are spoilt for choice! Head to your good old favourite or try something new, just because you can! You’d be surprised how affordable some of the all-day packages are, you’ll end up feeling like a new person after a hours and hours of pampering. Having some extra money could be the permission you need to treat yourself! Consider taking a friend along to make it an extra special day out, or book in some much-deserved alone time – whatever brings you the most joy.

Laughing diverse girlfriends enjoying girls day out at the spa. You might also be interested in these:

Go on a shopping spree

Online or offline, there is always a good sale or two going on this time of year. If you’re in the market for something new, now is as good a time as any. Take advantage of the sales by shopping around, and make sure you’ve done your research if it’s a big purchase. There’s a difference between spoiling yourself and blowing your money on a rushed or impulse buy! If you aren’t keen on getting out to explore our local shops, many of them have websites you can utilise or simply give them a call! A new fridge, a new dress, a new car – now’s the time to get that thing you’ve been eyeing off.

Girl with shopping bags in the street after a spree of spending

Book yourself a ‘staycation’

We are lucky enough to live in a stunning and popular holiday destination. Why not take advantage of it with a ‘staycation’? Book yourself a weekend in one of the many lovely hotels in the area, order room service, relax and enjoy yourself! Pretend you’re a tourist in your own town – look up fun things to do locally, dress up and head out for dinner somewhere fabulous, be a little extravagant, and support our beautiful local area while you do so. If that’s not really your style, there is also great places to camp and appreciate our amazing natural assets too!

Lighthouse beach seen from the lighthouse in Port Macquarie in the summer

Expand your interest in a hobby

If there’s something that makes you happy, that challenges you or brings you joy – then that’s the perfect thing to spend some extra funds on! From fishing or hiking, to crafting or stamp collecting, to rock climbing or sailing – hobbies can be expensive! Giving yourself permission to refresh your kit or extend your collection is much easier with a little bit of cash.

Have an experience

It often feels like an indulgence to do something ‘simply for the experience’. Adventures like skydiving, whale watching, horse riding and hot air balloon rides can be expensive but completely worthwhile! And if you have a bit of extra money, the risk of having a not-so-great time isn’t as important – give yourself permission to TRY! Websites like Red Balloon specialise in selling experiences and could be a great place to start exploring your options.

Support local businesses & restaurants

There’s lots of things that could be counted as ‘spoiling yourself’. For some of us, spoiling ourselves is making time to take our loved ones out for a meal, to set time aside to invest in the people most important to you. Restaurants all over the country are struggling and could use your support – so consider booking some family time at your favourite eatery – your patronage would be so appreciated! At the Westport Club, we’ve just increased our menu options and we have an impressive specials list every day – you are sure to find something that the whole family can enjoy. Book online to ensure we have a table set aside just for you.

Friends and family enjoying time together drinking and eating cheers

Your tax return is a bit of a bonus – make sure you treat it like one! It’s something extra, unexpected, so make it work for you and your situation. The most important thing to get out of your tax return is some joy and satisfaction; there’s got to be something on this list that would ignite those feelings for you.