Crack open a can of seltzer; it’s time to celebrate!
Your tax refund (finally) just hit your bank account and you’re ready to do some investing--not in the stock market, but in yourself.
Sure, it might be fun to drop a few stacks on a new television or a video game system, but how much will that bring you in the long run? A few hours of entertainment, but that’s it. Instead, opt to spend your return on experiences and items that’ll upgrade your mind and body, both now and in the future.
We’ve got a few ideas on how to invest in your yourself this tax season and spend those dollars in a healthy (and productive) way, no matter if you got $100 or $10,000 back from Uncle Sam.
Plan An Active Getaway
Exposing your body and mind to new scenery--and new challenges--can help expand your worldview and live a happier, less stressed life at home. Don’t think you have the cash to invest in a trip? Your tax return can serve as a de facto vacation fund since you’ll get the lump sum all at once.
The type of getaway is up to you. You could opt for the soothing sounds of the ocean with a relaxing beach vacation, or embrace new cultures with an international vacation to Europe, Asia or South America (just be sure to get your passport first!).
Looking for more of a challenge? The adventure travel industry takes all the excitement of travel and pairs it with physical challenges designed to test your athletic and mental limits. We’ve rounded up a few adventures to get your mind moving:
REI Adventures Galapagos Islands Multisport ($3,799): Hike, kayak, snorkel and bike through the beautiful Galapagos Islands on this eight-day trip designed by the outdoor company REI.
National Geographic Exhibitions--Kilimanjaro Climb in Tanzania ($5,595): Test your limits by trekking through majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest peak, on this 10-day trip led by experienced guides. Pack your hiking boots, because you’ll be on your feet between two and 12 hours a day.
Trapeze School in New York City (starting at $47): Not ready to go abroad? Stay in the U.S. and learn how those amazing trapeze artists fly through the air with these hands-on courses located in New York City.
A soothing Swedish massage. A steam facial. A detoxing sauna session.
Sound like heaven? Invest your tax return dollars in a spa day. Use resources like SpaFinder to locate day spas near you and book your entire relaxing day--and maybe pay for a pal to join you for the ultimate getaway.
You can even combine a trip to the spa with travel with wellness retreats located in beautiful areas around the country and world. These sound amazing:
Silverado Resort & Spa in Napa, California (Starting at $549): Descend on wine country and experience the couple’s escape package with daily spa services and other relaxing amenities.
Sukhavati Retreat & Spa (Starting at $1,232 per person): Practice yoga and experience spa sessions based on ancient Ayurvedic medicine at this retreat in Bali.
Learn Something New
Our minds, like our bodies, need stimulation to grow. Use some of those hard-earned tax return funds to flex your mental muscles--and learn new skills--with online tools ranging from meditation apps (like Headspace) for your smartphone to courses on Lynda.com or Udemy (for creative and technical skills).
Not into online learning? Consider investing those tax return funds into classes for something you’ve always wanted to learn, like woodworking, pottery or yoga.
Make Future You Healthier
We all know we need to eat in a more healthy and mindful way, but sometimes it’s easier said than done. Busy work and family schedules can leave you little time for preparing a healthy meal, so put those tax dollars to good use by investing in meal preparation and delivery services that bring delicious (and nutritious) foods right to your door.
A few ideas:
- Green Chef (organic food delivery)
- Daily Harvest (smoothie delivery)
- Juicero (fresh juice delivery)
- Hello Fresh and Blue Apron (meal kits)
Upgrade Your Mattress
When’s the last time you bought a new mattress? If your answer is “during the Bush administration,” then you’re overdue for an upgrade. Good mattresses can (and should) last for at least five to seven year, but a bad mattress can sag much sooner than that, leaving you with back pain and restless sleep.
And as for newer mattresses? Ask yourself if it’s helping or hurting you. Traditional mattresses are typically made with a coil system, creating a rigid surface that forces your body into a shape, rather than molding to your body. The result? Sleepless nights full of back pain and frustration.
Instead, opt to invest in a mattress designed to mold to your body with four layers of contouring Quick-Response and graphite-gel infused foam. Starting at $500, the Bear Mattress was created with your optimal comfort in mind, taking pressure off your spine and body, allowing for better recovery and a good night’s sleep.
Whip Your Body Into Shape
Starting--or resuming--a workout routine can be daunting--where do you start? Should you focus on cardio or weights? Is yoga good for you? Take the guesswork out of your workout by using your tax return funds to invest in group fitness classes or personal training.
A good personal trainer can help you make the most of your exercise hours by tailoring a workout to your specific fitness level and goals--and then push you until you achieve those goals. A good investment if that keeps you from spending hours with trial-and-error workouts.
Group training classes are also a good way to test our various forms of exercises before committing. Services like ClassPass allow you to test different workout classes at various different boutiques for one price, or drop-in rates at local studios make it affordable to try something new before investing in it long-term.
Bonus: Some fitness studios even give you the first workout free, so save those tax return dollars for a post-workout protein smoothie.