With tax season here again, people everywhere have visions of how they want to spend their money, but do they plan for it… or consider it a bonus? After having been in a sales job throughout much of my life and talking with others, it comes as no surprise that most plan on spending their returns as soon as it hits their bank account. Instead of treating this money like hard earned dollars, people have a tendency to act as if they just received extra or free money (like a bonus check).

One of the top purchases made with tax refunds are vehicles. While dealerships offer a variety of incentives, it’s not by coincidence (this is my belief), that the auto shows begin after the first of the year, showing off their newest models with all of the latest gadgets. It’s easy to get swept up in your emotions while browsing at these new models. In fact, many people love the smell of new cars, so once you sit yourself in one… something begins to trigger the excitement and you’re off! Everyone I know has a “Hot” button when it comes to shopping, whether it’s electronics, clothing or a new automobile; which brings me to the next largest purchase with refund dollars: the television. Talking about the latest gadgets, flat screen televisions can also come with a high price tag, as it’s all about the latest technology and features offered. Beginning with the largest screen at 75-inches in Ultra HD-4K working its way down to that 32 inch for your second television, don’t forget about the possibilities which include extras such as additional operating systems and hardware. Almost anything can be added, from your cell phones to gaming or streaming the internet, it’s unbelievable what you can do today. For those that are all about electronics, this price tag is far from cheap, and just like researching new vehicles… one must figure out the difference between your needs and wants. So many times people purchase big ticket items with all the bells and whistles, but in the end…they don’t use have of the features they come with; nor do they take the time to learn them. Then there are those that begin to burn through their tax money because they didn’t plan for anything. It’s great having extra money at your disposal, but unless you plan for something…most likely it will disappear like Houdini.

What everyone should do with their refund is save it. Planning for a rainy day or to pay down debt should always be first. Unfortunately, history shows that people don’t like to pay off their debts with their tax money, and many will feel self-indulgent to whatever makes them tick; it’s all about the moment. Our younger generation doesn’t like to wait for anything and in fact will want it “Now” no matter what it is. A lot of impulse buying takes place this time of year, hence to all of the year-end clearance ads. If only people would realize that having an emergency fund is as important as having two feet to get around with today. Debt ruins peoples’ lives, but like they say… “You can lead the horse to water, but you can’t make him drink it” … while remembering it’s never too late, so here’s some sites you can get started with www.moneycrashers.com , www.kiplinger.com . As I always say, “If I only knew then, what I know now!” You can make positive changes in how you spend your money, whether it’s a little or a lot… you’ll be wiser and you won’t be sorry.

Make your week count.