Manilla Mini: The Smartest Ways to Spend Your Tax Refund

03/19/2014 05:20 pm ET | Updated May 19, 2014

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So, you just got your tax refund in the mail. What are you going to do with it? Chances are you'll probably end up spending it on something you don't really need. Why not make your money work harder for you? Here are four guilt-free ways to spend your tax money -- and get more in return. Watch the video.

1. Reduce your debt or increase your savings.

It might not be the most fun way to spend your tax refund, but it is one of the smartest. Not only will you decrease the interest you're paying on your debt, which saves you money, you will also be lowering the period of time on which you are repaying your debt. If you don't have debt, put all or part of your refund into your savings account, 401(k), or investment accounts to make your money work harder.

2. Make improvements to your assets.

If you own a home or car, you probably have some routine maintenance you've been putting aside. Put your refund money into fixing these problem areas and increase the value of your asset.

3. Invest in your health:

Join a gym, get a trainer or buy new exercise equipment. Not only will you feel better mentally and physically, you will also avoid rising healthcare costs and might be eligible for other money-saving benefits.

4. Learn something new.

Invest in yourself for long-term payoffs. Learning a new skill or trade that is useful to your industry can help boost your career trajectory and have long-term payoffs.

For more tax tips and money advice, visit The Manilla Folder.

Sarah Kaufman is the editor-in-chief of The Manilla Folder at, a free service that helps you manage your bills, finances, utilities, daily deals, travel and rewards programs, and subscriptions -- all in one place. Sarah is also a regular contributor to Esquire, Yahoo! Finance, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, Redbook, The Motley Fool, and other major sites. For advice on money and career development, visit The Manilla Folder.

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