It’s tax time! Tis the season when some of us use our return checks to buy cars, homes, TVs and vacations. Instead, here are some investment tips for how you can use your refund. Last year, the average return was $2,797. Let’s look at five ways you can leverage a similar return to get the best bang for your buck.

Invest in yourself

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the number one way to get the most out of your return is to invest in yourself — and I’m not talking about a spa retreat. Although it would be nice, consider learning something new through a course, coach, trainer, audio books, etc. Learning something new can help make you more valuable to your employer, create more income as a side business or just add to your skill-set to your resume. This is a surefire way to leverage your return.

Create a comeback account

Most people call this an emergency fund and very few people have one. The reason I called it something different is because people trick themselves on what they consider an emergency. Go ahead and laugh, we’re all guilty of taking that “emergency” trip to the beach to prevent us from going crazy. Life happens and it usually comes at us fast in the form of layoffs, accidents, auto repairs or health issues. It doesn’t only apply to you but your village of a family that you may need to assist as well. A good rule of thumb is to have six months of your income set aside in case something happens you haven’t planned for. It does take discipline, but the worst thing is to need it and not have it than to have it and not need it.

Pay off high-interest debt

Whenever you owe someone you’re their asset. You’re generating interest and income for them. The first rule of bossing up on your finances is to pay yourself first via savings. The majority of people pay their bills, which most likely have interest, and then they consider savings. Let’s flip the script and get rid of anything with an interest rate exceeding five percent as fast as possible. The average credit card balance in the US as of 2016 is $16,061. The monthly payment for a card with that balance could be sent to savings, an emergency fund or investment account. If you’ve never thought of yourself as a business, now is the time. You’re running the business of life and you should make it your business to pay yourself first and get rid of debt that doesn’t pay you.

Hopefully, this helps someone take a step back to make a few strides forward

Loving Blavity’s content? Sign up for our newsletter!