by Sally Herigstad
Your taxes are done, and let's hope you're getting a refund.
Now the big question is: What's the best use of your tax refund?
Being the savvy money manager you are, you're looking for ways that your tax windfall can help you get ahead. You may splurge a little, but you see this as a chance to improve your finances for the long haul.
Whether your refund is large or small, here are some ideas for getting the most from yours:
It may not be exciting, but it's at the top of the list for a reason. High interest debt can kill your financial future if you let it.
If you're paying 18%, 24%, or even more interest on consumer debt, use your refund to pay it off.
Yes, consumer debt includes car loans. If you owe more in consumer debt than you can pay off immediately, make a plan to pay it off as quickly as you can.
Can you make yourself more valuable at work by taking a class, getting a certification, or learning a new skill?
If you don't like your job, use your tax refund to get started in a new career, or to start a small business. Tweet this
If your house isn't weatherized, your money is literally going out the window – and through the ceiling, up the drafty fireplace.
You may be able to get free advice from your local power company about the most cost-effective ways to save money on heating and cooling your house.
Sometimes just another layer of insulation in the attic can keep your warmer for less money.
Fix leaky faucets, change the furnace and air conditioning filters, and take care of any other little problems before they become big, expensive problems.
If you haven't started investing on a regular basis, now's a great time to start.
Don't wait until you have more money to start learning about stocks and other investments and get in the habit of adding to your account.
Not many years ago, it was difficult to invest in the stock market with small amounts, because the commissions on stock sales made it prohibitive.
Now, you can do online investing with very modest amounts and still get ahead.
What better time to tuck money away for retirement than when you have an unexpected windfall? You were getting along without it before, let's hope you won't miss it now.
Equipment like a sewing machine, a set of home repair tools, and canning supplies can make you more self-sufficient.
They'll pay for themselves over and over as you save money by doing things yourself.
If you haven't gardened before, you may be surprised what it costs for some shovels, seeds and berry bushes, and odds and ends.
You can use those tools and supplies for years, however, and enjoy the fruits of your hard work.
Safety is always top priority, so get new tires if you need them, and make sure your car is in good shape for another year.
You may be able to avoid more expensive car repairs in the future by taking good care of your car now.
Is your tax refund more or less this year than in previous years? Were you surprised?
October 9 — Everyone
Federal Holiday (Columbus Day) - Details
October 11 — Employees who work for tips
If you received $20 or more in tips during September, report them to your employer - Details
October 15 — Individuals
If you have an automatic 6-month extension to file your income tax return for 2017, file Form 1040, 1040A, or 1040EZ and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due - Details
October 15 — Corporations
File a 2017 calendar year income tax return (Form 1120) and pay any tax, interest, and penalties due. This due date applies only if you timely requested an automatic 6-month extension Details
October 15 — Partnerships
Electing large partnerships: File a 2017 calendar year return (Form 1065-B). This due date applies only if you were given an additional 6-month extension - Details
October 15 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax
If the monthly deposit rule applies, deposit the tax for payments in September.
October 31 — Certain small employers
Deposit any undeposited tax if your tax liability is $2,500 or more for 2017 but less than $2,500 for the third quarter.
October 31 — Federal unemployment tax
Deposit the tax owed through 09-if more than $500.
October 31 — Social security, Medicare, and withheld income tax.
File Form 941 for the third quarter of 2018. Deposit or pay any undeposited tax under the accuracy of deposit rules .If your tax liability is less than $2,500, you can pay it in full with a timely filed return. If you deposited the tax for the quarter timely, properly, and in full, you have until 11-10 to file the return.