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Spring has sprung! And with it, endless possibilities for refreshing your home. You can transform your space without giving your bank account a shock by planning and making smart financial decisions.
According to the IRS, the average tax refund is about $3,000. While this won’t fund a major renovation or addition, there are plenty of ways to leverage your tax refund to brighten up your home.
HGTV touts minor bathroom renovations as the best bet for return on investment. Simple upgrades like re-caulking the tub or applying a fresh coat of paint make a big difference. Consider replacing old shower doors with a crisp new shower curtain or swapping a boxy vanity with a pedestal sink to create the illusion of more space.
Cosmetic kitchen updates are another great way to improve the value of your home. If your budget allows, consider swapping laminate counters for granite or an engineered stone like quartz. Modernize your backsplash with tile in a new shape or finish or by painting the existing tile. Sand and stain or paint kitchen cabinets and replace hardware for a fresh new look that is sure to pay off down the road.
Another great value-add is converting an unused dining room into a home office. You can repurpose the dining table as a desk if you want the option of hosting large dinners in the future or replace the furniture entirely. Doors are available in a variety of styles and simple to install.
New crown molding throughout your home is guaranteed to add elegance and impress future buyers. Save money by refinishing rather than replacing your existing hardwood flooring.
Combined with your tax refund, spring sales and manufacturer rebates combine for an ideal opportunity to upgrade appliances to energy-efficient models. According to the US Department of Energy, ENERGY STARÒ refrigerators use 15% less energy than non-qualified models, clothes washers need 35% less water, and both washers and dryers consume 20% less power than standard machines.
Replacing light fixtures with certified models can provide a savings of $75 per year. Add an ENERGY STARÒ light bulb to save 70-90% more energy than a traditional incandescent bulb.
Preventative maintenance is key to keeping your major appliances running smoothly. Servicing your HVAC system, water softener, and water heater can improve efficiency, lengthen the life of the appliance, and decrease utility costs. Taking a proactive approach and scheduling regular checkups is an investment that could save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars down the road.
Update Your Style
A fresh coat of paint is one of the simplest and cost-effective ways to revitalize a room. Lighten up the room with a pale shade or add drama with a bold accent wall. Décor and accessories can make a big impact without a lot of money. New rugs, updated window treatments, bright sofa pillows, and fun accessories can breathe new life into every room of your home.
Improve your home’s exterior by pruning trees and shrubs, and tidying-up the existing landscaping. Native and drought-tolerant plants require little water or maintenance and are an economical way to add color. Add a fresh coat of paint and a wreath to your front door for maximum curb appeal.
Utilize your tax refund to upgrade your grill or replace your patio furniture and create an exciting outdoor living area. Make it comfortable with a hammock and a few toss pillows, then add side tables for drinks and snacks. Add string lights, plants in decorative planters, and a fountain or water feature for a soothing backdrop.
Take advantage of all available tax credits, product rebates, and special offers in conjunction with your home improvement project. Now is the time to install a solar energy system. The Energy Policy Act of 2005 provides a federal tax credit of 30% through 2019. Water utility providers offer incentives and rebates ranging from $40 for hose timers up to $5,000 for rainwater harvesting equipment. Be sure to check with your provider in advance to be sure you understand the application requirements and evaluation procedures.
As you begin your home improvement project, be conscious of the amount of time and money required so you can stay on track with your financial goals. One of the best features of the SmartyPig savings plan is the ability to separate your funds and achieve your financial goals stress-free!