April 18 is the last day to file your taxes in the US. If you haven’t already claimed your refund, then you’re about to get a spring in your step when that government-issued cash bonus flows into your bank account.
In 2015, the average refund was $3,120, according to the IRS. That amount is nothing to sneeze at. In fact, it’s a healthy dose of (already earned) spending money that you can use on just about anything, assuming you’ve decided not to stash it away for later.
But where to start? Here are a few ways you can burn through that fresh cash.
Not all gyms are created equal. Sure, you can get away with just your local grunt-and-sweat facility that has weights and treadmills -- or you can set aside your refund to upgrade your gym game for a whole year.
Places like David Barton Gym and Equinox offer top-notch equipment in clean, high-tech spaces, plus personal training services, a whole roster of fitness classes, and pristine locker rooms. A nice gym turns working out into an indulgence, not a chore.
Get a jump start on your tan with a quick trip to Florida or Hawaii. With roundtrip flights from New York to Miami going for under $500, and two-night stays in hip hotels like the Fontainebleu Miami Beach costing less than $800, you can easily afford a decadent weekend away with those refund dollars.
Phone screen cracked? Fix that. Laptop loading at a glacial pace? Time for an upgrade. Been hankering for an Apple Watch, just because? Now's the moment. Or are you ready to test out the latest in smart home tech? Your tax refund is a great excuse to try out new technology that isn't necessarily a must-have -- but whether you're interested in a Juicero (the 'Keurig for green juice'), the new Naked 3D Fitness tracker (a 'magic mirror' to track all of your body's changes), or an Amazon Echo, you can have it all for under $3,120.
Nothing fits better than something made just for you. Bespoke suiting may be a splurge, but it's worth it: you'll end up with a suit that's exactly the right fabric, fit, and color — and it will inevitably last forever, thanks to the top-notch quality.
In New York, bespoke tailors like Michael Andrews will charge anything from $1,000 to $10,000 for a suit, although most run for around $2,000.
If you want to up your timepiece game, $3,000 will go far: quality brands like TAG Heuer, Montblanc, and Omega are all now comfortably in your spending range. Wearing a nice watch is a subtle signifier of who you are and what you stand for.
For those with summer shares in the Hamptons or other vacation destinations: your tax refund is a great source of income to set aside to pay for the property you agreed to rent with 10 of your friends while you were tipsy way back in the depths of December. It sounded like a good idea at the time, until you realised how much it would dip into your savings.
Don't worry -- just use your refund to offset costs.
Feeling spontaneous? Pick up a last-minute ticket to Coachella (available on StubHub) and hotfoot it out to the desert this weekend or next to enjoy big-name music acts like Calvin Harris, Guns 'n' Roses, and LCD Soundsystem, all while surrounded by a slew of celebrities letting loose in the California sunshine.
Need to plan a little more in advance? Tickets to Chicago's Lollapalooza, New York's Governor's Ball, and Tennessee's Bonnaroo are all major music events that offer VIP options within your refund budget.
Spend $2,000 or more and watch the velvet rope lift as you roll into a nightclub. You can use an app like Tablelist to reserve (and check pricing on) your evening as a nightlife VIP.
For $2,000 and up, you'll most likely be able to get the full experience: a large table to fill with guests of your choice, sparklers when your alcohol is delivered, and a designated waitress making cocktails for you and your friends.
At about $150 for an hour, helicopter tours of major metropolises like New York City are actually relatively cheap. It may feel like a fancy excursion, but it's not even going to dig too deep into your refund dollars.
Grab yourself a plus-one and enjoy the views.
If you've always secretly dreamed of being the next James Hunt, now's your chance. For just $2,595, you can book two days at the advanced road racing school at the Pocono Raceway. Many driving schools at tracks around the country are even more reasonably priced and will run you under $500.
Will you use your newfound speed skills daily? Not necessarily, but at least you'll have given the racetrack a shot, and you'll feel more confident in your ability to pull out some Bond-style driving in a getaway.
Skydiving is another activity that you probably think is going to break the bank -- but it's definitely doable with your refund in tow. At about $300 per person, you could even book a group outing for you and your friends; their lucky day!
Throw in professional photography and videography packages to ensure your adrenaline rush is properly documented.