Spending Your Tax Refund: 10 Home Improvements That Make Life Better
Life + Money

Spending Your Tax Refund: 10 Home Improvements That Make Life Better


Now that you’ve finally gotten that tax return filed, it’s time to start planning what you’ll do with your refund.

Nearly 83 percent of taxpayers will get money back from Uncle Sam this year, with refunds averaging $3,120. While you can’t go wrong saving the cash or using it to pay down debt, the money may be enough to cover a smaller home improvement project that could add value to your house or, more immediately, improve your quality of life.

Slideshow: Tax Refund Tips — 10 Inexpensive Ways to Fix Up Your Home

Remember that most home improvement projects won’t pay for themselves when you sell the house. The average return on investment for large projects in 2016 is 64 percent (you can see the ROI for some specific projects at Remodeling magazine). So if you’re planning to move out in a few years it may not be worth it to invest too much cash into the home.

Even if these smaller fixes won’t suddenly make your house much more valuable, they can help maximize the enjoyment you get from your home. And cosmetic upgrades like a new coat of paint or updated landscaping could help you sell your home more quickly by boosting curb appeal.

Related: Nearly $1B in Unclaimed Tax Refunds Up for Grabs — Until April​​​​

While you should steer clear of projects that are significantly out of character for the neighborhood, think about the rooms or parts of your house that you use the most (or give you the most grief) when deciding the best ways to spend your money.

Here are 10 home improvement projects that cost less than the average tax refund.