8 smart ways to spend your tax refund
after after has shown that American spending has shifted significantly in the past year. For some, that has meant spending less on plane tickets, but more on groceries. For others, it’s meant splurging on home entertainment and saving on housekeeping. With such massive lifestyle changes, it can be harder than ever to keep spending in check. But we have a plan to do just that: First, see how spending habits have changed in your individual household by looking at the spending information and trends you’ve gathered for tax preparation.
Next, save on tax preparation itself by simply using the code HONEY35 to score 35% off federal tax returns with, until 5/17 11:59 p.m. EST.
Finally, use your tax refund to invest in key items that will save money on the categories in which you spent most — or help you to continue to save in categories in which you spent least. Come 2022, you should see more savings than ever, no matter what curve balls life throws our way.
If the transition from in-studio workouts to home gym workouts has left you with a half dozen digital memberships and no real workout plan, consider cycling with streamed rides instead. This bike features similar hardware and content (streamed classes and scenic rides) to what you’d find with options that sell at more than three times the cost. But thanks to a supply-your-own-screen concept that allows the bike to work with any tablet or smartphone, an on-par experience can be had for significantly less.
SHOP: Echelon Connect Sport Indoor Cycling Exercise Bike with 30 Day Free United Membership, Was $599, Now $497, available at
According to a survey conducted bya third of Americans have binged junk food during the pandemic. Instead of loading up on sugar, fat, and sodium-heavy snacks, try finding healthier options for less. Thrive Market allows shoppers to choose from paleo, vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, Whole 30, and several other diet types, along with items that align with specific shopping values (like fair trade, organic/non-gmo, no artificial ingredients, animal welfare and more) to land on snacks that are better for your body and peace of mind. What’s more, its subscription-based model makes for more savings of about 18% on more than 6000+, from these peanut butter cups to .
SHOP: Justin’s Organic Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups, $7.16 for a pack of four, available at
We get it: 2020 was a year of hardcore nesting, so it’s no wonder we splashed out on fancy candles to better scent the experience. But there’s a far more affordable way to fill your home with the sophisticated fragrances from renowned candle makers, courtesy of this smart home diffuser: Fill this plug-in device with two fragrance cartridges (like; ; or ); use the app to create schedules, adjust scent intensity and set the LED nightlight; and never worry about burning a wick (or creating a fire hazard) again.
SHOP: Pura Smart Home Diffuser, $44, available at
At $7 or more a pop, a daily smoothie habit can become shockingly expensive, fast. If you could have afforded to have booked a 2022 plane ticket to Hawaii with last year’s blended beverage bill, consider whirring your own oat milk and fresh fruit smoothies at home. This high-powered blender is designed to pulverize whole fruits, veggies, seeds, and ice without breaking a sweat and features pre-programmed modes that incorporate pulsing, blending and pausing patterns for the perfect blend every time.
SHOP: Ninja Nutri Ninja Auto-iQ BL480, $79.99, available at
Need motivation to get busy in the kitchen? Add up your annual Postmates bill. This cast iron wok — which costs about as much as three dinner deliveries for the whole family — is the versatile tool you need to whip up homemade pad Thai (famed cheftakes just three minutes time), , fried rice, and countless other takeout go-tos for far less time and money than you’d spend when ordering in.
SHOP: Staub Cast Iron 6-qt Wok, $299.95, available at
If cancelled trips to the blowout bar in 2020 meant hundreds (if not thousands) of dollars in savings, it may be time to do away with them for good. One way to make a DIY styling session look more professional is with a sophisticated blow dryer that can speed up drying time without excessive use of heat. This Dyson model, a favorite of professional stylists, achieves this delicate balance without the bulk and weight of many heavy-duty dryers.
SHOP: Dyson Supersonic™ hair dryer Professional edition, $449.99 available at
For many, social distancing measures resulted in cutting housekeeping services in 2020 — which resulted in significant savings. But as busy lifestyles ramp up with vaccination rates, consider adding a little AI to help with day-to-day chores as a way of keeping cleaning costs down. This app-enabled vacuum adheres to set boundaries (to keep the machine from tumbling down stairs, for example), can increase suction power in particularly grimy spots, and is made to clean both hard and carpeted surfaces.
SHOP: Eufy RoboVac 35C, $299.99, available at
With so many streamers offering new releases to be viewed from home, there’s never been a more compelling time to rethink the movie theatre experience for good. For those who may have not missed the sticky floors or overpriced (and overly-salted) movie theater popcorn, but find viewing blockbusters on a 40-inch TV lacking, consider a projector for larger-than-life picture. This one features native 1080p HD resolution, a screen size of 46”-300”, and 50,000 hours of lamp life to match even the most intense of binge-watching sessions.
SHOP: VANKYO Performance V630 Native 1080P Full HD Projector, $299.99, available at