Tax time can cause headaches, but the strain usually pays off. The Internal Revenue Service estimates that more than 7 out of 10 taxpayers will get a refund in 2018. The average refund, as of March 16, is $2,960. That's a lot of money, and it's tempting to blow it all on the spot. But stop and count to 10. You worked hard to earn that amount, and prudence calls for a thoughtful spending plan.
A programmable thermostat is unlikely to eat up an entire refund, and it can more than pay for itself in relatively short order. The federal government's Energy Star program estimates that you can save more than $180 a year by setting the thermostat to raise or lower the temperature automatically while you're sleeping or away from home.
LED technology has advanced over the past few years, and today's LED light bulbs offer the same warm glow of incandescent bulbs but use a fraction of the energy. Many LED bulbs pay for themselves within 18 months and go on to save money for decades more. Some are even remote controlled and dimmable, or can change colors.
A bathroom remodel can cost a lot -- but replacing one or two pieces instead is an affordable way to give the space a facelift. Buy a new toilet or sink, or replace or cover up the floor and shower surfaces to get the most bang for your buck.
A bit of greenery in the home has numerous benefits -- they improve air quality, happiness, sense of satisfaction, and overall emotional health. In the office, plants have a positive effect on employee productivity. If you don't have a green thumb, start simple with succulents or air plants and make your way up to more traditional houseplants.