Pop Culture

How To Spend Your Tax Refund

Did you know that some people save their money?

Since 1955, April 15th has been Tax Day: that special day of the year where that boring homework the government gives you is due, and then you get paid for it. I’m sure there is a Schoolhouse Rock explaining this process of taxes, but I know very little about them. I know I hate paying them. I know people love arguing at holiday dinners where the money should go. And I know that come spring, people get money back for paying them. It’s nice that the government takes a lot of money from us, and then sort of sheepishly apologizes every year by giving some of it back. I have a lot of friends like that. You’re always fronting for the cabs or buying them rounds, and then one day they buy you a drink and make a grand gesture of it, as if that somehow makes up for all the indiscretions of the year. Oddly enough, it sort of does. I don’t know, it’s nice to have a free beer every once and a while, even if it’s coming from a friend who takes your money, promises to use it on education, and then turns around and uses it to blow something up. Thanks, government! Anyway, if you’re getting a hefty tax refund this year, I give you some tips on how to spend it wisely:

1. Put Aside For An Audit

I don’t want to get audited. I imagine a bunch of men wearing suits burst into my apartment, screaming at me, asking if I’ve ever seen the movie The Adjustment Bureau with Matt Damon. I have! It’s about magical fedoras, and it's not good. I get real nervous about filing for taxes. What if I forget something important that I should have declared, like I bought a bunch of racecars or I accidentally had eight kids? I don’t want to go to prison for tax evasion. I wouldn’t be good in prison for tax evasion. That sounds like a white-collar crime and I have no interest in being in a prison with only rich old people. Isn’t that a premise for a show on USA? That definitely sounds like one of those shows on USA that I can’t imagine anyone watches. Anyway: put some money aside in case you get audited and have to pay more money to the government. That sounds like smart advice.

2. Give Some To Your Favorite Freelancer

Since my job is to write books and grace the internet with lists like these, sometimes I have to give money back to the government, on account of how my job is the kind that doesn’t take taxes out of your paycheck and also gets you yelled at on Twitter a lot. It’s kind of a downer: you save a lot of your receipts, you get the eerie feeling you should be paying less back than you do, the math and the thinking and the numbers become too much and I hate it. If I wanted to do math, I wouldn’t have sold my soul to an art school in order to have the kind of career where I put gifs next to jokes. But hey--if you have some extra money lying around, I’ll take it! I need it. My job is to put gifs next to jokes I’ve made on the Internet, nobody has ever suspected I’m rolling in cash.

3. Buy Something Useful For Once

I’ve never heard a person my age go, “I just got a tax refund. I’m going to be responsible with it!” Instead, I watch well-meaning friends of mine go on millennial benders: trendy dinners, expensive jelly sandals, tote bags, or sunglasses they can’t possibly see out of. Wine bottles that cost more than ten dollars. Artisanal mustards. It’s madness. The glaring truth of the matter is I see my friends spend their money on dumb stuff all year. It’s Wednesday? I hate hump day! I’m gonna get a massage! Had a bad date? I deserve truffles covered in Himalayan sea salt!  It’s all just a big spendy nightmare. I just bought myself a makeup bag that says "BONJOUR on it"--I don’t deserve to have extra money! So instead of the usual, spend it on something reasonable, like new shower curtains or a vacuum cleaner. Or maybe use the money to go to the eye doctor and get new glasses. We are all adults with reasonable needs, but for goodness sake, stop treating yourself at every turn. Buy dishwasher soap!


Did you know that some people put their money away and then never touch it? Or that some even save it for things like homes, down payments, future vacations, unseen chaos and rainy days? I’m not sure who these savers are and if they’re just lunatics or the kind of people that don’t think they need the same shade of pinky nude lipstick from eight different companies, but I’m interested in them. I’d like to be one of these people one day. Maybe you can be, too. Seems useful enough.

5. Roll Around In It

I’ve never really had a lot of money at once, but perhaps the best thing to do with it would be to put it all on a bed and roll around in it, like Scrooge McDuck or that guy on Breaking Bad. Of course, a lot of money is covered in feces, but being rich comes with a price and I guess that price is poo. But it’s not like we have a lot of money very often. So, I guess enjoy it.





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