If you were stressing out about getting your taxes done on time, good health may not have been top of mind. But if you’re expecting a tax refund, then maybe it should be. If you’re tempted to splurge on a new TV or the latest gadget, first consider an investment that can help you stay healthy for the rest of the year.
Here are a few ideas for your tax refund dollars that could pay dividends for a lifetime:
- Join a gym or recreation center – Whether you put your money aside to cover an annual membership at a local chain or buy a punch pass to your community rec center, you can gain access to a wide range of activities and classes, including pools, basketball courts, racquetball courts, rock walls, cardio equipment, weights and more. Depending on the perks, you can expect to pay between $20 and $60 per month.
- Home gym equipment – If you prefer to work out without getting in your car, an elliptical or treadmill can be purchased for your home and will help you get moving, burn calories and improve your cardiovascular health all year long. Expect to pay between $400 and $500 for a machine of your own. For about $100 or less, you can invest in a collection of dumbbells or kettlebells that can provide weight training and be easily stored away when not being used.
- A bicycle or running shoes – If you prefer to spend more time outdoors, go the old-fashioned route and invest in a bicycle or even a good pair of running shoes. Cycling and running increase your cardiovascular fitness, muscle strength and flexibility. Find new or used bikes at nearly any price point, but be prepared to spend at least $200 for one, and don’t forget to save around $50 for a new helmet! If you prefer running or walking, you can find a good pair of shoes for about $75, and you can hit the road (or a local park or trail) and make strides towards a healthier you. A fast jog will burn nearly 400 calories per hour!
- Fitbits and tracking devices – For $130-$250, you can find a device that will help you track steps, heart rate and activity, adding a dimension of fun and accountability to your exercise. These devices can be especially useful in helping you set and meet fitness goals.
Ads and commercials will often tell you to spend your tax refund on the game console, tablet or a big screen TV, but if you keep your fitness goals in mind, your tax refund can do so much more.