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It's sometimes tough financially to make home improvements. Many home improvements cost around four digits, and some cost even more. Unless you've been saving for a project, you're unlikely to have that kind of cash lying around.
Enter your tax return. If you're receiving a sizable chunk of change, it acts almost as an automatic savings account. Suddenly, you have money you didn't have before.
Whether your tax return equals $500 or $5,000, you can use it to cross some home refurbishments off your list that improve your home's livability and appeal. Some improvements even enhance your home's energy efficiency, which lowers your cost going forward.
Here are seven home improvements that either make your home more fun, enhance its appearance or improve its energy profile:
Remodel the Kitchen
Full-scale kitchen remodels—replacing and redoing everything in the kitchen—can cost more than the average tax return. Instead, you can remodel effectively by picking certain elements of the kitchen you want changed.
Look around and see what you most want to redo. Are the cabinets old and dated? Upgrade to new wooden cabinets with sturdy handles and pulls; you have a variety of stains to choose from. Are your appliances 20 years old and counting? You'd be wise to replace them. Stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers should be traded in after two decades of use. Countertops still Formica or tile? Gleaming marble might be in your future.
Refurbish the Bathroom
Bathrooms tend to look dated if they haven't been upgraded in a while. Like your kitchen, you can make your bathroom look wonderful for a relatively small sum of cash. Upgrade the fixtures with gleaming brass or pewter. Re-tile the floor in a modern pattern.
If your tax return is small, invest in items that will freshen up the bathroom. A new shower curtain combined with a few decorative tiles on the wall, plus a new towel holder, may be all you need to make the area shine.
Install Wood Floors
If you have carpet or old wood floors, give your home a beauty boost with new wood floors. These are even healthier, because wood floors are less prone to hold dust mites and bacteria from food and pet accidents that linger even after cleanup. Since many people love wood floors, this remodel can also increase the resale value of your home.
Wood flooring costs, on average, $7 to $12 per square foot or higher. Depending on the size of your tax return, you may want to replace only the flooring in a living room or master bedroom.
While many people don't have the cash for home improvements month to month, you can use your tax return as the chunk of money you need to redo parts of your home. Improve the look, amount of fun and energy expenditure of your home this season.