It's time for the annual income tax filing ritual. For some families, their tax refund is a lifeline to making ends meet. Some folks use their tax return to pay off debt, while others make major purchases, or spoil themselves. How many times have you used your tax refund to treat yourself, or splurged on extravagances, only to regret it later?

A list has been making the rounds on social media suggesting some more substantial uses for your tax return that may put you in a position to not have to rely so much on the annual bonus. The list is food for thought...

  1. Pay off any outstanding debt. It may not sound like fun, but it will help free up cash down the road.
  2. Pay your rent/mortgage in advance.
  3. Open a savings account for your children. Put in $100 and commit to adding a small amount every month.
  4. Shop for Christmas presents online. The packages will already be boxed up, so no need to worry about hiding them. And unlike a Christmas Club account, you'll not be tempted to spend the money on something else later.
  5. Buy school supplies and clothes for your kids.
  6. Enrich your children by signing them up in activities and paying up in advance.
  7. Buy grocery store gift cards and hang on to them for later in the year when things might get tight. Or donate them to a Food Bank.
  8. Pay it forward to folks worse off than you are - Make a donation, or buy some supplies for a homeless shelter, or home for abused women and children.

None of these tips may seem as fun as a trip, a new phone, new handbag, etc. But, they could put you in a better financial position that allows you to splurge everyday down the road.