The IRS rarely bends its rules, so when a reprieve presents itself, it pays to take full advantage. That’s the situation taxpayers find themselves in this year. With April 15 falling on Sunday and Emancipation Day (Holiday recognized by the IRS) falling on Monday April 16, tax day has been moved to Tuesday, April 17 instead. And while that’s reason enough to celebrate, it also presents a new challenge: what will you do with those extra two days?
Here are five intriguing possibilities for passing the time:
Last-Minute Tax Prep
Unfortunately, for some of us, the extra two days of filing time will be used finishing your tax return that would’ve been late under the normal deadline.
If this is you, don’t be too hard on yourself. It would have been preferable to finish early (and have the options below at your disposal) but instead of dwelling on leisure time lost, see these extra two days as your “get out of jail free” card—a rare opportunity to get away with waiting until the last minute. Plus, preparing your taxes with TurboTax is easy even if you do wait until the last minute.
Spending Your Refund
Those of you who did file early have something even sweeter than a two-day break: your refund check! Whether this year’s refund was $200 or $2,000, all that matters now is how you will spend it. The possibilities are endless and vary based on your priorities for the money. Are you behind on debt, and looking to chip away at the barriers holding you back from financial freedom? This weekend is the perfect time to sit down and pay some long-overdue bills.
Or, are you all caught up financially, but dying to make a long-delayed “impulse purchase?” Maybe it’s a new TV, or some new threads for your wardrobe. Whatever the case may be, this is the time to indulge—you’ve earned it! Use this weekend to invest your refund check wherever it will provide the best return.
Nearly all of us are guilty of putting relaxation on the back burner. In the rush to get all our ducks in a row, we push ourselves relentlessly, treating as luxuries such basic necessities as restful sleep or time to unwind. Yet, in the process, we deprive ourselves of the opportunity to recharge, to unburden ourselves from the many stressors, obligations, and worries that fill our minds and simply “be.”
Far-fetched or unnecessary as it may seem, research shows that relaxation is actually essential to well being. In addition to our work capabilities, we are also emotional and curious beings with needs that stretch far beyond productivity. To that end, spend your two free days immersed in relaxation: visit a day spa, get a massage, or simply sprawl out on the couch and enjoy an engrossing movie. Your mind and body will thank you for it.
Taking a Weekend Road Trip
As humans, we are creatures of habit. We take comfort in familiar surroundings, routines, and activities that give structure and meaning to each day. Yet, at a certain point, habit begins to harm us rather than help. If we never push beyond our comfort zones or expose ourselves to any new experiences, our brains start to stagnate, becoming mired in the apathy and boredom that mind-numbing predictability creates. To dig ourselves out, we need a potent dose of the unfamiliar.
Now, we’re not saying the 9-5 office worker needs to reinvent himself as a starving artist. It can be a much smaller change: like taking a weekend road trip. With the extra two days this year’s tax deadline affords you, why not venture out onto the open road? Visit a popular landmark in the next state over. Travel to a town you’ve never seen before, and eat at one of the restaurants. The simple act of seeing and experiencing something new will stir the neurons in your brain like nothing at home will.
Resurrecting a Neglected Hobby
In the noisy chaos of daily life, nothing feels less important than our hobbies. No one nags you about not practicing your guitar often enough, or failing to hike as frequently as possible. And of course, it’s good to be on top of the things that matter in your professional life. But it’s when you ignore your hobbies too much, that you’ve become a workaholic, and must get back in touch. The world is perfectly happy to let you bury your passion beneath its demands. If you want to avoid feeling like a lifeless automaton (productive but totally lacking in the soul-stirring excitement that makes life worth living) you need to actively and zealously make time for your passions.
Now is a perfect time to start. With two free days at your disposal, resolve to guiltlessly resurrect a hobby you’ve been sacrificing. And don’t just pick up your instrument or head to the batting cages: do it with gusto and enthusiasm, remembering that these activities supply your zest for living.