Well, folks, it's income tax season. Some people will be getting a large sum of money this year. I imagine there are those who will purchase a new vehicle or move to a new location. Then there are others who might take a vacation or a cruise. Some may even be a bit more frugal with their money and sock it away for a rainy day or an emergency. No matter what the money is used for, be careful and don't go overboard!! For those who wish to move, think before moving. Think finances and what this move entails after the income tax check is gone. Is the rent affordable? Are the utilities affordable? Will the regular paycheck be enough to be able to stay in that location? For those buying a new vehicle, think before buying. Is the vehicle being bought in one cash payment or will there be monthly payments? When the income tax check has been spent, will the monthly payments be affordable? Is it a good vehicle? Will there need to be repairs made immediately? Is the insurance and upkeep on the vehicle manageable a few months from now? I received my income tax check and am very proud of myself. I really wanted to just go crazy and take my family on a huge shopping spree with no thought to what I needed, only what I wanted in that moment. Instead of doing that I went the economical route and bought things that were absolutely necessary; replacing a very old refrigerator, a broken dishwasher and a dysfunctional garbage disposal. Not exactly what I had in mind as a shopping trip, but am glad to admit that it sure makes life easier having working appliances. I also paid off debts that were accrued at Christmas and loans that were constantly eating my paychecks. With a few more repairs around the house, the income tax check will be gone and life will resume as normal, but I will not be in debt and will have things all in working order. That in itself makes me happy. I didn't load myself with more bills than I had before, I actually got rid of some. I didn't put myself in a situation that was going to hurt my finances down the road, and the children got a pretty decent shopping spree after all. Not extravagant or outrageous, but it was fun all the same. So when getting that big yearly check, make sure it's used for the good. Use it to help, not hinder. Use it to improve life, not to devour it. Use it to clean up the past making a clear path to the future. (Have a question? Email michellerhodes72@gmail.com)