BOSTON (CBS) – Things don’t make us happy, experiences do! We need to be safe, clothed and fed. If you have all of the basics down and you are not carrying credit card debt consider spending your refund creating a memory for your family.

A word of caution, it’s truly not constructive if you create debt creating those memorable moments.

If your credit card debt is paid off consider stashing the money in a Christmas Club. I know it is nine months away but having Christmas covered so you don’t go into debt is a very good financial move. You could also then take advantage of the sales throughout the year so you are not crazed come December.

How about a family vacation? You could do something during April vacation or wait until the summer. Think of the fun you will have creating the memories while planning. From experience I know that half the fun of a trip is the planning.

At our house we would entertain ideas from everyone and vote on them. When the kids were old enough they had to do some of the research. Then we would vote again. Road trip? How much time would we spend getting there? Should we fly? Could we afford to fly?

If a trip to Disney World isn’t covered by the refund start a vacation fund and have everyone contribute what they can and when you have enough dollars you go. Again, you don’t want to end up using credit to pay for the trip.

By making it a future trip you are teaching the kids a great financial lesson. Learning to save for a future goal. So often instant gratification gets all of us in trouble for you want it now and if you have a credit card you can get it now.

And if you are single, blow it on a vacation or an experience you always wanted to try. Sky Diving? Not my first choice but it’s your vacation. As for me I vote for the Tuscan sun.

One more thing:

Operation Money Wise Is Designed for Those with Military Backgrounds

The state’s Office of Financial Literacy announced that registration is open for an upcoming “Money Conference” geared specifically toward veterans, active military members, and their families.  The Conference will commence at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday, March 22nd in McKenzie Auditorium at Massachusetts Bay Community College in Wellesley.

The free first-ever Conference, dubbed Operation Money Wise, will provide instruction on matters such as how to sharpen spending and saving skills, how to protect assets from predatory lending practices, and what financial tools and benefits are available to service members and veterans.  State officials said that, particularly given the complexity of the military benefit system, some veterans and service members might not take advantage of the financial benefits available to them or might expect to receive a benefit for which they don’t qualify.

The event is jointly sponsored by Massachusetts Department of Veterans’ Services, the Massachusetts National Guard, and the Financial Literacy Trust Fund.

A free continental breakfast and box lunch will be made available to people attending the Conference.  For more information and to register, interested parties can visit or call (617) 367-9333 Ext. 615.

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