Best way to invest $5,000?

So say you get a $5,000 tax return. What do you do with it?

I’m thinking towards less conventional things (ie not taking it to a stock broker) like maybe buying a fixer upper house…etc.

What do you guys think? What would you do?

you could give it to me

use it as a down payment on a house you could rent out.

This thread is better suited for IMHO. I’ll move it for you.

Cajun Man - SDMB Moderator

The “Casey Family Dining Room Restoration Project” is always looking for donations. Hardwood floors aren’t cheap.

Then there is the “Casey Family Turn the Basement into a Small Irish Pub Foundation”, the “Casey Family Upgrade the Kitchen Floor and Paint the Walls so it Doesn’t Look like the Brady Kitchen Fund”, and the “Casey Family I’m Sick of the Dog Getting Loose and Running Around the Neighborhood So Let’s Fence in the Yard Fund”. All donations will be gratefully acknowledged with a Thank You card, a reciept which may or may not be useful for tax purposes, and a before and after photo.

In all seriousness, it depends on your age and your risk tolerance. The older you are, the less risk you should take with your investments.

If you don’t have any outstanding credit cards to pay off you can certainly look at buying a fixer-upper. But unless you are handy with fixer-uppers, it may be more trouble than it’s worth. Owning a house as a rental, unless you hire a property manager, can mean getting calls at 3 am that the pipes have burst. And unless you know how to fix them, you could be stuck.

If you own your own home, use the money to improve it. Redo your kitchen, replace your flooring. If you don’t, use it to buy your own home.

Are you a gear head? Maybe restore a car and then sell it?

I don’t know if it’s necessarily profitable, what with all the time and effort and $$ involved, but if I knew what I was doing, I’m sure the sence of pride when I was done would be priceless.

Real estate is not always the best investment. Housing values do not necessarily always go up, in all areas. You don’t mention if you already own a home and the fixer upper would be a rental, or if you intend for it to be your primary residence. The beauty of investing money in your primary residence is that even if housing values go down, you still have a place to live.

Conventional wisdom is that money invested in home improvement projects is generally not recouped on resale. The one exception is kitchen improvements. Almost everything else is money down the drain, investment-wise.

I would like to point out that the stock market hasn’t been this low in years. If I had $5000 that’s where I would be putting it. Housing is at an all time high in many parts of the country. The maxim is “buy low, sell high”. Right now stocks are low, housing is high.

I would also adjust my tax situation to try not to get such a big refund next year. That’s an interest free-loan on your part to Uncle Sam.

I forgot the most obvious answer, if you already own a house: refinance at today’s historically low interest rates, and put the money towards the principal on your mortgage. You might even be able to get a 15 or 20 year loan with a lower payment than you have now, depending on your situation.

All home addresses and personal e-mail addresses will be deleted, folks.