There are plenty of ways to spend $1,000. Not all of these ways are financially responsible or will make a difference in someone’s life. If you’ve recently saved a little green or have been given a bonus or tax refund, think twice about how you’re going to spend your money. Instead of buying a new wardrobe consider investing or donating it. You’ll feel a lot better about how you spent your hard earned cash.

Put it away for retirement

An easy way to put your $1,000 to good use is to save for retirement. Target-date mutual funds are a good place to start. A target-date fund is also known as a lifecycle or age-based fund. The collective investment plan usually comes in the form of a mutual fund or a collective trust fund. A fund manager will change the stocks and bonds in your portfolio every year. As you near your target retirement date, your investments become more conservative. There are a few popular funds which have a $1,000 minimum to get you started.

Spice up your cookware

Many of us bought some basic cookware when we moved into a new home or registered for a few items when we got married. Many of us also haven’t purchased anything new since. Chances are, a lot of your cookware and cutlery have seen better days. Having sharp knives and the proper cookware is crucial to keeping you productive in the kitchen. In the long run, the more you cook at home, the less you’ll be spending on meals out. Invest in a knife sharpener and some new knives and you’ll notice a world of a difference. A crock pot or a dutch oven are other good investments as they can help you prepare a few meals at once.

Do some good for natural disaster survivors

Mother Nature has been busy. The amount of hurricanes and wildfires that have swept through in recent months has been unparalleled. Just because the news coverage of these disasters has slowed, doesn’t mean the clean-up and rebuilding efforts have. Victims of these disasters are still very much living through them. Make a difference and donate $1,000 to a local organization rebuilding a community.

Make a kid’s summer

According to the American Camp Association, the average cost of summer camp is $200-$1,500. The American Camp Association has set up a “Send A Child To Camp Fund” to pay for scholarships that can send a kid to camp in financial need. Camps are a great way to learn independence and team-work. They also provide a safe and fun environment for children who might not have one at home. Make a difference by donating to this organization or check with your local community to see if they have a fund for a camp near you.

Install solar panels

Installing solar panels will pay you back in the long run and reduce your electricity footprint. To help reduce the costs, the Federal Solar Tax Credit will reimburse what you spend by 30%. Your utility company may also pay you for any energy your solar system makes but you don’t use. A solar system will also greatly increase the value of your home when it comes to resale time. Most importantly, you’ll be producing energy and not just wasting it.