The 2016/17 tax year is now over, which means a couple of things. Firstly it's time for you to start putting off that tax return, and secondly it means some of you will have a rebate on the way. Because, you know, HMRC are quite good at taking too much tax, and giving it back to you without interest. But it's still a nice little surprise, because free money! Even though it's actually money you had to work for in the first place.
But I digress, more money always means more spending, and if you have a significant chunk dropping into your bank account, here are some of the more extravagant items you might want to treat yourself to. Because you had to live frugally for the past year, and you deserve it.
A souped-up gaming PC
Why buy a PS4 Pro or wait for Microsoft's Project Scorpio when you can enjoy 4K gaming at lovely smooth frame rates? Get a proper, top-tier, bank-account-crippling gaming PC instead. You could buy them pre-built, or you could go all out and get a custom job (whether you actually built it yourself is up to you). If you're going pre-built, why not pick the PC that's currently at the top of TechRadar's list of best gaming PCs? The highest spec'd Alienware Aurora R5 comes bundled with a 6th-generation Intel i7-6700 ((8MB Cache and up to 4.0GHz), 16GB of RAM, a NVIDIA GeForce GTX 1080 with 8GB of GDDR5X memory, a 512GB SSD, Wi-FI, Bluetooth, and Windows 10 Home. That'll set you back £1,449, though you can get more storage if you're willing to pay for it. [Buy it here]
If you're getting the ultra-high end PC, and you still have money to spend, virtual reality is your next obvious step. At the moment you have to choose between the Oculus Rift and the HTC Vive, though I personally prefer the Oculus for the controllers. The Oculus costs £499 for the headset (which comes with one sensor, headphones, and an Xbox One controller), and another £99 for the Touch controllers (which come with a second sensor). You can also add two additional sensors to the set up for better tracking (£59 each), and swap the standard headphones for the in-ear variety if that's more your thing (£50).
With the exception of headphones, the Vive comes with everything you need straight out of the box. The base kit costs £659, coming with the headset, two controllers, and the full-room sensors. A 'deluxe' audio accessory is coming in the near future (no set release date or price yet), but that will add 3D audio to the headset, as well as improving the strap with more comfortable components and an adjustment dial to get a perfect fit around your head. Also coming is a VR tracker that lets you bring real-world objects into virtual reality, but similarly that has no confirmed release date or price.
Samsung UE65KU6020 65-inch 4K TV
Have you ever wanted a TV bigger than the average London flat? Of course you have! Who wouldn't. While there are much, much bigger televisions out in the world (who the hell buys 98-inch TVs anyway?), this one is nearly as big as a single bed. Your child could sleep on it, if you were an irresponsible parent who can't appreciate the value of such a device. It's 4K, has freeview, HDR, three HDMI ports, two USB ports, and it costs less than a grand - which makes it somewhat affordable. If you're made of money, however, (or your rebate is obscenely high) make sure to check out this 98-inch monster from LG for a whopping £2,500. And make sure your front door is big enough to get it inside. [Buy it here]
Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus, £779
For many this might just be a run-of-the-mill purchase because you're at the end of your contract, but if you're getting some extra money in there's no harm in checking out Samsung's latest flagship. While it might be pricey for some, we really like what we've seen (full review pending). Obviously you want to splurge out the extra money on the S8+ with its big-ass screen, because why wouldn't you?! Only plebs buy the boring £689 standard model... [Pre-order it here]
An Actual, Literal Tank
Believe it or not, a lot of tanks are road legal. Some of them are even exempt from MOTs, road tax, and the London congestion charge. Better still, while prices range, some of them are available for less than £10,000. Provided all the weaponry is deactivated, it's registered, and you have a full Category H driving license, there's nothing stopping you from doing the school run in this. Well, provided there's actually room for your kids inside. The police won't react too kindly to you strapping them to the outside. You can check out some of what's currently on offer at Tanks Alot, or just hit up Google. With a literal tank, you can be sure that some prick won't be cutting in front of you anytime soon.
Snugs Wireless, £199 - £249
Headphones are great, but they're rather big. Earphones are convenient, but they're not always as good at staying inside your ears. What's to be done? Get yourself a custom-made pair, moulded to the shape of your inner ear. Snugs does that with digital scanners, which are then used to create buds that fit you perfectly. That way they won't be falling out, and you don't have to worry about them being uncomfortable. A variety of different Snugs are available, but I chose these ones because everyone hates wires. They're Bluetooth (naturally), and also have media and call controls built in. What more could you ask for? [Buy it here]
Tag Heuer Connected, £1,385
What better way than to show off all your cash than to buy a pointless gadget? Buying a pointless gadget that's also ludicrously overpriced, that's how! The Tag Heuer Connected is a luxury smartwatch for the filthy rich, powered by Android Wear, and looking very much like an actual watch. Because who wants a rectangular block strapped to their wrist all day? It's got a touch display, a titanium casing, a push button for manual input, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, and it's compatible with Android and iOS devices. [Buy it here]
Aerobull Speaker System, £1,199
So your flat doesn't allow dogs, but you want something doggy - as well as a bangin' sound system. Well this mad little creation is both. A soundsystem shaped like a bulldog. Though, in an unfortunate turn of events for all the Europhobics out there, it's a French Bulldog rather than the stumpy British variety. It has a lightning dock for physical connectivity, 3.5mm input, Bluetooth, NFC, an IR remote shaped like a bone, and high definition audio (which may explain the price). It's like having a real dog, albeit a real dog that can play music and doesn't need house training, feeding, or any the ability to move. [Pre-order it here]
Microsoft Surface Devices
Microsoft's Surface devices have gone down rather well over the past few years, and there are plenty of options to you if you're willing to pay for them. And with that tax rebate you can!
There's the Surface Pro 4 for tablet lovers, and the Surface Book for the more laptop-inclined. The Surface Studio isn't out in the UK from the looks of things. A top of the range Surface Pro 4 has a 12.3-inch display, an i7 processor (2.2 GHz), 16GB of RAM, a 512 GB SSD, and the stylus. On its own that's £1,609, and you can add the keyboard for £85.A similarly spec'd Surface Book costs £2,100, and comes with an i7 processor (2.6 GHz), 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD, a stylus, a 13.5-inch touchscreen display, and a 12 hour battery life. The keyboard itself is only a dock, meaning the screen can be detached whenever feel like it - in case you want to use the book purely as a tablet.
Flashforge Creator Pro 3D Printer, £795
3D printing was hailed as the future, but it's still not really taken off. Mainly because it's pricey, and most people don't really need to be able to print objects whenever they feel like it. But you disagree, with your newly recovered tax rebate. You want to be in the future where machines can produce solid objects at will, or at least after a few hours of waiting. The Flashforge Creator Pro isn't going to require a second mortgage, and it looks like how a 3D printing device should look: like a mini oven that pumps out objects. It's not very big, so you won't be printing out car parts or anything complicated, but it does use open source hardware and is compatible with different slicing engines and printing formats. On top of that it supports dual-colour, so you don't have to print out something boring and monotonal. [Buy it here]