The modern-day equivalent of shoving money under your mattress is your checking account. Any way you can get to it with your ATM card. Easy access. And there you're guaranteed to get returns that might not even keep up with inflation.

Don't bother checking your credit report. Your lender will do that for you. Yeah, there might be a couple of problems and you might end up paying a higher interest rate on that mortgage. And don't get pre-approved or pre-qualified. All that does is alert you to possible problems in your credit report, and you don't need to worry about that while you're shopping for a home.

Spend your tax refund. Because, really, you earned it.