Make the Most of a Tax Refund

man sitting at computer reviewing finances


Before you use an incoming tax refund to go shopping or splurge on something new, consider more responsible options like using that cash for a home improvement project or paying off high-interest debt. It is wise not to get caught up in treating a refund check any differently than you would treat a normal paycheck. Give the money a purpose. Consider your personal financial situation, and determine what the money would be best suited for.

Unsure of what to do with an incoming refund? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! There are a number of different ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of a tax refund this year!

Pay Down Debt. If you’re stuck with credit card debt and high interest rates, paying down that existing debt is one of the best ways to use a tax refund. Eliminating high-interest debt is a smart goal that can reap long-term benefits and financial success.

Boost Your Emergency Savings Fund. Whether you have three to six months’ worth of income stashed away, or you’ve recently depleted it, adding to your emergency savings fund can be a great way to utilize your tax refund. While it may not be the most exciting option, you won’t regret having it saved up down the road when your car breaks down or you’re facing an unexpected medical expense.

Open or Fund an IRA. Even if you have a 401(k) through your employer, you can still open your own Individual Retirement Account (IRA) to complement an existing plan. Funding an IRA with your tax refund can help jumpstart your future financial security. 

Pay Ahead on Your Loans. Whether it’s an auto loan, student loan or a mortgage, if you have the opportunity to get ahead, do it! Making extra payments or paying ahead on your loans can be a great way to save money in the long run. Reducing the principal sooner can ultimately decrease the amount of interest paid over the life of the loan. Knowing the terms of your loans so you don’t get hit with any prepayment penalties is also important.

Resist the Urge to Splurge. A tax refund could be the biggest paycheck you get in a year and you could be tempted to just spend it all without thinking twice about it where it should actually go. While it may be tempting to take that big vacation or buy that new TV, make sure you’re not spending that refund as quickly as it comes in. Don’t get carried away – a $1,000 refund is no excuse for a $4,000 trip! Consider saving any incoming refund to help jump start your way towards future purchases such as that trip, a new car, boat or even a home improvement project.

If you are getting a refund this year, make sure you’re getting the most out of it! Make sure to review your W-4 so you know what your employer is withholding. It's possible that your selections are taking more money out of your regular paycheck than necessary.  Lastly, remember this: you worked hard for your refund, so let your refund work hard for you! 

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