— Your taxes are filed and the check is in the mail. Now comes the big question: How will you spend your refund — save it or splurge?
The Internal Revenue Service expects to issue $300 billion in tax refunds this year, the Associated Press reports, with the average check totaling $3,000. This influx of ready cash would be a huge lift for the nation’s economy if every check were spent this spring, but most financial experts agree that blowing an annual windfall in a shopping orgy is not a wise strategy.
A recent poll suggests that many Americans are listening to this advice. Forty-nine percent of people who intentionally withhold extra from their paychecks to get a refund say they plan to use the money to pay down debt. Forty-four percent plan to save the money.
If you're expecting a refund this year, the nonprofit National Endowment for Financial Education, which sponsored the poll, suggests you spend your refund wisely. Here are some smart uses:
One final tip if you haven’t filed yet: Take a deep breath and relax. You have all weekend to work on your returns. Tax day is Monday, April 18, this year.