Lauren’s List: The Best Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) — This year, tax day falls on April 18th. That’s tomorrow!

Whether you’ve filed already or will work through the night to get your return sent in, chances are you’re getting a refund!

The IRS expects more than 70% of taxpayers will get tax refunds this year.

Last year, 111 million refunds were issued, with an average refund of $2,860.

So how should you spend that money if some of it is coming your way?

Today’s Lauren’s List offers the advice straight from the financial experts.

  1. Pay down debt: American consumers added $89.2 billion in credit card debt to our collective tab in 2016, the third-largest annual increase in the last 30 years. WalletHub projects that outstanding credit card balances will blow by $1 trillion in 2017. If you’re like the average household, which owes about $8,300 in debt, your estimated $2,800 tax refund could save you more than $600 in interest depending on your rates.
  1. Build your emergency fund: Some money gurus say your emergency fund should have at least $1,000 in it before you even start paying down debt. After all, what good is paying off debt if you just have to use a credit card to pay for stuff in the event of an emergency? If you don’t yet have a financial safety net, using your refund to get your emergency fund balance up is a good idea.
  1. Make a retirement contribution: A com survey from last year found 56% of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement and 42% of millennials report having no retirement savings at all. Open an Individual Retirement Account or 401-K, or contribute to them if they’re already set up. That contribution may provide the added bonus of a tax deduction, meaning more money for you in the long haul.
  1. Treat yourself: Yes, it’s ok to also use your unexpected windfall to splurge on something you want, so long as all of your other financial commitments are met. But if you find that you get a sizable refund year after year, the best idea may be to adjust your withholding allowances, so you have that money to spend year round, instead of just come tax time.

What do you plan to do with your tax refund? Tell me on Facebook or Twitter. If you have an idea for a future “Lauren’s List”, email me at lpastrana@cbs.com.

 

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