Tax refund? Don’t be tempted to go on a shopping spree
March 2, 2018
By the U of A System Division of Agriculture
LITTLE ROCK – Eager to spend that tax refund on something? Laura Hendrix, associate professor-personal finance and consumer economics, for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, has two words for you: Stop. Wait.
“It’s easy to go on a shopping spree or buy something you’ve wanted all year long,” she said.
“Before giving in to unnecessary spending, make sure you are in a secure financial situation, Hendrix said. “A tax refund is a great opportunity to pay down debt, build your emergency fund, or save toward a goal.”
Make the most of your tax refund by following these tips:
- Pay down your debt. Use at least part of your refund to make additional payments on any debt that you owe. Pay off or decrease credit card debt. For example, a $3,000 balance at 14.4 percent with a minimum monthly payment of $90 would take 11 years to pay off and cost more than $1,000 in interest charges. Make additional payments to the principal amount on your home or car loan. Pay down debt to make your month more manageable and save money on interest.
- Save for a rainy day. It's always helpful to have a savings account to draw from when a major car repair bill, medical emergency or other unexpected expense comes along. That way, you don't have to borrow money and add to your debt-load. Personal finance experts recommend that consumers save enough to cover at least two to six months of expenses. “A tax refund can be a giant step toward reaching the critical savings goal of building your emergency fund,” she said.
- Save for future financial goals. Give yourself an even bigger return on your tax refund by putting the money into a retirement or investment fund. Your tax refund will continue to grow. “Dreaming of home ownership, a college education, a new car, a secure retirement?” Hendrix said. “These all come with a price tag. Saving is a way to achieve these goals.”
Hendrix is an accredited financial counselor. For more information on smart ways to use your money, visit www.uaex.edu/Money.
About the Division of Agriculture
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture’s mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation’s historic land grant education system.
The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses.
The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs to all eligible persons without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.
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Media Contact: Mary Hightower
Dir. of Communication Services
U of A System Division of Agriculture
Cooperative Extension Service