Don't waste a great opportunity

Tax season is among us and for many it means a nice refund from the IRS. Each year people are perplexed on how to spend their refund – save or spend, invest or squander, new shoes or new furniture. I like to stay in the middle – spend a little, save a little.

For many young adults this may be your first refund. The first thought may be to splurge. While I’m not totally against that, below are some great ways you can maximize your refund.

Pay down debt. Even if you don’t get enough back to entirely pay off debt, at least try to make a substantial dent in it. If you have a car note pay an extra $50 or $100 towards the principle or pay off that lingering credit card bill from the holidays.

Add to savings. This is a great time to start saving for future expenses. Put some money aside for a vacation; plan for periodic, like, increased energy bills during the summer; or even a down payment on a new car.

Splurge (a little). There is absolutely nothing wrong with treating yourself to something nice. I don’t advise spending your entire refund on $600 shoes or a $1,000 purse, but it’s reasonable to treat yourself to a spa day or redecorate your bedroom. Satisfying your wants will make budgeting throughout the year more worthwhile and it’ll help stay focused.

Pre-pay rent. Many apartments allow residents to pay rent two or three months in advance. The extra money will help you get ahead and you won’t have to worry about rent for the next few months.

If you receive a tax refund this year it means the government took too much tax from your paycheck. If you don’t want a refund and would rather see more money on your paycheck, consider adjusting your withholdings. Talk to your payroll administrator for the best options.

Renee McGruder is a former communications coordinator and grant writer at MMI.

  • Better Business Bureau A+ rating Better Business Bureau
    MMI is proud to have achieved an A+ rating from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), a nonprofit organization focused on promoting and improving marketplace trust. The BBB investigates charges of fraud against both consumers and businesses, sets standards for truthfulness in advertising, and evaluates the trustworthiness of businesses and charities, providing a score from A+ (highest) to F (lowest).
  • Financial Counseling Association of America Financial Counseling Association of America
    MMI is a proud member of the Financial Counseling Association of America (FCAA), a national association representing financial counseling companies that provide consumer credit counseling, housing counseling, student loan counseling, bankruptcy counseling, debt management, and various financial education services.
  • Trustpilot Trustpilot
    MMI is rated as “Excellent” (4.9/5) by reviewers on Trustpilot, a global, online consumer review platform dedicated to openness and transparency. Since 2007, Trustpilot has received over 116 million customer reviews for nearly 500,000 different websites and businesses. See what others are saying about the work we do.
  • Department of Housing and Urban Development - Equal Housing Opportunity Department of Housing and Urban Development
    MMI is certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to provide consumer housing counseling. The mission of HUD is to create strong, sustainable, inclusive communities and quality affordable homes for all. HUD provides support services directly and through approved, local agencies like MMI.
  • Council on Accreditation Council On Accreditation
    MMI is proudly accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA), an international, independent, nonprofit, human service accrediting organization. COA’s thorough, peer-reviewed accreditation process is designed to ensure that organizations like MMI are providing the highest standard of service and support for clients and employees alike.
  • National Foundation for Credit Counseling National Foundation for Credit Counseling
    MMI is a longstanding member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling® (NFCC®), the nation’s largest nonprofit financial counseling organization. Founded in 1951, the NFCC’s mission is to promote financially responsible behavior and help member organizations like MMI deliver the highest-quality financial education and counseling services.