Ask the Readers: What Will You Do With Your Tax Refund?

By Ashley Jacobs on 3 March 2015 76 comments
Photo: eFile989

Tax refunds generally aren't that great — most people don't want to give the government an interest-free loan, after all. But many look forward to getting a check during tax season, which they can spend or save as they please.

What will you do with your tax refund? Do you usually plan where the refund will go ahead of time? Do you take the refund amount into account when you decide what to do with it?

Tell us what you'll do with your tax refund and we'll enter you in a drawing to win a $20 Amazon Gift Card!

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Guest's picture
Matt

I will be using it for my upcoming wedding / retirement savings.

Guest's picture
Tina in NJ

Our tax refund is earmarked for redoing the lighting in our finished basement, hopefully with LEDs. It desperately needs redoing and we may as well make it energy efficient

Guest's picture
KelR1

Unfortunately, I owe money this year and won't be getting a refund. If I was getting one I would've put some toward bills and some toward a much-needed vacation!

Guest's picture
Ernest S.

My tax return is going straight into my emergency savings. Still need to build it up!

Guest's picture
Mike Hardin

Your REFUND is going into your emergency fund. Your RETURN is the form you sent the IRS, either via mail or electronically.

Guest's picture
Ernest S.

Thanks for the CORRECTION! ;-)

Guest's picture
Liisa

Sadly, we are self-employed so instead of getting a refund, we owe thousands to the government each year. :(

Guest's picture
Gina

My tax refund will be deposited into an emergency fund to help me build up to 3-6 months savings. Every bit counts!

Guest's picture
Jonathan

We already have our refund back. We just sent in our last payment for our student loans. So the whole check is going towards our 6 month emergency fund.

Guest's picture
MELISSA HANSSON

We'll be saving our refund to apply to home remodeling later this year.

Guest's picture
Mary Happymommy

We will use our refund to do landscaping to our backyard.

Guest's picture
Kay

Our refund amount is usually pretty substantial due to my husband's side business where there are some deductions that make sense to take once a year instead of quarterly. Once we know the amount of our expected return, we plan out where it will go. First and foremost, we set aside money for the upcoming year's heating expenses of both oil and firewood (we live in NH, so the cost can be considerable). After that, we save the rest, usually dividing up the remainder between retirement and our savings to buy our next vehicle. This year we've begun to save money to move to south in a few years, so some may go to that account as well. Our only debt is our mortgage, so we don't need to worry about earmarking any to pay down debt- it can all be set aside in one way or another.

While we refrain from going on shopping sprees as some tend to do with the 'found' money of a tax refund, we don't miss it. Seeing our savings grow and knowing we're set to heat our house for the next winter feels better than any trip to the mall or new electronic gizmo! A lot of folks I know in my area scramble to figure out how to pay to fill their oil tank in the cold, and we never have that stress any more. Well worth every ounce of discipline not to touch that money for frivolous things!

Guest's picture
Amanda I

If I actually get any money back I will probably use it to add an extra payment to my normal $1000 monthly payment. Gotta get out of this student loan debt!!

Guest's picture
nicole dz

I am planning to use my tax refund for a family weekend getaway.

Guest's picture
Trenton

Building the Emergency Fund/Helping Pay For My Wedding :)

Guest's picture
Guest

Nothing...I'm not getting one.

Guest's picture
Guest

We are fortifying our emergency savings account since we have a rather paltry amount in there right now. Aaaah. We can breathe easier again!

Guest's picture
Dana

We will be using our to pay off student loan debt. :(

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Elena

I will use it to pay off the car loan

Guest's picture
Kay

I will be splitting my refund with my STBX husband. :/

Guest's picture
Susan P.

We don't use our tax refund for anything special so will go into savings account or investment account.

Guest's picture
Julie Wood

I will be buying a new mattress with my tax refund this year!

Guest's picture
Mary Wright

I rarely get a refund. Why let the IRS have my money all year with no interest when I can use their money with no interest. I prefer to pay by April 15th and use an interest bearing account to save for projects or special trips.

Donna Freedman's picture

It will go into my Roth IRA.

Guest's picture
Susan D.

I replaced my nearly-dead flipphone with a mid-range smartphone, and put the rest into savings.

Guest's picture
Linda

I will use it for medical bills.

Guest's picture
Mike Hardin

Thanks for asking what we are doing with our REFUND. I hate when people call it a return. The return is the form you file, not the money you get back. Unfortunately I owe more on my state return than I'm being refunded on my federal return, so I'll use my federal return to pay state taxes.

Guest's picture
Amanda Sakovitz

I am using it for a vacation

Guest's picture
Emily

Our tax refund is going to help us be able to put 20% down on a mortgage for our home! Finally, we'll be saying goodbye to renting!!!

Guest's picture
alona

savings

Guest's picture
Dee Dee

Husband is self employed no refund for us.

Guest's picture
Jennifer Marie

I would like to take a day trip away with the family.

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chela2002

This is the first time we owe the IRS (lesson learned) but if we were to get one, we'd save for an upcoming cruise in December to take the family on.

Guest's picture
Liz

I will probably just be responsible and save it :)

Guest's picture
Stephanie

If we get a refund, it will just go straight into savings. We're hoping to buy a house soon, and any extra money will help!

Guest's picture
Tim L.

I will be using my refund partly to fill up my rainy day savings account, but also to pay for tickets to a music festival my girlfriend wants to go to. We keep a budget all year and live as frugally as possible, so we use our refunds to treat ourselves just a bit, mostly for vacations and other fun stuff.

Guest's picture
Greg

I will go immediately to the strip club.

Guest's picture
Allie

Our tax refund is for almost exactly the same amount as a badly-needed car repair -- so that's where it's going!

Guest's picture
Elle

I would put it in savings.

Guest's picture
lostAnnfound

We haven't gotten a refund for the past few years as I am self-employed, but my husband has extra taken out of his check to cover some my taxes owed. So IF we get a refund this year, it will go towards paying off debt we incurred at the beginning of this year for MAJOR car repairs.

Guest's picture
Donna Sako

IF I get one, and I probably will owe taxes, I would pay off some bills.

Guest's picture
Suz_Glo

Most of it will go back into our savings account but, depending on how much it is, I hope to use some for another fun vacation for our family.

Guest's picture
Christie

Refund? LOL Nope, we have to pay this year. But we already have money saved up for the taxes, so what we have almost covers the whole bill. And WE earned the interest, small as it is, on our money this year instead of giving it to the govt to hold for nothing. It's all good.

Guest's picture
Louly

I will not be getting a refund this year. Womp wompppp.

Guest's picture
A.L.S.

I received my tax refund in early February and I used 100% of it to help pay off my car loan.

Guest's picture
MK

Plan a getaway to someplace sunny and warm! All this snow in the Northeast...enough already!

Guest's picture
jlw

going to disney in florida!!!

Guest's picture
Rebecca B. A. R.

Tax refund? Ha ha ha! I'm glad we don't owe anything, and came out even!

Guest's picture
Guest

Payoff small credit card balance & savings then share the rest with my spouse.

Guest's picture
Elena Rodriguez

I'm putting most of it into a savings account but I'll be using some to get my girls a new bunk bed.

Guest's picture
James

I will be paying off debt and getting a great start on my emergency fund with my refund.

Guest's picture
Kim

It will go straight into my Roth IRA.

Guest's picture
Betty

I get a very small refund. I will put it into savings. I haven't filled out my taxes yet. Guess I should get moving!

Guest's picture
Guest

Nothing. We arrange it so we don't overpay our taxes throughout the year, so no refund is due. We try not to let the government work with our tax money interest free.

Guest's picture
Susan Smith

I will be using the money towards are vacation this Summer.

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Kristin G

I'm spending most of it on my vacation to Disney next month! And i'm saving just a little bit for a rainy day fund.

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Tabathia B

I usually pay off any outstanding bills

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Guest

Taking half in vacation and the rest to savings

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Cathleen

Using it to save up for a used Toyota Prius.

Guest's picture
Raina

I haven't found out yet what, if anything, my refund will be. But regardless of the amount, it will go into savings. Property taxes and a new car took a combined ~$28k chunk out of my savings a couple months ago, so I need to replenish that.

Guest's picture
Bethany M

We'll be looking for a house this year, so we'll add it to the down payment fund.

Guest's picture
Laure

Such a small refund this year that I'm rolling it over to pay my 2015 estimated tax payments. (I am self-employed and so must make quarterly payments).

Guest's picture
Ed in Ont, Canada

As a financial advisor, selling no financial products, I advised my clients to avoid getting a refund, for reason as quoted here.

No refund for me.

On just under Cdn$50K income, I pay almost no tax, as I develop tax-advantaged income from investments, and give something like 20 - 25% of income to charities and churches ... result is usually about zero tax to pay (usually have some credits to carry to next year - or after death, as I'm well over 80)

Guest's picture
Kim

I love reading all of the responses - nice to see so many savers and Greg made me laugh :) My husband and I split our tax refund and he uses his portion to pay off student loans and I use my portion to invest in retirement funds. Our refund is not too much (which is good!) but it's still a little more for the future!

Guest's picture
Diane

I will save most of it for gifts & home repair expenses during the coming year. My only debt is the mortgage and I have an emergency fund. Anything left at the end of the year will be invested.

Guest's picture
Holly Sanford

I use my tax refund for a couple of annual bills I have, such as my life insurance premium and our summer pool pass. The rest generally gets split between buffering our HSA fund for our high deductible plan and our vacation fund for the year.

Guest's picture
Carol

We already got our refund, and we used about half of it to pay off some hospital bills that were making us miserable. My husband really wanted to "blow" the rest of it on "fun stuff", but I insisted that we were going to put the rest of it into savings. Two days later, his car needed $1000.00 in repairs!

Easy come, easy go, I guess, LOL--I'm just glad the money was there, because it would have wiped out our savings completely if we hadn't had that tax refund.

Guest's picture
Cynthia

If I get one, I will put it into an investment account.

Guest's picture
Joyce

Start that emergency fund for those unexpected bills!

Guest's picture
Happy Love

Unfortunately we won't be getting a refund this year.

Guest's picture
Alissa Allen

I put some of it toward a weekend away and invest the rest!

Guest's picture
Sheryl

The money is going into my new car fund. I hope to pay cash for my next car!

Guest's picture
Heidi W

We are working to pay off my husband's medical school debt and rebuild our savings after a recent move, so that is what it will probably go towards. Not very exciting, but thankful we'll have "extra" to contribute to those things!

Guest's picture
Thomas Murphy

I will invest mine.

Guest's picture
Nicolle

The money will go towards my retirement.

Guest's picture
J. Pario

What's a refund? Oh, wait, I think I remember those....