Smart Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund

So you’ve successfully completed and filed your taxes — congrats! Now, all that’s left to do is wait for the real prize: your tax refund. Whether you’re expecting a modest or a heftier amount, why not consider putting your refund to work for you?

Regions Branch Manager Elise Carr recommends saving your tax refund or paying off existing debt.

Here are five smart ways to spend to your tax refund.

1. Pay Off Your Debts

The more debt you accumulate, the further away you get from financial freedom. Using your tax refund to pay down your debts will reduce what you owe and the total amount of interest you will pay.

“A tax refund is a great opportunity to put yourself in a better financial picture by eliminating current debt and/or saving for the future,” says Carr. However, be mindful of not spending your tax refund frivolously on a vacation or a shopping spree.

2. Create an Emergency Fund

If you don’t have a strong emergency fund already, consider using your tax refund to start one. An emergency fund can help guard against the unexpected, such as losing your job or large medical bills. For financial peace of mind, it’s recommended to save anywhere from eight to 12 months of living expenses.

And if you’re interested in a secure and easy-to-use alternative to a checking account, consider how a reloadable prepaid card can help keep your money safe and available for when you need it.

Prepaid cards are beneficial for things like travel, or helping to stay on a budget. “It would also benefit those who have had problems in the past and are not eligible for a deposit account at this time,” says Carr.

3. Start a Savings Account

Not all savings accounts are created equal. To make sure you’re making the most out of your money, look for savings accounts that offer no minimum balance, no monthly fee, and competitive interest rates.

4. Save for Retirement

Use your tax refund to make contributions to an IRA (if eligible) or a Roth IRA for your retirement or a 529 college savings plan for your kids. Invest early and often, and to allow your retirement fund to grow over time.

5. Open a Secured Credit Card

If you have a limited or poor credit history, using your tax refund for a secured credit card could help you build a positive credit history through responsible use. A secured credit card functions like any other credit card, except that it is secured by funds you deposit into a special savings account. Your credit limit is usually equal to the amount you deposit. Talk to a banker to see if a secured credit card is a good option for you.

While tax season may be wrapped up, you may want to take some time to read up on the latest tax reform and determine whether it will impact how you file your taxes next year. Visit the Regions Tax Center to learn more.


This information is general in nature and is not intended to be legal, tax, or financial advice. Although Regions believes this information to be accurate, it cannot ensure that it will remain up to date. Statements or opinions of individuals referenced herein are their own—not Regions'. Consult an appropriate professional concerning your specific situation and for current tax rules. Regions, the Regions logo, and the LifeGreen bike are registered trademarks of Regions Bank. The LifeGreen color is a trademark of Regions Bank.