While filing taxes is a pain, receiving a refund is a sweet reward. As of March 29, 2019, the IRS has already issued over 59.9 million refunds, with an average check size of $2,873!*
It’s a good idea to plan how you’ll “spend” the cash from your refund. Here are 5 smart uses for your tax refund that can improve your financial health and credit profile:
- Catch up on past-due bills. Late payments can have a negative impact on your credit score, and getting hit with late fees makes things even worse. Using your refund to pay old bills is a great way to wipe the slate clean.
- Pay down your credit card balances, starting with the highest-interest card. This will lower your credit utilization and reduce how much you’re paying in interest. Bonus points if you can pay off one card completely!
- Grow your emergency savings fund. Experts recommend keeping between 1 to 3 months’ worth of expenses in a savings account. Now is a great time to contribute to that goal.
- Make an extra payment on principal to your mortgage, car loan, or student loans. Make sure to specify that the payment is intended for principal, and not an advance payment for next month’s balance. That way you can reduce your interest and pay off the loan earlier.
- Ask your lender if they offer a biweekly or weekly payment plan. This makes budgeting a snap and helps you avoid late payments. Switching to this type of plan can be tricky in the first month due to how the timing works – that’s where your refund comes in. Bonus points for automating your payments this way!