(WPRI) - Before you spend your tax refund, take a close look at your financial situation.
"Often times, people are already in debt, you want to make sure no matter what size that check is, you put some towards your debt," said a spokeswoman from the Better Business Bureau.
Maybe you assume that a small tax refund check won't make enough of a dent in you debt. Think again. Every little bit helps. Paying down debt takes time, but steadily increasing your monthly payments does have an impact.
If you don't have debt, but you also haven't saved, make sure you put a little away in a savings account for a rainy day. That way, your tax refund will continue to grow.
"Are your children in school, going to a college, do you have something set up for their college, now it's time to think about that."
Plus, 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.
If your finances are in good shape, your refund check provides opportunities to improve your life. You can use the money to make your home energy-efficient, which save you more money in long term. Or giving a portion of the refund to your kids to help them learn handling money.
After considering all the tips, you can also use the refund to improve the lives of others, donating to a charitable organization. Your charitable gift may also reduce next year's tax burden.
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