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Getting a tax refund may seem like free money, but it’s not. It’s money you worked hard for and are entitled to get back from the government. So, as you decide what to do with your refund ─ whether you are looking to help secure you financial future or otherwise ─ consider these options:
Free MilTax Software
To get a tax refund, you have to file your taxes first. That’s easy to do with MilTax’s preparation and e-filing software, available from mid-January to mid-October. It’s easy to use and guaranteed to be 100% accurate.
- Speak to a Military OneSource financial counselor or check out your installation’s Personal Financial Management Services. Military OneSource provides free access to counselors who are prepared to help service members and their families with general financial questions. Call 800-342-9647 or live chat.
- Pay down your highest-interest credit card debt. Take this opportunity to pay down your debt and lower the overall amount you end up paying your credit card company.
- Make an extra car or mortgage payment. If there is no prepayment penalty, pay ahead on these loans and enjoy 100% ownership of your car or house a little earlier.
- Build up an emergency fund. An emergency fund is not your retirement nest egg. Set up a savings account designed to pay for unexpected expenses such as a sudden car repair or appliance replacement. Start with a goal to save $500 or $1,000 for emergencies but aim to save three- to six-months’-worth of living expenses.
- Check your spending plan. This is a good time to check your spending plan to see if there are any holes you need to cover with your refund.
- Plan for future expenses. Consider designating a certain percentage of your income for retirement and potential college expenses through the Thrift Savings Plan or Roth Thrift Savings Plan.
- Invest in yourself. Have you always wanted to take a certification class, learn a new skill or earn a college degree? Consider using your refund to boost your skills.
Remember that while getting a tax refund is a good thing, you may benefit by adjusting your deductions and using that money throughout the year instead of lending it to Uncle Sam.
After all, you might as well try and earn some interest on that money instead of just banking it at the IRS. Better yet, consider taking that extra money from each paycheck and investing it directly into your retirement or college savings accounts.