6 Things Women Do With Their Tax Refund

Julia Novakovich  |

A lot of great things happen in the spring. The weather warms up, trees blossom, tulips start to pop up – and tax returns start to come in. Many Americans are excited to get their return, and are already planning what to do with the money when it arrives. From making a luxury purchase to paying off debt, these are a few of the things Americans are going to do with their refunds.

1.Big Purchase

One of the benefits of using your tax refund to make a big purchase is that you can do it debt-free. Without refunds, many high ticket items end up on credit cards, which increase debt over the long term. Some people aren’t planning to spend a lot of money to treat themselves, but do want to spend some money on luxury purchases. Of course, how we all define luxury is different; luxury could mean a vacation, a piece of art, or simply being able to treat yourself to a weekly massage this year.

Some buyers may decide to use their credit card to make this purchase, especially if they get rewards points or dollars, but then use their cash infusion to immediately pay off the balance and avoid accruing interest.

2.Home Improvement

Home improvement can be inexpensive or really expensive. Women are buying homes more and more often, and most people are not able to buy their perfect home right away. Cash infusions from refunds might be enough to redecorate a living room, but they might also be enough to redo a bathroom or living room, fix a nagging household problem, or other home improvement projects that have been put off due to finances.

Women may choose to do these things on their own, or they may choose to hire a contractor; either way, improving on the condition of their home is a popular choice for using a tax refund.

3.Pay Off Debt

While Millennials are blamed for killing off any number of industries, one thing they’re definitely using their refund to kill is debt. Due to high costs of living and low salaries in many areas, Millennials often rely on credit cards at various times. While lots of Americans use their tax returns to pay down high

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interest debt, Millennials (and particularly millennial women) are most likely to do so. After that, they are most likely to make a necessary purchase, and then invest the money in a retirement or savings account.

4.Invest

Speaking of investment, some women definitely do plan to put their financial winnings into an investment account, usually either a savings account or a retirement account. This is a fantastic use of a tax refund, although many financial experts would say that if you are able to just plunk your refund right into savings, you should adjust your withholdings so that you get a little more pay throughout the year and less of a big chunk when you file. After all, Uncle Sam doesn’t give you interest on your hard earned dollars.

5.Emergency Fund

Another way women plan to use their tax refunds is to create an emergency fund. This is an intermediary step between investing the money and paying off debt. Having their cash more liquid can help pay off the small scale emergent financial needs that occur without needing to create more high interest debt.

This might be in a traditional savings account, but it is generally placed in one that is still easy to access. Having the money easily available to make car repairs, deal with home emergencies, or cover an unexpected medical cost.

6.Donate To Charity

Women give substantially more to charities than men, in the form of donations, volunteering, and work. Many women may choose to donate some or all of their tax refund. If you’re someone who itemizes their deductions, this can be beneficial at the end of the year; if you’re not, it can still feel good to know that your excess went to helping someone less fortunate than you.

For some people, having the kind of cash infusion that tax refund provides can create an almost dizzying sense of excitement. After all, many of the people who get refunds are those who qualify for various tax credits that are often targeted towards lower income families. This may be part of why so many tax returns are used so practically.

Many people also use their tax refunds for several different things; a chunk may pay off debt, for example, but some may be set aside for a luxury purpose. After all, everyone enjoys treating themselves once in a while. But while many people – including retailers – assume that everyone will be out buying TVs and new furniture when tax refunds start pouring in, it appears that Americans are being much more careful with their money over time.

DISCLOSURE: No financial interests


The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer.

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