Tax season has come and gone. (You have done your taxes, right?) If you were on top of your game, you may have already received your tax refund. If not, get on it! But, once you get it, what are you going to do with your refund?

Start an emergency fund

You never know when the worst might happen. Save up for a rainy day with the money Uncle Sam returns to you. The economy may be on its way to recovery, but you can never be too sure. Conventional wisdom recommends having at least three months’ worth of living expenses saved up for a rainy day.

Treat Yourself

Alternatively, embrace the rainy day in some sweet new Wellies!

Or plan for the summer sun and thank the IRS for suede sandals and the return of the 70s!

Pay down debt

Wouldn’t it be nice to get Sallie Mae off your back? Use your tax refund to chip away at your student loans or credit card debt and start summer less burdened.

Splurge a little

Or choose a tasty burden and use those extra dollars for a grand picnic basket. You’ll be the perfect picture of sophistication with The Windsor. Make debt look good with handsome leather accent straps and corduroy lining!


According to data from, interest rates average just .017 annual percentage yield for savings accounts these days. Although it may not seem like much, socking part of your refund away could earn you a little cash in interest to play with later.

…or don’t



Research has shown that buying experiences versus material items provides greater long-term happiness. That way your tax refund can contribute to a lifelong memory. It certainly can’t hurt your Instagram follower count either.

Pay it Forward

Charity Navigator has a helpful primer on the types of charities you might donate your refund to. If you’re clever (and itemize your deductions), the gift may even decrease your taxes for 2015. That’s what you call a win-win.

After you’ve spent your refund, wisely (or unwisely), request your W-2 and adjust your withholdings. Why loan money to the government interest-free when you could enjoy it all year long?


What are you doing with your tax refund? Let us know!


Additional Images: Flickr



Carrisa Pawell
Carrisa Pawell
Feminist, political geek, and dog lover. Give me a rock and some shoes to climb it, and I'm a happy camper.