Are Tax Refunds Only For Bank Accounts? 6 Ways To Use It Smartly

This story is part of tax 2022. CNET has the best tax software and everything you need to file your returns quickly, accurately and on time.

The latest IRS filing data shows that the tax season is over and the average payback time is $3,012. This is a lot of money that can be put to good use. With a potential recession approaching and inflation adding an average of about $300 per month to American families, getting a paycheck can help boost your budget a bit. However, if you don’t need the money for rent, bills, or necessities, there are smart ways you can use it to improve your finances.

Here are 6 ways to apply your tax refund to whether your tax refund has not been used in your bank account or is still waiting for money (there are reasons for the late response and how to track it via mail). .

1. To pay off debt

Living with debt can drain everything: credit cards, student loans, buy now and post-pay, and medical bills. Your tax refund may not be large enough to clean up these balances, but you can use it to pay off debt, especially high interest compound debt.

Credit cards tend to be debt with the highest interest rates, but this is not always the case. Paying off your debt first at the highest interest rate (also known as an avalanche method) can help you cut interest costs. Credit card rates are also expected to rise as the Fed raises rates twice this year.

If you have multiple credit cards with debt with similar annual interest rates, you may choose to pay off the smallest balance first (snowballing). Cnet Money said, “The first to deal with the card with the lowest balance can be a quick winner, and you can gain mental strength to pay off the remaining balance. “It’s an early confidence booster that can go a long way in getting you out of debt.” Editor of Large Farnoosh Torabi.

2. Create or strengthen an emergency fund

An emergency fund is an important financial tool that can help if you lose your job, lose your pay, or have an unexpected financial emergency (such as a huge medical bill). Your emergency fund should cover three to six months’ worth of expenses: rent, utilities, groceries, gas, and other necessities.

A tax refund can help you start raising money for an emergency. A high-yielding savings account with a slightly higher interest rate and quick access is a great place to keep that money. Many online banks, such as Capital One, Ally, and Marcus, offer high-yielding savings options. And if you have debts you want to pay off and don’t have an emergency fund to talk about, you may not be sure how best to use your money for your business. “Make a small backup of your emergency fund first. A few hundred dollars can be very useful before you start a debt repayment strategy. They provide a buffer against unexpected expenses so you don’t fall into debt anymore. Turabi said: “You’ve set aside a month or so of your basic expenses, so plan your debt repayment plan more aggressively.”

3. Earn money and pay for yourself in the future

It may not be the most magical way to enjoy money right now, but investing in the future is important at any stage of your career. You can use your tax refund to contribute to any retirement plan in your 401(k) or IRA. In 2022, you can contribute up to $20,500 for 401(k) and $6,000 for traditional and Roth IRAs. (If you are 50 or older, you can contribute $6,500 to a 401(k) and an additional $1,000 to an IRA.)

Al-Turabi said “If your retirement plan is not as feasible as possible, consider investing enough to match your entire employer or contribute at least 1-2% compared to last year”.

And if you’re already meeting your retirement goals, you can use that money to buy I bonds. These bonds can help increase your funds by providing savings above the inflation rate. Finally, you can consider investing in cashback. There is no one way to start investing. Each person will look different. If you want to invest with minimal risk, it may make sense to buy an ETF, exchange-traded fund, or index fund. Both options spread your risk across a range of stocks and bonds that track specific indices like the S&P 500. Index funds or ETFs don’t make you rich overnight. It’s a long game.

If you are more active in your investments and are not afraid to take higher risks, you can invest directly in the stock market through brokerage. Online options for investing in ETFs, index funds and stocks include TD Ameritrade, E Trade, and Fidelity Investments.

For those who do not want to be actively involved in the investment process, a robo-advisor may be suitable. Robo advisors like Betterment, Wealthfront, and Ellevest use artificial intelligence to create portfolios based on their financial needs and goals.

4. Add money to Hayel Saeed Anam or the Financial Services Authority.

A health savings account is a savings plan designed specifically for health-related expenses. An HSA is called a savings plan, but it is a kind of investment account. If you have a health plan with a high deductible, you can open a Hayel Saeed Anam account. Triple Duty Free HSA: Your donations, profits and withdrawals are not subject to tax. Employers may also provide access to the FSA, a flexible spending account, which is a tax-free account designed to receive medical bills.

If you have a health savings account or flexible health savings account, you can use part of your tax return to fund that account. HSA’s 2022 contribution limit is $3,650 for individuals and $7,300 for family plans. The FSA donation limit for 2022 is $2,850.

5. University Fundraising

Whether it’s for your kids or yourself, you can invest your money in future college expenses so you can put your money back into business. There are many options for storing this money, including a high-yield savings account, an investment account, or a 529 plan.

The 529 plan is designed specifically for college savings but works as an investment account. As long as your income grows tax-free and you use the money to cover your education-related expenses, you won’t have a hard time paying taxes on your withdrawals.

6. Invest in yourself

Colleges are great self-investments, but there are other ways you can use your tax refund for good purposes. If you are considering a job change or a side job, use your money to invest in that conversion. If you need capital to start your own business, this can be your opportunity. Or spend your money investing in a class, course, or certification that will help you take your skills to the next level.

“Given that a new business can take some time to generate revenue, or at least one year of financial or personal savings can be essential for financial stability and long-term success, Al-Turabi said. said.

The stress of the past two years has taken a toll on all of us. Paying off debt, saving and investing in cashback is a smart idea, but investing in your mental health is also important.

Consider using refunds for the breaks you need, whether it’s a laptop-free trip, a trip to meet family and friends, or a relaxing vacation to recharge, reset and focus. Al-Turabi said “Health is wealth.” “Mastering finances requires more than just managing your money and cents properly. It’s a more holistic endeavor that focuses above all on mental health.”