If you are expecting a tax refund this year, now is a good time to start planning how you’ll use that extra money. The best uses are to pare down debt and bulk up your savings. Here are a few ways to get the most bang from your refund:

1. Open an emergency fund or add to your existing one. Life is full of unexpected surprises— your car breaks down, your refrigerator dies, or you lose your job.  Put your tax refund into a savings account opened specifically for emergencies such as these, and aim to save enough to cover three to six months of expenses.

2. Open a 529 plan.
Setting up a 529 plan can help your children or grandchildren afford a higher education, and you may get a tax deduction for your efforts. Visit savingforcollege.com to find out more.

3. Take a class to improve your career prospects. If you think you lack certain skills to get ahead in your career, use the refund to purchase classes to learn those skills.

4. Pay off debt. Use your refund to pay off any high-interest-rate credit card debt you may have. Try to pay off the debt in full so you can stop getting interest charges added to your balance every month.

5. Start a Christmas Club savings account. Within Online Account Access, you can enroll in our Christmas Club savings account to start saving for the holidays! This account lets you save for holiday spending year-round so you don’t have to rely on credit cards.

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