Do you spend weeks each spring eagerly anticipating your income tax refund? When the money finally comes in, is it gone tomorrow? You’re not alone. Many consumers view tax refunds as unplanned bonuses, but it makes more sense to plan for that new chunk of change so it doesn’t go to waste.

Whether or not you are in need of debt relief, a tax refund provides the opportunity to improve your financial situation. BBB and ClearPoint Credit Counseling Solutions recommend the following tips:

Pay down your debt. Refund checks usually arrive when many consumers are still struggling with holiday bills. Use your refund to pay off your credit card. If you have an outstanding balance on more than one credit card, either try to pay off the lowest-balance card first (good for motivation) or direct the funds toward the card carrying the highest interest rate (wiser from a financial perspective). Or, apply your refund toward other debts, such as car or home equity loan.

Consider your financial goals. Are you trying to save for a down payment on a house or car? Do you hope to contribute to your child’s college tuition one day? If you don’t have a set of short-term and long-term financial goals, put one together. You’ll be more conscientious about how you spend your tax refund, or any other extra money that comes your way.

Save it for a rainy day. Why not give yourself an even bigger return on your tax refund by putting it into savings or investing it. It’s always helpful to have an emergency fund to draw from when an unexpected bill comes along.

If debt is a continuing problem, consider a credit counselor. Certified consumer credit counseling agencies can assist people who are facing financial challenges and are looking for debt relief. BBB has information on more than 2,000 credit and debt Counseling firms, including hundreds of Accredited Businesses. BBB Business Reviews are available for free at

Start With Trust. For trustworthy consumer tips and information, visit or call 970-484-1348 or 800-564-0371.