Anxiously awaiting your tax refund from Uncle Sam? We know how you feel. Receiving that check in the mail is like opening a gift on your birthday. Before you splurge on that new laptop or flat screen TV, hit pause and be practical. Make the most out of your hard earned refund with these helpful tips.  
  1. Pay off Debt – Credit cards, student loans, and mortgages – oh my! Why not reduce your monthly stress and catch up on bills that carry a high interest rate. Not only will it give you breathing room, but it will also prevent further damage to your credit report.
 
  1. Build an Emergency Fund – Life is unpredictable. That’s why it’s best to be prepared. One of the smartest financial decisions you can make is to save money for that unexpected rainy day. Having the ability to pay 3-6 months worth of living expenses is best.
 
  1. Save for Retirement – Contributing to your 401(K), IRA or purchasing a mutual fund are ways you can extend your net worth. Even though it may not be as fun as taking a vacation now, you’ll be glad you did, especially when you’re relaxing one day on that white sandy beach.
  Ready to put your refund to work? Make a list of what you plan to do with each dollar. Remember, the key is to save first, then only buy things that you truly need. Be smart about managing your money, and the return will be worth the wait.