There’s nothing quite like the feeling of finally getting hold of your refund from Uncle Sam. Since most of us never know how much — if any — we’re going to get back until we file our dreaded tax returns, getting a refund feels like an unexpected gift. But it’s all too easy to blow your check almost as soon as you receive it, if you aren’t careful. If this sounds like you, take a cue from Money magazine, and split your refund up into chunks.
Money recommends immediately putting most of your refund in savings, where it won’t be touched (this is usually my intention, but I don’t always follow through like I should!). Then comes the fun part: take the rest of your refund out in cash (or split it between you and your partner if you filed jointly). This way, you still get that Christmas-morning feeling when your refund arrives, because you know you’ll get to spend at least some of it on something fun. But you’ll also avoid that post-refund-spending sense of regret, as you watch your mounting credit card debt and wish you’d paid it off.