What's the best thing to spend a tax refund on?

It's all fun and games until she realises blowing her tax refund on another holiday instead of paying off the credit card bill for last year has cost her thousands in interest.

It's all fun and games until she realises blowing her tax refund on another holiday instead of paying off the credit card bill for last year has cost her thousands in interest.

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When you come into money, does it burn a hole in your pocket until you splurge on something you really don’t need?

Most recent figures show some eight-in-ten taxpayers received a refund on their tax return, and the average amount was just over $2100.

The Australian Securities and Investments Commission’s moneysmart.gov.au website reveals 29 per cent used their refund to pay bills, 21 per cent saved it, 16 per cent didn’t get a refund and 13 per cent used it to make payments on their credit cards.

Other popular choices were home loan payments (9 per cent), holidays (5 per cent) and household appliances (2 per cent).

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For those fortunate enough to receive a tax refund this year, why not think through your options and use your windfall to give yourself a real financial boost?

Something as simple as paying off your high-interest credit card now can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest in the longer term.

... paying off your high-interest credit card now can save you hundreds or even thousands of dollars in interest in the long term.

Other strategies to reduce debt stress include paying off car or other personal loans, paying extra amounts into your mortgage (or increasing your home loan deposit) and taking care of bills or fines straight away to avoid incurring late fees.

Apart from paying off existing debt, stashing your money away, so to speak, also has its benefits. By this we don’t mean hiding it in a sock under your bed.  

An emergency fund of a few hundred or thousand dollars can literally be a lifesaver if, for instance, your pet becomes sick and needs urgent veterinary care. Or what if the car you rely on for your livelihood needs urgent repairs?

Such an emergency fund sitting in a high-interest account may remain untouched for some time but can bring great peace of mind during that time.

Making extra contributions to your superannuation can really boost the amount of money you have to retire on, but remember you won't be able to spend it until you retire.

If you are on a low income, the government will even match your after-tax super contributions up to a maximum of $500.

Seeking advice from a trusted financial adviser can also help you get the best outcome for your particular situation.

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