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Kip Tips

Don't Blow Your Refund

Ignore the urge to buy a big-ticket item with your check from Uncle Sam. Instead, put the money back to work for you.

Woohoo, a tax refund check! Time to get that big-screen TV.

Yes, you could use your refund to splurge on a big-ticket item -- 13.2% of Americans will, according to a National Retail Federaion survey. “Despite the difficult unemployment situation across the country, Americans receiving a tax refund this year seem eager to plough this money back into the economy,” says NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay in a press release.

But don't think of that check from Uncle Sam as a gift. It's money you overpaid in taxes that you could've been using throughout the year to pay bills or stash in a retirement account. So rather than blowing your refund on a big-ticket item, put the money back to work for you.

Ask Kim columnist Kimberly Lankford suggests five smart ways to use your refund, from paying down debt to saving for your kids' college. See all her great ideas in How to Put Your Refund to Good Use.

And try our Easy-to-Use Withholding Calculator to see how much you can add back to your paycheck by adjusting your withholding and no longer letting the IRS hold your money interest-free.

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