Q: I want to use my tax refund money wisely this year so I can build a strong foundation for me and my two little girls. I have not been very smart with my past money choices. How can I make my money work for me this time?
A: Congratulations for wanting to improve not only your own financial circumstances, but also that of your two daughters.
You did not state how large a tax refund you expect to receive, but I do know that the IRS says the average tax refund doled out is about $3,000.
Here are three suggestions on how to manage your refund check wisely. First, set aside 25% of your refund for savings. Put the money into an emergency fund that you don’t touch. Keep that money as a cash cushion, and slowly add money to it, little by little each month.
Next, use 25% of the money to pay off credit card debt or any consumer debt you may owe.
Lastly, use the final 50% of your refund check to save for your daughters’ future college education. Take the money and open a 529 plan for each child. A 529 plan is a state-sponsored college savings plan with great tax benefits.