Survey Says: More Americans Are Stretching Tax Refunds Further This Year as Their “Needs” Top Their “Wants”

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78 percent vow to spend this year’s tax refund wisely

This year, one in two Americans receiving a tax refund (50 percent) say they plan to spend the extra money on bills or other household expenses, as opposed to vacations (15 percent), leisure activities (8 percent) or gifts (4 percent), according to a recent poll from Cricket Communications.(1) The survey also noted that more than three-quarters (78 percent) of Americans receiving their refund will be “smarter” about how they spend it, with more than half (55 percent) pledging they are more likely to use refund dollars on practical “needs” instead of “wants.”

Stretching Tax Refund Dollars

Cricket has also partnered with certified financial planner and savings expert Robert Pagliarini, author of The Other 8 Hours, Six-Day Financial Makeover, to offer additional tips on helping people stretch tight tax refund budgets.

1. Set up an emergency fund

Stocking away six to twelve months of expenses can really help individuals and families who have found their home equity line of credit has been reduced — or an unexpected medical fee arises.

2. Open a 529 College Savings Plan

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, the cost of a college education continues to rise every year. Between 1999–2000 and 2009–10, prices for undergraduate tuition, room, and board at public institutions rose 37 percent, and prices at private institutions rose 25 percent, after adjustment for inflation. Planning early and setting aside money for college now is the most important thing you can do for your children’s collegiate success.

3. Seek out classes to boost budgeting skills

Taking a refresher course at a community college or neighborhood center can help boost financial planning skills that you currently have or help you learn a new one.

4. Research the best deals on monthly expenses

There are expenses you will incur each month, such as food, transportation and cell phone costs, which are easy to re-evaluate and cut as long as you do the right research. For example, choosing a pre-paid wireless provider such as Cricket will help you save hundreds of dollars each year, without sacrificing all of the fun apps, games and music that your family can’t live without.

For more information about Cricket’s devices and no contract service plans, as well as Cricket locations participating in their Liberty Tax Services® promotion, visit www.mycricket.com

(1) The study, commissioned by Cricket Communications, surveyed a national sample of 1,000 American adults ages 18 and older. The margin of error for the total sample is +3.1% at the 95% level of confidence (Fielded by TNS in March 2012).

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Article by Arie Rich

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