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Start Your Good Money Habits Now: Plan to Save Your Tax Refund Before You Get It Back

By staff
  | Mar 23, 2023


We know the excitement of expecting your tax refund. After a year of hard work, you’re looking forward to putting it to use on the things you need and the things you want. 

But instead of deciding when the money is in your hands, you can maximize the benefits of your refund by planning ahead for how you’ll use it. Although it offers a little less instant gratification, your future self will thank you for making that money grow. Here are a few ways you can put your refund to work for you in both the short and long run.

Automatic Savings Accounts
We’ve previously shared how you can use behavioral psychology principles to grow your money through automatic savings accounts. As human beings, we’re not always inclined to delay gratification for long-term benefits – we want the fun stuff now. But by setting up an automatic savings system, you can eliminate the hard work of deciding to save each time your money enters your account, and your future self will reap the benefits. Talk to a member services representative at your local branch about how you can set up an automatic savings system.

One-third rule
If you want to grow the money you get back but still give yourself a well-deserved reward, consider using the “one-third rule.” 

  • Use 1/3 to pay bills on time or get ahead of upcoming ones.
  • Invest 1/3 in your future self by putting it in your emergency fund or saving for your retirement with an investment vehicle like a Roth IRA.
  • Spend 1/3 on a vacation or a purchase you’ve been dreaming about.

Invest It
Finally, a great way to put your refund to work for you is to invest it in a low-risk investment vehicle like a high-yield savings account or a term certificate, where it will grow at competitive rates but remain available if you need it in an emergency with a small penalty. 

Self-Help offers a variety of term certificates to meet your investment needs and a chance to put your money to work for your community. Our term certificates deliver competitive dividend payouts, bolstering your savings while you support Self-Help's mission. And with terms ranging from three months to five years, you can sync your investment with your personal savings goals.

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