If you want to kick your habit of saving money into high gear, there’s no better time to do it than tax season. Let’s break down how you can do it.
Save a portion of your tax refund: This might seem like a no-brainer but a lot of Americans don’t do it. Even saving 25 percent makes a difference if you add it to your emergency fund for cash that you may need in the future. A tax refund is probably the biggest amount you’ll receive all year so make it count and save the money.
Set up a separate account ahead of tax time: Whether it’s a savings account with a bank or credit union, an IRA, or a savings bond, having an account all set up will motivate you to save your tax refund. Review the kinds of accounts out there and choose one that makes the most financial sense to you.
Go automatic: When you file your returns, make sure to check the boxes on the tax form that informs the IRS to direct a portion of your refund into your savings account, and whatever is remaining into your checking account. This simple step saves you time and does the work for you. Besides, it will make your refund arrive faster and is much safer. This is even easier to do if you do your taxes online.
Make sure you get what you are owed: The key to being smart about savings is knowing the numbers. Take some time and research exactly how much you paid in taxes through the year and check what you are owed. Military families, senior citizens, persons with disabilities, limited English speaking taxpayers, and people with an income of under $54,000 are eligible for free tax preparation assistance at a Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) location. Getting the assistance you need will help eliminate errors and miscalculations.