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You’ve filed your taxes and are anxiously awaiting your refund, but before you fill up your Amazon cart, it is important to come up with a spending plan that best meets your financial needs. Using your tax refund responsibly is an easy way to get started on your path to financial freedom.

start an emergency fund. Did you know 66 million Americans have zero dollars saved for an emergency? If you currently are one of the 66 million, now is a great time to start saving. Even if you put away half of your tax refund, you will have piece of mind knowing you are prepared for the unexpected.

pay off debt. If you are currently one of the 38.1% of Americans that has credit card debit, now is a good time to pay some of that debt down. Paying minimum balances on credit card balances will take you years to pay off.

open a savings account. If you currently do not have a savings account because you “can’t afford it,” then consider the fact that maybe you “can’t afford not to.” If you have direct deposit, set up a split deposit so that before you even receive your money, part of it has already gone into savings. Out of sight, out of mind.

donate. It may not help you financially, but you could make an impact to others by donating to a charity or organization you are passionate about. Donations can be claimed as a deduction when you file your taxes next year.

prepare for retirement. Did you know 60 % of people aren’t regularly saving for retirement? Whether you are years away from retirement or you plan to retire in the next few years, add money to your retirement account or set up an IRA. The key to reaching your retirement goals is to start contributing early and let your money grow over time. The earlier, the better.