Consumers Looking To Save Refunds, Not Spend Them

Looks like consumers may be feeling more frugal than frisky this year, with more people planning to use tax refunds to beef up savings or pay down debt.

The National Retail Federation says that two-thirds of those in its survey anticipate getting money back from Uncle Sam, and of those, 49.2% plan to save it. That’s the biggest percentage since the trade association began the survey some years ago.

The survey, which was conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics and based on 7,100 adults, found that 34.9% expect to use their refund to pay down debt, while 22.4% say they’ll use it for everyday expenses.

Young people are feeling especially responsible, with 57.3% of those between 18 and 24 intent on saving their checks, and 27.4% expecting to use it for gas, groceries or other everyday expenses. And those ages 25 to 34 are also more apt to save, with 52.3% planning to stash their refunds in savings, and 45% intending to pay off some debt.



But there will be some spending, it reports, with 11.4% of the overall sample planning to use the extra money for a vacation, and 9.2% planning to splurge on something big such as a TV or car. And 8.3% are likely to indulge a little, with a big night out or a spa treatment.

A survey from found even higher expectations for savings, with 75% of those expecting money back planning on either saving it or paying off debt. Only one in five Americans plans to spend tax refund money, and it reports women are 20% more likely to pay off debt than men.

The NRF also reports that this year, electronic filing will reach a record high, at 66.9%. Some 38.2% will use computer software and go it alone, while 16.1% will have a spouse, relative or friend do it, and 21.4% will hire an accountant.

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