How to Spend Your Tax Refund Wisely

Posted by Matin Varshochi in TaxesFebruary 18, 2022(Last Updated July 27, 2022)5 min read
Key Takeaways
  • The average tax refund amount for 2021 was $2,800.
  • Due to the large sum of money, sometimes, people may overspend their refund amount instead of managing it properly to help them improve their future financial situation.
  • Below are a couple of ways you can use your tax refund wisely to improve your future financial status.
Are you ready to make some real money moves?

With the current tax season underway, now is the time to receive a refund from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for tax returns made regarding the prior year's income. Last year, the average tax refund amounted to $2,800 for individuals and families. When a person receives their tax refund, it results in an influx of cash, which can be for living expenses or personal pleasure. Regardless of its usage, you must spend the money efficiently to maximize its benefits.


Image Credit: Antonio Guillem /

Common Money Mistakes


When some people receive their tax refund, they make mistakes by spending their tax refund money ineffectively, thus leaving them in a similar financial situation than before receiving their tax refund. Therefore, it is essential to take note of some of the most common mistakes made to ensure these do not occur once you receive your refund.

Purchasing Designer Clothing


Designer clothes create the deception that they are valuable indicators of a person with high financial status. However, this ideology is incorrect, and it has been proven that designer brands do not advertise their products to wealthy individuals; instead, those who wish to look rich. Consequently, it is important not to fall into the trap of purchasing expensive clothes when you could buy a similar design from another brand for a fraction of the cost.


Recommended Read: Types of Assets Explained


Image Credit: fizkes /


Impulsive Purchases


Another critical mistake some make when receiving large sums of money is impulsively buying items. Impulse buying negatively affects one’s financial position as money is quickly being spent, and more often than not, these transactions are not being recorded/looked over.


Consequently, when transactions are not tracked, it results in a higher amount of money being spent, ultimately negatively affecting your financial status. 


Recommended Read: The Seven Day Rule for Impulsive Shoppers


Although these common mistakes are costly when done excessively, spending a tiny portion of your tax refund or income on designer clothing, or impulsive spending is not an issue. However, if they are done too often, it will result in a large sum of money being spent when there are better cost-friendly alternatives. 


Smart Money Moves to Make


With this large influx of cash, it must be adequately utilized to help improve your financial situation in the future. Here are some potential ways the tax refund could produce a future benefit.


Invest in the Stock Market


Investing in the stock market is the best way to grow money over time. The stock market helps grow capital over time due to the compound interest from investing regularly. On average, the stock market provides a 10% annual return, and with regular investments, this would result in more money available once you retire.


Contribute to Emergency Savings Fund


With the large sum of cash from the government, now is the ideal time to contribute to the emergency fund. The emergency fund consists of three to six months worth of living expenses. Therefore, it is vital to have an emergency fund to aid in paying for living expenses should an unexpected circumstance occur. 


Now that you know what to do when you receive your tax refund, it is vital to understand how long it will take to receive it. 


Factors that Slow Down the Tax Return Process


The process to receive your tax refund on the federal tax returns filed typically takes 21 days if you electronically file them. However, there are some instances where it would take longer to process tax returns. 


Recommended Read: Finding The Right Tax Preparer to Help With Your Tax Preparation 


Paper Returns


For example, if you filed a paper return, your refund status will take additional time to change, and the IRS will send you a check. It would take longer because the necessary information will take time due to the required tax information being transferred via the mail courier system. 


Inaccurate Information on Tax Returns


The IRS has a tax system to expedite the tax return process and help people receive their tax refunds quicker. However, if there is information filled out incorrectly, this will trigger a manual review and cause the filing status of the filer to not change for a prolonged period. Thus, it is important to consult a tax professional when filing your tax return and ensure that all information is filled out correctly.


Not Keeping the Necessary Tax Documents


One additional cause that has slowed some of their tax return processes down is the lack of relevant documents. For example, the IRS sent letters out regarding the Advanced Child Tax Credit and Recovery Rebate Credit. Suppose the recipient of the letters threw out these documents. In that case, it could delay the filer’s tax return process as they do not have the necessary documentation to provide accurate information on their tax return.


How to Expedite the Tax Return Process


File Information Correctly


As mentioned before, the IRS uses tax software to identify certain returns that may require further investigation. When information is filled out incorrectly, it may trigger a manual review, which will delay the duration of the tax return and lower your chances of faster returns. Thus, it is crucial to double-check the information to ensure its accuracy when filing returns. 


Opting in for Direct Deposit


When the IRS wants to issue the tax return, they use the applicant’s information on hand to determine how they will give their refund. If the applicant does not have a direct deposit set up with the IRS, the IRS is forced to mail a check, which will take longer. Therefore, it is important to choose direct deposit as the preferred method of receiving the tax refund as it will take less time for the money to come through. 


CapWay Pro Tip: If you do not have a direct deposit account, open a Money Account with CapWay today. CapWay account has no hidden fees, and you can sign up for a direct deposit.


After filing taxes, getting paid by the government is a great feeling as you receive additional cash that could be used however you wish. However, it is crucial to have a mix between spending money for yourself and investing in your future. This mixture will allow you to enjoy yourself and improve your future financial status. 


What are some other ways you can use your tax refund money productively? Please share your thoughts with us in the comment section below.


Main Image Credit: fizkes /

Was this content helpful?
Comments (0)

Sign In to leave a comment.

Download the CapWay App

Access more features to your Money Account

  • Money Goals
  • Request Money
  • Categorize Spending
  • Money Talk

The CapWay, Inc Debit Visa Card is issued by Metropolitan Commercial Bank (Member FDIC) pursuant to a license from Visa U.S.A. Inc. “Metropolitan Commercial Bank” and “Metropolitan” are registered trademarks of Metropolitan Commercial Bank ©2014.

1. For Money Account holders with a negative balance, the CapWay debit card will go into freeze until funds are deposited to bring account back to current. See terms and conditions

2. Sending or receiving money from other CapWay account holders will be instant. Transfers from other accounts could take up to 48 hours, depending on the financial institution.

3. Early access to funds requires direct deposit. Early payment is not guaranteed and is dependent on the timing of payer's submission of deposits. We generally post such deposits on the day they are received which may be up to 2 days earlier than the payer's scheduled payment date.

4. Money Goals allows account holders to save money towards financial goals created within the CapWay platform. Funds can be transferred from your Money Account or saved through the rounding up of your transactions from purchases.

5. CapWay offers financial content through Learn Money free of charge, but may include advertisements through affiliates. Phunds, CapWay's literacy program and session, is paid content or co-branded content.

© 2019-2023 CapWay Inc. All Rights Reserved.