Thursday, March 3, 2011
CCCS of Greater Dallas Prioritizes Ways to Use
Your Tax Refund to Stimulate Your Financial Well Being
Dallas - March 3, 2011 - The tax deadline is less than two months away, and those lucky enough to get money back are eager to receive their refunds. Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas (CCCS of Greater Dallas) recommends consumers prioritize ways to wisely save, invest or spend any refunds to stimulate their finances.
"Spending this year's tax refund on home repairs or smart retail purchases is a great way to stimulate our economy, but if you're behind on bills or in mounds of credit card debt, we want consumers to think about stimulating their own financial stability," said Todd Mark, vice president of education for CCCS of Greater Dallas. "Ideally, we hope people can use their refunds to grow their emergency savings, which will give them a safety net in case of job loss or other financial emergencies."
Smart Ways to Save This Year's Refund:
1. Put the money in a liquid savings account. In today's economy, it's ideal to have six months of living expenses in an account that's easy to get to. If you don't have the resources to save that much, remember that saving every little bit will help prepare yourself and your family for worst case scenarios.
2. Pay down debt. It's wise to pay off or pay down the balance of the credit card with the highest interest rate. If you can't manage debts on your own, professionals like CCCS of Greater Dallas can help you work with your creditors to set up a debt management plan to pay down debt and decrease late charges and interest. Using your tax refund to knock out a large chunk of debt could help you move a long way toward paying off outstanding charges.
3. Plan for your future, set some financial goals. Receiving a lump sum refund may be the perfect excuse to jumpstart saving toward financial goals, such as retirement or the down payment on a home. With research, you can find solid funds that will produce for you in the future. The sooner you begin investing consistently, the more opportunity you're giving your nest egg to grow and make your financial goals a reality.
4. Start investing. What you do with your money today dictates if you will live out your retirement years in poverty or plenty. Even though the market is still recovering, remember this savings is for long-term goals, not today.
5. Catch up on any past-due payments. Late fees can add up quickly and can also damage your credit report and score. Get current on your accounts, and stay that way. If you're behind on your mortgage, make catching up your top priority.
6. Complete home or auto repairs. Most consumers will stay in their homes or keep their automobiles longer than expected while the economy recovers. Making repairs that will prolong the life of your home or auto will keep you safe and increase the value for a future sale.
7. Pay for continuing education. While jobs are still at an all-time low, now is the time to increase your personal value to potential employers. Using a tax refund to pay for a certificate or semester of college is a smart way to increase your own worth.
CCCS of Greater Dallas offers free budget and credit counseling, as well as a number of free webinars and classes to educate consumers on increasing their financial stability. To sign up for a free webinar, visit www.cccs.net/webinars or call1-800-249-2227 for more information.
CCCS of Greater Dallas is also offering a two-day Budget Buster seminar on March 4 and 5. The event is free and open to the public. Consumers can stop by the Dallas headquarters located at 8737 King George Drive anytime between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. on both days to attend workshops or get free one-on-one credit or budget counseling.
About CCCS of Greater Dallas
Consumer Credit Counseling Service of Greater Dallas, Inc. is a nonprofit, community based credit counseling and debt management service. Established in 1974, CCCS of Greater Dallas and its affiliate offices provide financial education and counseling to consumers in-person, by phone, or Internet at more than 20 locations in four states. CCCS of Greater Dallas is a HUD-approved housing counseling multi-state organization and serves as one of seven counseling agencies supporting the 888-995-HOPE Hotline. The agency is also a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), the nation's largest and longest serving national non-profit credit counseling network. To learn more about CCCS of Greater Dallas' free seminars or the agency's services, visit www.cccs.net or become a fan of CCCS of Greater Dallas on Facebook to receive updates on agency events and offerings.