Spend or save? How Americans plan to use their tax refunds

With the calendar flipping to April 15 and procrastinating Americans scrambling to file their income taxes today, two recent national surveys shed some light on what adults plan to do with their refunds.

According to the Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll* more than one-in-three (37{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) Americans who anticipate receiving a refund will use the money to pay off debt. Following closely behind, 29{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans plan to save or invest their refund. Fewer than one-in-ten (8{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) say they will spend the money on something fun.

On which of the following are you most likely to spend that refund?

Asked among N=547 adults who expect a tax refund this year

Bars 1

Bankrate’s March Money Pulse survey^ reveals similar priorities, with 34{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} of Americans who expect a return saying they will use the money to pay down debt and 33{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222} planning to save or invest the money. Again, just a small percentage of adults (3{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) will use the money for a “splurge,” like a vacation or shopping spree.

 What will you do with your tax refund?

Asked among respondents who expect to or have already received refunds

Bars 2

The current data tracks closely with American’s priorities from the last time Bankrate asked the question in March 2010. Five years ago, a similar one-third (30{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) planned to pay down debt, followed closely by saving (28{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}) and spending on necessities (26{09f965da52dc6ab4c1643a77bd40d1f729d807040cd8db540234bb981a782222}).



* Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll conducted February 18-22, 2015 among N=1,000 adults (500 on landlines, 500 on cells).

^ Bankrate Money Pulse Survey conducted February 26-March 1, 2015 among N=1,003 adults (502 on landlines, 501 on cells).


Public Opinion Strategies