If you are one of the millions of Americans expecting an income tax refund in the coming weeks, it can be easy to spend that money before it even hits your bank account. From electronics to home appliances, down payments to loan payoffs, that chunk of change can almost feel like free money. Nearly 80% of U.S. tax filers received a refund in 2017. If you are expecting a refund check this spring, consider making that money work for you! Here are four smart ideas to make the most of your tax refund this spring.

Boost your Balances:

About a third of Americans have little to no savings, according to a survey by personal finance site Bankrate.com. Saving money can be hard, but sometimes it’s about making your money work smarter, not harder. Orion offers several checking and savings products that pay you, helping you get the best return on the money you use every day.

3% Premium Checking: With only a $25 minimum share deposit, you can open a checking account that pays you 3% APY on balances up to $20,000. In a month, that can be more than $50. And in a year, almost $600.*

Christmas Club Savings: With specialty savings accounts, like the Christmas Club account, you earn interest on funds you stow away in preparation for your holiday shopping. With no minimum balance, this account offers an easy way to save, just wait until November or December to transfer the money to another account, and you’re set!

calendar for saving tax return money

Invest in your Future:

It can be hard to think about the future when you have money burning a hole in your pocket, but depositing some, or all, of your refund into an IRA account can make a major difference to your financial security later in life. An IRA, or an Individual Retirement Account, is an account designed to help you save for your retirement.

Orion offers both traditional and Roth IRA accounts with only a $500 minimum opening deposit. There are no maintenance fees, and deposits are insured up to $250,000. Both of these IRAs are tax-advantaged ways to save for retirement, but they differ on how they accomplish that. Consult with your tax advisor to learn more about whether a traditional IRA or a Roth IRA could be best for you. Both are great for long-term saving. Consult with an Orion banking professional to learn how to make this year’s refund work for you.

Make Home Improvements:

If you are a homeowner, you can never go wrong with projects that add to the value of your home or just make it cozier. Small projects like a new front door, updating appliances or new kitchen counters can increase the equity in your home and often cost less than the average refund.

Replacing old doors and updating appliances like fridges and dishwashers are easy ways to give your rooms a facelift, and bigger projects like a kitchen or bathroom remodel will not only make your home more attractive to potential buyers when the time comes, they also make time spent hanging out around the house much more enjoyable. If you live in an older home, replacing old windows or finding ways to make your home more energy efficient can help you save money on your electric bill, as well. Don’t forget to keep your receipts – you may be able to file home improvement project expenses as a deduction on next year’s taxes**. 

If there are home repairs or improvements you need to make this year that your refund won’t cover in full, you can help fund your home improvement projects with a Home Equity Line of Credit (HELOC) from Orion. This is a convenient, flexible, and low-cost way to borrow money. A HELOC is a line of credit using your home as collateral.  With our signature HELOC, you can borrow up to 100% of your home’s value, and use as much or as little as you need, and you’ll pay interest on only what you use***. The interest you pay may even be tax deductible!

saving tax refund for a home equity line of credit

Donate It:

Use your bit of cash flow to give back to causes that mean a lot to you. There are several causes in the mid-south that are worthy and making an impact. Check some out at WheretoGiveMidSouth.org. As a company, Orion also sponsors local nonprofits in the community. Find out more information about Orion’s giving initiatives on our Orion Gives Back page.

*No minimum to earn 3% Annual Percentage Yield (APY). 0.05% APY on balances over $20,000. APY is accurate as of 4.3.2018 and subject to change after account opening. Fees may reduce earnings. Conditions apply – see OrionFCU.com.

**Consult your tax advisor.

***Terms and conditions apply.