Tackle Late Obligations. Protect your credit rating by bringing any/all overdue accounts up to date to eliminate late-payment penalties and also ensure future availability of credit at sensible rates.
Expect the Unexpected. Set money aside for starting or building an existing emergency fund. This is more important than ever especially considering recent reductions to credit limits.
Reduce Debt. Start by paying down debt on the highest rate credit card(s) to minimize interest charges. Then turn toward eliminating other short-term installment debt to instantly boost your monthly cash flow.
Think Retirement. Start by fully funding a 401K and matching funds. Afterwards, look to opening or funding any IRAs. For more information and guidance on IRAs see Publication 590, Individual Retirement Arrangements at irs.ustreas.gov/publications
Consider Education. With a child 10 years or more from entering college, your best shot at keeping up with tuition inflation is to begin investing in a tax-advantaged state 529 plan. For a comprehensive listing of 529 plans, visit morningstar.com/529/529table.html
Healthy Investments. Update or purchase a life insurance policy. Also consider membership in a health club. And save by running these type expenses through a flexible spending at work, if offered.
Buy a Home. Apply the refund to start or add to a down payment on a first home. Incentives have been extended while mortgage interest rates, inventories, and home prices remain historically low.