Many of those expecting to get money back are earmarking it for savings or debt repayment
This year, Americans are more inclined to hold onto their tax refunds than go on a spending spree, according to an annual survey from the Washington, D.C.-based National Retail Federation.
“Tax return season is a time when consumers plan and prioritize financially, whether it is paying down debt or saving for a rainy day,” says Matthew Shay, president and chief executive officer of the NRF.
Of the 65% of U.S. taxpayers who expect a refund, 49% said they expect to put the money into savings. That figure is up slightly from 48% in 2017 but is the highest percentage in the 12-year history of the survey, the NRF says. Another 35% of those getting a refund plan to use the money to pay down debt, the same percentage as last year.
Of those who plan to spend their money on specific things, 22% expect to put their refunds toward everyday expenses, 12% will spend the money on a vacation, 10% will splurge on activities like dining out or visiting a spa, 9% will do some home improvements and 8% plan to purchase a big-ticket item like a TV or car.
The survey, which asked 7,657 consumers about their tax return plans, was conducted Feb. 5-13 in conjunction with Prosper Insights & Analytics, a research firm based in Worthington, Ohio.
Survey results were released Feb. 28. Of those surveyed, 59% had already filed their taxes or expected do to so by the end of February, 27% planned to file in March and 14% expected to file in April. (Taxes are due this year on April 17.)
Millennials and their younger Generation Z counterparts, who drive so many trends, are leading this year’s refund-related frugality.
“Younger consumers are being more mindful about their hard-earned money, especially those 18 to 24 who have already filed their taxes this year, higher than any other age group,” says Phil Rist, executive vice president of Prosper. “Although this group is focused on allocating a portion of their refunds to savings, they are also more likely to use them for everyday expenses compared with any other age group.”
Given consumers’ inclination to save their refunds, mattress retailers eager to get them to part with that money instead may want to emphasize the value of a quality mattress. Position a new mattress as an investment: A mattress that is both comfortable and supportive will provide long-term value and pay dividends in terms of better sleep and better health for years to come.