Students save, splurge tax returns

(Graphic by Audrey Hockersmith)

Since tax season has come and gone, many people have received or will soon be receiving their tax returns. From saving to splurging, there are many things students can do with the extra cash sitting in their bank accounts.

The average tax return in 2014 was around $3,000, according to Allison Linn’s article “What Americans really do with tax returns.” While it is considered healthy to splurge a bit with tax returns — it can actually make people happier in the long run — the article reasons that splurging becomes a problem when bills and other necessities go unpaid due to spending extra on a vacation first.

Splurging, however, means different things for different people. Some students won’t be spending their tax returns on something extra for themselves, but rather are using it to better their everyday living.

“Just because (money is) coming in doesn’t mean you have to spend it all,” Ben Wietharn, freshman in business, said.

Wietharn said his tax return will help him be a little less tight with his budget, and he plans to put it toward food and other things he might need.

Having that extra money may also help students make the necessary purchases without breaking the bank.

Sarah Whitmore, senior in early childhood education, said she used part of her tax return to buy a new, much-needed bed. Though she has not decided what she is doing with the rest of the money, Whitmore said she is saving it for future necessities.

“Saving it is pretty boring,” Whitmore said. “It’s what I did, but it’s not fun.”

Sometimes, however, the things that really need to get paid for are not fun. Jarred Collom, freshman in construction science, said he had to use his tax return to pay for a speeding ticket he received shortly before getting his tax return.

Collom said he wishes he had been able to spend his tax return “on anything but that.”

When it comes to spending, a 2014 survey by Edward Jones found that only 8 percent of people plan to use their tax return for something like food or entertainment. This is compared to the more than 50 percent of people who plan on spending their returns to pay for necessities like bills or household expenses, according to Linn’s article.

The survey also found that about 30 percent of people choose to save their tax returns instead, while about 8 percent plan on investing the extra money.

“Don’t blow (tax returns) on things that don’t really matter, things that you don’t really need,” Whitmore said.

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