COLUMBUS, Ohio (WTVN) -- The average federal tax refund is $3,034. That's an increase of about 3 percent last year.
For those taxpayers who do get a refund this year, there's the impulse to spend it on a tropical vacation or shopping spree, but Jim Kunk with Huntington Bank suggests you resist that urge and do something smarter with the money.
Kunk's first suggestion is to have a rainy day fund on hand.
"A rainy day fund to us would be that you at least have three months worth of salary on hand for an emergency," he said.
Another option is to put the money into a Roth IRA for the 2014 tax year. A 35-year old who invests $2,500 annually would have about $210,000 by age 65.
Kunk's suggestion is different for college students. He thinks they should try and knock out some of their student loan debt.
"I think it's 7 out of 10 carry significant debt. I think the average is $29,000 so I would tell them to start to pay down some of that college debt."
Another option is to take a chunk out of your mortgage.
"A little bit on a mortgage, bringing the principal down, makes a big difference in the long-run," he said.
Setting aside just $1,200 of your annual refund to pay an extra $100 every month on a 30-year, $100,000 mortgage at a 4.5 percent annual interest rate would result in more than $26,000 in total savings and pay off the loan in less than 22 years. A refund can also help pay for a down-payment on a mortgage for would-be home buyers.