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A new survey by the National Retail Federation (NRF) suggests that if consumers get a tax refund this year, the likelihood exists that they will use it responsibly. Forty-nine percent of those polled said they'd use their refund to pay down debt, and 37 percent said they would put the money into savings. About 27 percent of those polled said that they'd use the money for everyday expenses.

Only about 12 percent said they'd use a refund for a major purchase such a big screen television, and another 12 percent said they'd use it to fund a vacation.

While all these numbers add up to more than 100 percent, it is because people were able to indicate more than a single use for their refund checks.
KC's View:
Of course, it occurs to us that by using the word "responsibly" in the headline, we're suggesting that to use the money to buy stuff would be irresponsible - and retailers might disagree with that notion. (So might politicians who would like the economy to start cooking.)

But speaking from the consumer perspective, retiring debt seems like the best way to go. It allows autonomy.