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5/20/2013 - Tax refunds being devoted to savings and debt this year

More consumers appear to be putting their tax returns into their bank accounts.

As tax season comes to a close, a new poll indicates that Americans will be doing what perhaps is the most fundamental component of improving one's monetary status - devoting their tax refund to savings.

According to the poll, which was conducted by American Consumer Credit Counseling, nearly 50% of respondents said that they will use this year's tax refund to either pay down their debt or commit it to some of their savings goals, with more than one in every four indicating that they'll put their reimbursement directly into an emergency account.

Steve Trumble, ACCC president and CEO, noted that while some people may want to spend their newfound earnings on something they've long wanted, responsible consumers know when it's important to put those purchases off for another day when money is tight.

"Tax refunds provide consumers with a financial opportunity to make a step in the right direction and these results indicate that consumers are doing just that," said Trumble.

He added that for those who have expenses to pay off, paying down debt is the "single most important financial action" that they can take to secure a promising future that's based on sound monetary decisions.

Consumers look to improve value of homes through renovation
Experts say that as long as debt is paid off and people are on pace with their savings goals, another smart action to take is improving the overall look of their properties in order to add to its value. And thanks to the real estate market being in the condition that it's in, a considerable number of homeowners say they intend to do just that.

Remodeling firm Houzz notes that based on its own polling data, nearly 60% of residential homeowners intend to remodel their home within the next two years. Also pointing toward consumers' desire to be more financially thrifty, one-third of respondents said that they plan to make their homes more energy efficient when they renovate their places so that they can lower their utility bills.

When it comes to the rooms that they hope to do over, most consumers say that they'll either refurbish their kitchen or bathroom, according to the Houzz survey. Doing so can result in significant dividends for people looking to get the most bang for their buck. According to This Old House Magazine, a minor kitchen remodeling project averages a return on investment of 87% more than what the project cost to complete.

Meanwhile, what frequently doesn't have a very good ROI is having a swimming pool installed. The home improvement magazine notes that because they can be costly to maintain and because people rarely spend more for a property just because it has a swimming pool, these hardly ever are worth the cost.

Homeowners are advised to ensure that they get in contact with their homeowners insurance provider to go over some of the ramifications that can result from home makeovers. Policyholders may be able to lower their premiums depending on the additions that are installed and the liability that's attached.

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