For years, I loved to get a tax refund. In fact, it seemed the only way I could save was by having extra withheld from my paycheck so that I’d get a big refund at the end of the year. Using this method, I was able to buy a new computer, a new bike, and all sorts of other toys. (But, of course, I was never smart enough to use the money to pay down debt.)

I’m older and wiser now, and I prefer not to get a tax refund. I’d rather get my money up front so I can tuck it in a high-interest savings account. This gives me an extra boost toward my goals.

But let me be clear: I certainly don’t begrudge others who do choose to get a refund. Some folks are happy to let the government use their money for a year, and others are like I used to be, using the refund as a means of forced saving. That’s fine.

If you have a refund due this year and you’re getting antsy for it, you can easily check its status with this simple web-based tool from the IRS web site. You’ll need to provide your social security number, marital status, and exact refund amount in order for your request to be processed or you can easily take a quick look on fivecentnickel.com
federal income taxes
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If you’ve always received a refund but want to see if you now have the discipline to save on your own, consider adjusting your W-4 so that less is withheld from your paycheck. (The IRS withholding calculator can help you calculate how much you should have withheld.) This will, in essence, spread your refund out over the course of a year. If you have the discipline to use this money wisely, you’ll have use of it much earlier than if you had waited for a refund.

This article is about Money Hacks, Taxes, Tools