Many will use tax returns to pay down debt

One side effect of the recent recession that may be regarded positively is that it largely forced consumers to be more careful about the way they spend, save, and generally manage their money, and that trend is being reflected in the way Americans plan to use their tax returns.

More Americans are planning to put the proceeds from their tax returns either into savings or toward reducing their outstanding debts this year, according to a new survey from the National Retail Federation. In all, 43.8 percent say that money will be applied to savings, and 39.4 percent will use it to pay down outstanding debts.

These increases are hardly surprising, as consumers have been trending toward more conscientious efforts to save money during the last two years, and should provide an economic boost for both consumers and businesses in the long run as well, the report said.

Reducing debt is a great way for consumers to improve their finances, but equally important is to ensure that credit reports contain fair, accurate, and substantiated data. By checking their credit reports regularly, consumers will be able to better protect their credit scores and financial reputations.