DALLAS By now, many families throughout our region have already received their tax refunds. The big question for many of us: what should we do with it?

Before you plan that shopping spree or contemplate that non-essential wish list item, I have five suggestions that will hopefully save you more in the long run.

Top 5 Ways To Use Your Tax Refund

1. Lighten Your Debt or Invest In Your Retirement: Lightening debt, decreasing the amount of money you owe, paying off a credit card bill or investing in your retirement is the ultimate and most beneficial way to use your tax refund.

2. Save Your Money With A Bonus: If you're not happy with your bank or tired of the constant fees, consider a re-loadable prepaid account. My favorite program is from American Express Serve. There is no credit check, no hidden fees and no minimum balance required. Bonuses include a $50 direct deposit credit, a federal tax refund $20 credit and options to add cash for free across 15,000 CVS and 7-Eleven Locations. CLICK HERE for find out more.

3. Get A Gift Card: It may sounds like a strange suggestion but if you have cash you need to spend, buy a gift card through a card-seller like Cardpool and get as much as a 35% bonus on gift card purchases. You can easily find a gift card from your favorite retailer by clicking here.

4. Schedule Preventative Car Maintenance: It's been a brutal winter. Considering many car-owners only focus on absolutely essential maintenance, this could be a good time to have some more thorough work done - especially with the potholes plaguing many of our commutes.

5. Get A Home Energy Audit: The thought of spending money to have a professional determine where your home could be more efficient may sound absurd but this could easily save you hundreds of dollars per year. Upfront costs of around $100 for an assessment seem far more accessible if a fraction of a tax refund is used.

Looking for more money-saving information or deals? Follow @MattGranite on Twitter.

We do not receive any financial compensation for mentioning any product, company or service. The only purpose of this segment is to save you money.

Read or Share this story: