Think about how you can best utilise your tax return

WHILE a tax return can be a boost for your summer holiday budget or contribution to a big-ticket item you've been eyeing off, it is important to remember it is money you have worked hard for throughout the year.

So before you book in a spending spree, consider how your refund could deliver you long-term benefits.

Perhaps you put this extra money to good use by incorporating it into your household budget to help you get ahead.

By paying down your credit card bill or making additional payments on your mortgage or personal loan, you will save money by decreasing the amount of interest you pay.

Another option to stretch it further is depositing the lump sum into a high interest savings account and watching your money grow with the power of compound interest.

While this might mean your money is harder to access, it will help ensure you don't get tempted to dip in. Some accounts even reward you with higher interest if you make regular deposits.

If lodging your return yourself, why not search for lost super accounts and consolidate your funds while you're on the website. Superannuation can be one of the largest assets we own, and if you have more than one super account there's a high chance you're paying unnecessary fees. You could even use your refund to make an after-tax contribution to boost the amount of money you have to retire on.

One of the most common traps for people is overestimating and overspending the refund before it is returned. Try to avoid making purchases before you have the confirmed amount in your bank account or hold the cheque in your hands.

Whether you use your tax refund to save for a holiday, put it towards buying your first home, invest it or just pay down a few debts, why not make this the financial year to commit to your goals and make the most of your money.

By Suncorp Bank executive general manager, stores and speciality banking, Lynne Sutherland

For all of your banking needs, visit your nearest Suncorp Bank branch or phone 131 175.

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