Not sure what to do with that stimulus payment or tax return? Before you spend it all in one place, take the time to consider your financial goals. An extra check you didn’t account for can go a long way when it comes to saving or paying down bills.

Saving can be tough when you are living paycheck to paycheck. Allocating some of your stimulus or tax return to a savings account can make it a little easier. When choosing a savings account, try finding one that earns dividends, like Sikorsky Credit Union’s free Kasasa Saver. Knowing you have a healthy savings account is helpful when there is something you need or want. You could also consider putting some money into a college fund for your children or your retirement account.

Emergency Fund
Do you have an emergency fund? The unexpected can happen, whether that be a car or home repair or an emergency medical situation. Would you have the funds available to pay for these things? Starting an emergency fund with your stimulus or tax return is a great way to ensure you are prepared for the future. It is recommended that an emergency fund have three to six months of living expenses saved, but don’t let this discourage you, start small. All emergency funds have to start somewhere.

Pay Down Bills
If large account balances are hurting your wallet, try paying some of it down. It may not be fun to spend your payment or refund on this type of thing, but it will help put more money back in your wallet in the long run. This is a great way to get some momentum going too, if you can pay a larger amount down with that extra money, it may be easier to dedicate smaller amounts monthly. Try starting with the account with the smallest balance, this one will be easiest and fastest to pay off and go from there.

Make Home Improvements
One thing is for certain when you are a homeowner, there is always something to be done. Maybe it’s something small like a fresh coat of paint, or something larger like new flooring. Let’s face it, we are all spending more time at home lately so keeping your home in tip top shape will make your happier while you are there. Keeping your home updated is also a good way to ensure you get the most you can if you ever go to sell your home.