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How should you spend your tax refund?

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(KYTX) -- A majority of Americans will get a tax refund this year, but how you use it counts. You want it to help, not hurt, your financial goals. CBS19's Jaime Gerik shares what people are doing with their refunds, and how to put yours to good use.

One Tyler mom already has her tax refund in the bank, and has planned out how to spend it.

"I have a few credit cards I'm going to pay off, a loan, and then I'm going to pay additional on my mortgage," Brandi Ishmael said.

She's holding off on a shopping spree to put her family first, and cut down on debt.

"I'm having to work two jobs, so the more I get paid off, the more time I'll be able to spend with my kids and not focus on working so much," Ishmael said. 

A recent survey by Fidelity finds a lot of Americans are like Ishmael. 33 percent of respondents say they are paying off debt, and 15 percent are saving it for retirement.

"This is the time of year a lot of people find themselves with a substantial tax refund and we get a lot of questions on what do I do with this?" Kearby Herrington, a financial planner with the Feliciano Financial Group, said.

Herrington says any short-term debt you've racked up should be the first to go--especially credit card bills. 

"If you're just paying the interest, you can extend debt well beyond double what you borrowed, maybe even triple. So it's something to be aware of," Herrington said.

If you have anything leftover, Herrington advises you to beef up your emergency fund and next your retirement savings account.

 "Really it's about looking at what's important to you, goals you have financially and where are you as far as meeting those goals," Herrington said.

About 75% of Americans expect to get a kickback this year. The deadline to file your taxes is April 15th.

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