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Personal Finance > Credit & Debt

Find $10/day: Change your withholding
Tax refunds are really just repaid interest-free loans you gave to Uncle Sam. Don't be so generous.
September 24, 2004: 3:20 PM EDT
By Jean Chatzky, MONEY Magazine

• Reduce your credit card rates
• Refinance your mortgage
• Consolidate your student loans
• Refinance your car loan
• Get rid of mortgage insurance
• Change your withholding

NEW YORK (MONEY Magazine) - Did you get a tax refund last year? Do you seem to get one every year?

You may love the thought of getting a nice fat check to brighten up your winter or spring, but you should not be giving Uncle Sam an interest-free loan. (If the shoe were on the other foot, the government wouldn't give you one.)

Bottom line: It's your money, and you should be getting any gains from investing it or using it to pay down debt.

So figure out how much you'd benefit by increasing the number of deductions on your W-4 form. The Internal Revenue Service offers an interactive withholding allowance calculator at the agency's Web site.

Unless you're positive that you would save the extra money in your paycheck, you're better off applying it toward your debt throughout the year with automatic monthly payments.

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