A tax refund is always a welcome bonus. Whether it's $300 or $3,000, the way you use that money can have a real impact on your personal and financial well-being. Tax refund dollars should not be considered free money or a gift. Your refund dollars have been earned, taxed and provided by you to the government as a no-interest loan.
Before you spend your tax refund, try to think through all the options - even the ones that aren't especially exciting or glamorous.
Do plan ahead before spending your refund. Without a plan, you might use the money on the first important thing that comes to mind and then later realize something else was more important. Planning ahead and involving the family increases the chances you will identify all the possibilities and think about which are most important.
Review what you owe. Check outstanding bills and prioritize payments. For example, pay past due rent or house payments, utility, medical bills, etc. If you can't pay them all, pay what you can and negotiate a payment plan.