Tax Refund Spending: Debt Reduction, Saving Top Priorities in 2013


Mar 07, 2013, 08:00 ET from

DENVER, March 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- (, the largest coupon and cash back search engine used by up to 19 million consumers each month, today released the results of its BuyHavior Report: Tax Refund Edition.   A recent[1] survey commissioned by and conducted online by Harris Interactive of 2,219 adults age 18 and over, found the biggest indicators affecting tax refund saving are education and income level.  Of those whose total household income is $75,000 annually or greater, 41 percent indicated they have used, or will use, their tax refund this year to pay down their debt and 35 percent indicated they have/will save some of it.  Only 28 percent of those with a total household income of less than $35,000 annually said they would save a portion of their refund.


These results follow recent data findings gathered by indicating that more affluent consumers are showing an increased interest in saving[2]. Since the beginning of the year, the site has seen an influx of consumers searching for coupon terms for higher-end merchants and discretionary income purchases -- as much as a 30 percent increase for some merchants. (This increase is not being experienced by big box and thrifty merchants.)

"We believe that the influx in savings interest among wealthy consumers may indicate growing concerns about the economy and a recession relapse among our more affluent customers," said Marc Braunstein, CEO, "This seems to be echoed by our findings from the Harris-conducted study as we compare plans for impulse and luxury purchases to those who plan to devote tax dollars to immediate needs, such as debt and bills."

More interesting statistics around the major differences in refund spending plans include:

  • Consumers with lower total household incomes (less than $35,000 annually) who expect to, or have already received a tax refund, are spending it. 29 percent of this group indicated they plan to use their refund to shop, while just 9 percent plan to invest it. Comparatively, 17 percent of those with higher total household incomes (more than $75,000 annually) plan to use the money to shop, while 22 percent plan to invest.
  • However, nearly one-fifth of both groups with the highest (18 percent) and lowest (17 percent) household incomes who are expecting, or have already received, a tax refund say they are not concerned with making them last longer.
  • Refund plans among men and women expecting or who have received a refund were fairly similar, except in one area – investments.  20 percent of males plan to invest a portion of their refund, compared to just 10 percent of females.
  • Of those expecting, or who have already received, a refund, 40 percent of those with an education level of high school or less plan to save part of their refund, compared to 49 percent of those with a college degree or higher education.
  • Among all Americans, of those with a total household income of $50,000 annually or more, 30 percent have used coupons to help stretch their tax refund dollars further.

Survey Methodology
This survey was conducted online within the United States by Harris Interactive on behalf of from February 28-March 4, 2013 among 2,219 adults ages 18 and older. This online survey is not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Miranda Coykendall at

Founded in 1986 by husband-and-wife team Marc and Claudia Braunstein, is the web's largest provider of online coupons, Cash Back rewards and printable grocery and restaurant coupons. The only destination integrating the best discounts from coupons, deals and Cash Back, the site has evolved from its early roots as the 'Catalog of Catalogs'. Throughout this transformation, the company has kept the same goal – helping improve the shopping experience for millions of shoppers. As a true coupon powerhouse, aims to provide the most savings to consumers whether they're shopping at the grocery store or at their favorite online retailer. For more information visit

[1] February 28 through March 4, 2013
[2] When comparing site search terms from January 1stFebruary 28th, 2013 to November 1stDecember 30th, 2012.

Miranda Coykendall
Schwartz MSL