NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- If you're getting a tax return, there's no law that demands you spend it on a trip to Bermuda or for a new set of Ping golf clubs.
TD Ameritrade reports that 61% of Americans say they will either save or invest their tax refund. Another 21% will pay off debt, and 18% say they will use the money to buy "necessities.'
(Taxpayers, by the way, have their own ideas on how the government should spend tax revenues, with 41% favoring spending on education, and 33% saying they want their tax money to go to job creation.)
If you do get a tax refund, you may be better off adjusting your paycheck withholdings so you, and not the federal government, get more use of your money.
"It's encouraging to see that so many Americans have plans to save or invest their refund money," says Lule Demmissie, a managing director at TD Ameritrade. "But, there is one lesson some of them could learn, especially those in Generation Y: Rather than giving Uncle Sam extra money throughout the year, they may want to consider adjusting their withholdings so they have that money to invest throughout the year. A small increase in the amount you invest monthly can add up over time."
If that doesn't work for you, and you want the refund anyway, there are some creative ways you can play "catch-up" with your savings and investing.