Smart uses for your tax rebate check.

What should you do with your $300, $600, or bigger rebate check coming this summer? We found the best advice from around the web on what to do with your money.

The most important thing to remember? Be smart about it. Don’t waste an opportunity. We know the government wants you to spend your rebate to “stimulate” the economy, but there are smarter things to do with the money – especially in these tough economic times.

Pay down debt: “Using the money to cut your debt can be a win-win both for you and for credit card issuers…In a slowing economy, the last thing you want to do is overextend yourself.” (

Save for a rainy day: “The money is there in an emergency, but since you can’t just empty it out by writing a series of little checks you’re less likely to touch it. The standard rule of thumb is to sock away three to six months of living expenses. So start with your refund and take it from there.” (

Service your car: “If you’ve been putting off that oil change and tune-up because you just didn’t have the money — this is the time. And check the tires. Extra bonus: A well-maintained car with properly inflated tires burns less gas and saves you money in the long run.” (

Pay toward a retirement IRA or college savings account, or see an attorney to draft wills and other needed estate planning documents. ( Call American 1’s Member Relations department for more info on this point.

Make home improvements: “Putting your tax rebate money toward such improvements as lighting, painting and electrical repairs can produce over 100% returns on their cost when it comes time to sell, making this a good place to spend the tax rebate.” (

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