What Are You Going To Use Your Tax Refund For This Year? 28% Say "To Pay Off Debt"

The comparison shopping website PriceGrabber.com just completed its “what are you going to do with your tax refund?” survey for the second year in a row, and not surprisingly there are some notable differences between last April and now. The biggest change is among those who plan to spend the money: it was 44.0% in 2008, but only 29.2% this year.

That’s probably because fewer respondents are receiving refunds this year. In 2008, 20.0% said they did not receive a refund, while this year 33.9% said they didn’t. It’s also probably because 56.74% agreed with the statement, “I have made a concerted effort to cut back in the past few months because of the weakening U.S. economy,” compared to doing nothing or saying that they save money regardless.

PriceGrabber also asked those who are spending their refunds just what they plan to spend them on. Here were the responses:

[Update: Oh dear lord, are some of you on crack? Every time we post anything about a survey, the anti-survey crowd comes out. Yes, of *course* they asked if you were going to save your refund—what do you think is implied by only 29.2% saying they plan on spending it?—but that's not what this post is about. However, in an attempt to prevent the comments from being derailed by the "where's the savings option?" crowd, here's another chart.]


Note: Whenever we post survey stuff like this, a lot of you ask for details about how the survey was constructed. We’re one step ahead of you this time—we asked for the same info, and here it is.

2009 Tax Rebate Survey Methodology

For the 2009 PriceGrabber.com Tax Rebate Survey conducted between April 7, 2009 and April 22, 2009, PriceGrabber.com designed and fielded a Web survey to reach each consumer who recently made an online purchase from one of our 13,000 retailers and sellers. After completing an online purchase, each online consumer received an email confirmation, which included the URL to the Web-based survey. Of a total of 359,233 US online consumers invited to take the survey between April 7, 2009 and April 22, 2009, up to 1,574 adequately completed the survey. The online survey was comprised of 7 close-ended questions. Respondents were asked about their plans for their tax refund money, their situation in the current state of the economy, and additional demographic data.

The sample set reflects the online consumer population by age, gender, neighborhood type and total income level over the 15 days the survey was administered. Of the total respondents that opened the survey, 86.5% completed the survey and 13.5% partially completed the survey. The final 1,574 respondents used in this study were controlled for quality. Respondents that incorrectly answered a trick question and/or completed the survey considerably faster than the average respondent speed were removed from the sample set. The maximum sampling error for the survey data based on the sample of 1,574 respondents is +/- 3 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.

(Photo: NickStarr)