Tax return season is upon us. For many people, that means a little financial boost to help pay off bills or go towards a savings goal. But for others, a tax refund can seem like ‘free money’ and lead some to gamble – and risk losing – it all.
Financial counsellor Annette from Bethany Community Support in Geelong, says the best way to avoid this happening is to have a specific financial goal that your tax refund can go towards. Her top tips are listed below.
- Plan how you will use your tax refund, commit to it and, ideally, set up a scheduled transfer to make it happen. The money might go to bills, car registration or any other upcoming expenses.
- Set a realistic savings goal to put your refund towards, like a holiday or clothes.
- Give your debit or credit card to someone you trust for safekeeping until after your scheduled transfers have been completed.
- Nominate a different bank account to receive your tax refund – one that you don’t regularly access.
- Turn on your bank’s gambling block options so your accounts can’t be used for gambling transactions.
- Call your bank before the refund reaches your account to reduce your daily spend and/or withdrawal limits.
- Talk to someone you trust about your financial goals for your tax refund and ask them to check in with you to help you stay on track.
If you do feel tempted to gamble your tax refund, take a moment to pause and focus on something else immediately, call a trusted support person, or remind yourself of your financial goals.
Learn more about financial counselling. If you think you might benefit from talking to someone about your gambling, Gambler’s Help services are free, confidential and available 24/7, even during the COVID-19 restrictions. Call 1800 858 858.