Featured Image To jump start your savings, here are some ideas about how to use a tax refund or bonus for startup money. Even if you can’t save it all, try to save at least half. Having specific goals before you get your refund will help set yourself up for better savings success. Create, or add to, your emergency savings fund. It’s important to have ample savings funds set aside so you don’t always have to go into debt for emergency expenses or in a period of financial uncertainty. Consider opening a separate savings account to avoid dipping into it for regular expenses. A systematic, automated savings plan will help you get started and keep saving. Pay down high-interest loans and credit cards. It’s best to have at least some emergency savings first. Then paying down debts will help you save on interest and have more control over your finances. Start a separate savings account for vacations or holidays. Start planning and putting money aside now for your next year. You will be more able to enjoy those special events knowing that you already have the money saved. Open, or contribute to, an Individual Retirement Account (IRA). Give a boost to your retirement savings. Visit Retirement Central to use planning tools to compare Traditional and Roth IRAs, determine your eligibility to make contributions and open an IRA. Make an investment. There’s no such thing as “too little” money when it comes to investing. It’s just a matter of finding the right investment tool for the amount you have to invest, how much risk you feel comfortable taking, and when you need to be able to access that money. Open, or add to, a child’s college savings fund. The money will grow to help you achieve a personal goal of sending your child or grandchild to college. As you continue add to your accounts, you'll gain more peace of mind. See Savings Strategies to get more ideas about how to keep saving through the year.