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Florida residents urged to save and cut back spending

What will you do with your tax return when it arrives? You may be tempted to spend it, but if you're like at least three quarters of South Floridians (according to a poll by dealnews.com), you'll be using your tax refund to pay down the balances from credit cards and other debt, or adding it to your savings account. With $2,803 being the average tax refund in 2012, your refund has the potential to make quite a dent in either your credit card debt or your savings plan - maybe even both.

Financial experts say many Florida residents may already be taking advantage of their tax returns for this purpose. The average consumer credit card balance dropped 12 percent in January, compared to this time last year. The recession, which has caused lingering financial challenges for millions of people, may be a major motivator in getting people to make wiser choices with their tax returns and other forms of large income.

A Plantation certified financial planner says in order to avoid continued problems with consumer debt and creditor harassment, it's vital for Americans to know exactly where their household money is going. Finding new ways to cut back expenses is always a smart way to end up with additional monthly income, as well as secure your emergency savings or retirement plans.

The U.S. Census Bureau reports Broward, Miami-Dade and Palm Beach counties spent an average of $6,138 in 2010 and 2011; the financial planner has offered a tip to try to cut that spending in half to result in even more savings. These are still difficult times for millions of people. Saving money and cutting back on spending are good ways to get out of financial pitfalls. It may also help to speak with a bankruptcy attorney about other options.

Source: Sun Sentinel, "How average South Florida folks can cut $3,000 more from budgets," Donna Gehrke-White, Mar. 6, 2013

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