THERE is no joy for Coffs Coast retailers in the findings of a recent survey about how people will spend their tax refunds.
According to non-bank mortgage provider Homeloans Ltd, more than half (52%) of all Australians who expect to receive a refund this year will use it to pay off debt.
With economic concerns and the rising cost of living cited as the main motivators, 21% of budget conscious Australians plan to save their refund for a rainy day.
Of those 25% who plan to spend their refund, only 10% will buy something for themselves.
Homeloans National marketing manager Will Keall said the survey found that paying off bills is the number one priority.
"A tax refund is often seen as free money, which makes it very tempting to spend right away," Kealls said.
"However, it's important to remember that the refund you're getting back is your own money. Tax season is a good opportunity for people to plan ahead, with an eye toward their future goals and financial health."
Mr Keall said the survey also revealed that an overwhelming eight in 10 Australians (80%) are today more cautious with money than they have been in previous years.
"Despite the relative strength of the Australian economy, international economic uncertainty coupled with the rising cost of living is having a major impact on our spending habits," he said.
"Many of our survey respondents also had very real concerns about their job security, with redundancies already making an impact in certain employment sectors.
"Reducing personal and household debt is therefore a major priority.
"For many consumers and homeowners, it's time to batten down the hatches."