The average tax payer gets a refund of $2,700 which is no small chunk of change. But before you blow it on one big splurge, consider some “responsible” things you could do. We call up Holly Perez, the consumer money expert at Mint.com to ask her ways to spend your refund wisely while still having fun.

Treat it like a big, fat raise
“So many people in America are living paycheck to paycheck and having a hard time making ends meet, so seeing that this could be the biggest paycheck they see all year, our advice is to not blow it,” Perez says. Instead of thinking of it as free money, Perez suggests tax payers think of it as a raise and use it to get rid of some of the financial stressors in their life. “That could be anything from paying down a credit card, student loans or investing it toward a college fund for your kids,” she says.

Start an emergency fund
Being faced with an unexpected expense, like a medical bill or car breaking down, can be overwhelmingly stressful. Perez suggests getting rid of that anxiety before it occurs by using your refund to start or pad your emergency fund: “A lot of people don’t have a basic emergency fund to cover these expenses, so this can really give you a better financial footing.”

Make a ‘pleasure purchase’
To help satisfy that craving of wanting to buy something fun with your check from Uncle Sam, Perez suggests making a “pleasure purchase,” a.k.a. something fun and practical. “It can actually help offset some of your costs going forward,” she says. “For example, if you’re the type of person who spends a lot of money buying coffee, putting some of your refund money toward a kickass coffee marker could help you save money [in the long run].”

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