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OSU Extension

College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Sciences

March 15, 2023 - 1:08pm --

I was at a meeting recently where some interesting research was shared.  In essence, Duke University and the company that makes a tax program reached out to more than 900,000 individuals concerning their tax refund.  They included a motivational message or suggestion to save part of your tax refund this year.  This group of tax filers deposited almost $6 million more into savings accounts than they would have and at least one fourth were able to save their refund for at least six months.  So, here’s the reminder message for all of us: don’t forget to save some of your tax refund this year to help you reach your goals and have a safety net.  In reviewing your other financial goals for this year, ask how much money do you hope to save?  How are you going to save to reach that goal?  What spending is going to be limited in order to reach that goal?  A tip to get you started might be to put a note in your wallet to ask the question “will this spending help me reach my goals”?  In other words, do I really need this, or is this the right time to spend this money?

Where do you keep important papers? Are they safe?

In the home ownership class this week, we asked this question, “Where do you file all of your important papers?”. A systematic method of keeping track of your important papers is essential.  Whether it’s recovering from a disaster or just documentation for other life events, we all need to be able to quickly locate valuable documents.  Here are some suggestions to consider:

  • How difficult will it be to replace this document?  Valuable papers that could be difficult to replace are ideally kept in a safe deposit box or a fire-proof, waterproof home safe or lock box.  Maybe consider making copies and keeping them with a trusted friend or relative.
  • Electronically stored records should be legible and accessible for the period of limitations required.  Remember to make a back-up in case the computer is disposed of.
  • It’s not a bad idea to have copies stored in a notebook or on a jump drive that you could grab and go if your home is threatened with a natural disaster.
  • Keep a current household inventory.  It will help you determine if you have enough insurance to cover the contents of your home, and the value of damaged or destroyed possessions for insurance or tax deduction purposes.
  • Regardless of how the information is stored, we must go through and update or review items on a regular basis. Usually, tax time is a good time to do that. As you are getting things together you can review other files as well.
  • Be careful how you destroy old files with the threat of identity theft.  Shred, or burn, anything that might have your name, address, social security number, debit or credit card numbers on it. 

These are just a few reminders for us all to consider. If you have questions, please give me a call at 330-264-8722.

Melinda Hill is an OSU Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Educator and may be reached at 330-264-8722 or
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This article was previously published in The Daily Record.