Saving money each month toward a long-term goal is increasingly difficult for most people. Even committed savers can get thrown off track when unexpected problems or opportunities arise. It can be difficult to envision how $200 a month can add up to a new home; the dream of homeownership continues to get pushed back in favor of more immediate needs. For many of these potential homebuyers, their tax refund can be a big step forward in their saving goals. Received in a lump sum, a tax refund is easier to see as a meaningful dollar amount. The average IRS refund in 2019 was almost $3,000. This, added to an already growing savings account, can be a great bonus. In addition to adding to your down payment fund, a tax refund can also be used to increase your credit score. Debt accumulation and use is the largest factor in determining a borrower’s credit score (FICO). A low FICO score can result in thousands of extra dollars in interest and origination fees when getting a home loan. Working with a lender, strategically reducing the debt ratio can add borrowing power to a potential buyer; lowering the cost of the loan and allowing more of the monthly payment to go toward the home itself instead of interest. It’s tax refund time. Before you head to the electronics store to put that money toward a bigger TV, consider how your tax refund can help you achieve your homeownership goals.