Did you get a smaller tax refund this year? If so, you’re not alone . However, the average tax refund this year was still a good $3,000. Whether your refund is more, less, or about what you expected, the key is to make the best use of it. Here are some options to consider in general order of priority: 1) Get caught up on old bills. For many of the people we talk to on our financial coaching line, a tax refund can be a lifeline to get caught up on overdue mortgage payments and other bills.