MINNEAPOLIS - The IRS tax return checks roll off the presses, direct deposits replenish bank accounts and it can certainly feel good to be a taxpaying citizen.

"I know it can feel like a bonus. I know it feels good, sometimes it's the biggest chunk of money people get all year," said adviser Skip Johnson, Great Waters Financial.

Johnson said the average refund last year was $2,700 and he has a bit of advice about what to do with it.

"What I suggest is do the math. This is money that came out of your paycheck all year round, so treat it like a paycheck," said Johnson.

But before you go out and blow it, Johnson said it may help to calculate just how long it would take for you to earn it. Coming from that perspective, he said you might think differently about how you go out and spend it.

"If you took that money and applied it to a credit card with a 20 percent interest rate, it would save $500 just in interest this year," Johnson explained.

That's just the start of making that tax return work for you. Paying off debt and keeping it off is a good way to join the right side of the compound interest club.

"Albert Einstein said years ago that the 8th wonder of the world is compound interest, so if we can get on the right side of that," said Johnson. "Put away money early and let it work on our behalf in our favor."

For example, let's take that $2,700 from this year and say there's another $2,700 next and $2,700 the year after that, in just three years that's $8,100 without interest added and for somebody who doesn't normally save.

"There's never been anybody that says I regret having put that money away. It's usually the voice of regret saying I wish I would have started earlier," smiled Johnson.

College Savings plans, home repairs, holiday and back to school shopping preparation, while that refund may be burning a hole in your pocket, there are plenty of ways to prevent yourself from getting burned.