By Dorothy Tucker

CHICAGO (CBS) — The average tax refund will be close to $3,000.

The advice from financial experts?

Don’t blow it like you’ve just won the lottery.

Instead, CBS 2 Cost Cutter Dorothy Tucker has five financially smart things to do with that windfall.

The most important bill to pay with your refund?

Your credit card.

“Whichever credit card has the highest interest rate, start there and pay that card first,” says Forum Financial Management’s Jonathan Rogers.

He says there’s an advantage to paying off your credit card.

“You save a lot of money and interest,” he adds.

For example, if you owe $2,500 on a card with a 15 percent interest rate, pay it off.

You would save more than $1,000 in interest over eight years.

Experts say start or contribute to your children’s education fund.

Invest in your retirement or create an emergency fund.

But financial expert Andrew Schrage said not everyone is opting to save.

“Suprisingly 63 percent of Americans don’t have enough money to withstand a $500 emergency. Maybe there’s a health issue that arises or some damage to your car,” Schrage explains. “Be prepared for these instances coming up in the future.”

And while saving is important, splurging a little is okay, too.

“Do treat yourself to 15 to 20 percent of whatever that refund might be,” Rogers said.

Another way to spend any money left over is to donate to your favorite charity.

Your contribution could still be tax deductible.

Dorothy Tucker