Check out some of this year’s lucky $100 winners!

We asked SaveYourRefund winners why they save, and here’s what they said:

Esmeralda cares deeply about her children’s future. This year, when Esmeralda filed her taxes, she purchased a savings bond for her seven-year-old son.

“Education is expensive, so I hope to leave a cushion for my son when he grows up and wants to go to college. I just save for his future.”

Esmeralda has been filing her taxes with Prepare + Prosper (P+P) since 2004. She loves the service. 

“They do all the work for me and they are really nice.”

When she files her taxes at P+P, the volunteer helps her claim the Earned Income Tax Credit and Working Family Credit because of her income and family size.

“When people talk about taxes, I smile because I’ve always
gotten a refund and can pay my bills.”

Esmeralda relies on her tax refund to pay off outstanding bills, among which her student loan
causes a lot of stress. She keeps track of her budget in her notebook, with records of incoming money, expenditures, remaining money, regular bills and long-term bills.“When I pay off a bill, I cross it off from the list and mark paid. Look, I’m almost free!”

She tries to break up the larger debts so they are not as terrifying and she will work on them gradually. Recently, Esmeralda started working on paying off her student loan debt.

This year, Esmeralda will have an extra $100 because she is a SaveYourRefund Contest winner. SaveYourRefund is a national tax-time savings promotion offering taxpayers an incentive to save part of their federal refund.  Each week taxpayers who deposit part of their refund in a savings

She has never won anything before, so she is really excited and will hold on the money to help her with her next student loan payment.

–Esmeralda, Prepare + Prosper              



“I’m a 50 year old woman who has been raising my children since I was 15 years old and working at the same non-profit for over 14 years.  My youngest daughter just turned 18 and I finally find myself in a position where, with some credit repair and savings, I can purchase my first home.  That’s the goal, home purchase!

The $100 I won from this awesome savings contest is just a little more I can put towards that goal.”

— Shelle Austin, United Way Suncoast








“I heard about this VITA site on a flyer a long time ago. This is my third time at the Lion Creek Crossings VITA site. I make conscious financial decisions and always like to save. My future financial goal is a house so I like putting some money into my piggy bank.”

— Elsa Yanez, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation





“I saved a portion of my refund to put a aside for a future house purchase. It was very easy to complete and staff helped me through the process.”

— Ciara Alvarez Cruz, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties




“I have decided to put a little money into a savings fund to better my living situation.  My savings goal is to save up for a new vehicle as soon as I can, and in 3-5 years a home for me and my 3 children – I do everything positive for them.”

— Amber Summers, Community Action Partnership of Lancaster and Saunders Counties





“I graduated from technical school in the summer and started my first job. This was my first time filing taxes and was referred to United Way’s VITA site. I know how important it is to have money set aside because I see people around me who have not handled their money wisely and are now struggling financially. I am fortunate enough to still live at home and able to deposit most of my paycheck into my savings. I’m saving to purchase a more reliable car to get me back and forth to work.  The $100 has been added to my savings goal.”

— Michael Conover, United Way of Northern New Jersey






“We chose to save at tax time because we want to make smarter choices with our money now that we have two small children.”

— Taryn and Justin Dupuis, CASH Coalition of SENH / Rockingham Community Action









“I choose to save because I wanted to get started on my daughter’s college education fund.”

–Jarmar Jones, Baltimore CASH Campaign





“We have a great reason to be motivated to save. Not only did we add a new child to our family this year, but we have decided to purchase a home! We recently started working with a realtor and getting serious about finding the right house to call home. We really appreciate the assistance we have received from you, not only with our taxes, but also with our budget and finances. We now have the confidence to make the next step in our lives together with home ownership.”

–Sadie and Scott McCracken, CASH Coalition of SENH / Rockingham Community Action


“I’m a student at UC Santa Cruz seeking to become a Computer Scientist. I’ve been doing my taxes with Building Skills Partnership (BSP) for 2 years. I learned about BSP’s VITA program through my mom. She takes BSP’s English classes at her work site. It was great to hear about the saving options available at BSP, I decided to save part of my refund in my savings account and won a raffle! I’m extremely grateful with this program and excited to continue saving towards finishing my education.”

–Eduardo Reyes, Building Skills Partnership


“My sister told me about Building Skills Partnership’s (BSP) free tax preparation service, she heard about it at her work site in Palo Alto. I’ve been coming here for the last three years. This yer at BSP, I was offered to talk to a financial coach who gave me information about different programs I qualify for. I recently signed up for an Individual Development Account that BSP recommended me to build my savings for emergencies. They also encouraged me to save part of my tax refund so I decided purchased a savings bond for my son. I think it was a very good idea to save, now I’m going to receive an extra bonus and will see my savings grow!”

–Juan Castillo, Building Skills Partnership


“Five years ago I walked by 9th Street in Chinatown. I saw a sign of the East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation about filing taxes. I gave them a call and got an appointment, then I filed my tax return for 2011. Starting from that year, EBALDC helped me filing my taxes every year. They are professional, efficient, and precise. They are very nice. I receive my tax return fast every year. I want to thank EBALDC very much here, and I want to tell everyone it’s a good place to file your taxes.”

— Lucy Li, East Bay Asian Local Development Corporation

“I have always filed with CASH. I started working at the age of 16 and never went anywhere else. I will continue to come and I’m happy to be one of the winners!”

–Kelly Grant, CASH Coalition of Rochester

“I saved some of my refund to pay off student loans and house bills. I wasn’t sure about the SaveYourRefund program, but CASH conceived me  to do it! They were quick and nice. I’m saving to pay off my bills and student loans.”

–Cierra George, CASH Coalition of Rochester

“I was avoiding doing my taxes because I didn’t want to do all the paperwork. I am grateful for CASH because they made the process simpler. They answered all my questions and were understandable and patient. Overall CASH is very helpful and informative. CASH answered the questions I had, and was understandable and patient. I saved because I wanted to make a change of habits. Year after year the same actions were made, but now I wanted to make a change.”

–Maxine Pritchett, CASH Coalition of Rochester

I am so glad that CASH promotes Save Your Refund. I have been with CASH for several years. Happy with the results of taxes every year. Will use CASH as long as they are around. Always wanted to save and create the habit. I want to add to it later it on. Maybe I might take a little vacation some time.

–Sandra Clark, CASH Coalition of Rochester

I hope that C.A.S.H. is continuously supported by volunteers and funding because this is a great program for our community. People get taken advantage of during tax season and this helps them save and make ends meet.