Whether it's putting it aside for a rainy day or for that vacation you've been waiting to take, a recent survey finds more Americans this year plan to save their tax refunds rather than spend them.

"Consumers still view the economy as recovering and for them it's important to take this free money and put it away," said Kathy Grannis, spokesperson for the National Retail Federation, which conducted the survey.

According to the NRF's Tax Returns Consumer Survey, nearly four in 10 Americans, about 39.4 percent, who expect a tax refund will use some of the money to pay down debt and 28.7 percent plan to use their "free cash" for everyday expenses. Very few will throw caution to the wind. "Twelve percent of people will actually use some of their refund on a major purchase such as a television or furniture or something for the house," said Grannis.

"There is a feeling in the air that things are better than they used to be when it comes to the economy and financial stability," said Grannis. "But, consumers also want to have a safety net."

More so this year than in the past, American are eager to file their taxes. The survey finds 64.4 percent will have filed by the end of February. An additional 21.3 percent will file in March and 14.3 percent will wait until the last minute and file in April.