The Child Tax Credit: Save It

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About 25 million taxpayers are now receiving checks of up to $400 per kid, thanks to the expanded child credit in President Bush's tax-cut law. The Financial Planning Association, a trade group, says it's smarter to save the cash than to spend it. Some suggestions:

--Pay down debt. High-interest debts, like credit-card balances, eat into your disposable income.

--Save for schooling. Stash money in a tax-advantaged education account.

--Create a rainy-day fund. Advisers recommend having enough money for three to six months stored in an easy-to-access place, such as a money-market fund or savings account.