Suggestions on how to spend your coronavirus stimulus check from the government

When the president signed the CARES Act in late March, it launched the program that will deliver stimulus checks to millions of Americans. The purpose: keep the American economy afloat and provide temporary relief to the people who need it. Seeing potentially thousands pop up in your bank account or mailbox means you’ll have to figure out what to use it for. What are the best uses for the coronavirus stimulus check? We have a few suggestions on how to make the most of this money.

Use the stimulus check to pay for the essentials

To start, we’d like to acknowledge that so many people don’t really have a choice on what to spend this money on. For anyone who has lost their job or has reduced work hours, we hope that this check helps to relieve some of the incredible challenges you’re facing. This stimulus check should 100% be used to help you remain in your home, keep the lights on and put food on the table.

Paying bills is also a good choice for folks who haven’t been financially disrupted by COVID-19 yet. This is a functional way to ensure you’re using this money responsibly and contributing to the economy in a meaningful way.

Prepare for more economic uncertainty

Economists predict that the US is likely falling into a recession, which means it’s important to be as financially responsible as possible. One of the most valuable financial moves you can make right now is to prepare for a recession by paying off debt or starting an emergency fund.

Use your stimulus check to pay off debt

If you have not recently lost your income, consider using this money to help you pay off debt so you’re in a better position to brace for a slower economy.

Start an emergency fund for the what-ifs

If you don’t have debt you need to pay off but want to act in an abundance of caution, you could add to (or start) an emergency fund. Consider opening or contributing to a high-yield savings account that has higher returns than a normal savings account, and easy access if you need to cash out quickly.

Use your stimulus check to help contribute to small businesses or relief efforts

While the CARES act is largely a relief package, the purpose of a government stimulus check is to help stimulate the economy. The only way to do that is to participate in it. Consider using part of your check to support small businesses who are feeling the pressure of the novel coronavirus outbreak in major ways.

While we don’t recommend blowing your entire check on local takeout every night, consider setting aside some of those funds to support your community or donating to those less fortunate than you right now.

What we don’t recommend you use your government stimulus check for

Like a tax refund, it can be tempting to splurge your unexpected income. Because the economy is expected to get worse before it gets better, try to stay focused on what is truly important to you. While it’s not very fun or exciting, we strongly encourage you not to spend this money on items that you’d normally want to spend a little extra cash on.

Here’s what you shouldn’t use your stimulus check on:

  • Daily items that cost more than what you normally allot in your budget
  • Letting it sit in your checking account without assigning a use for it
  • Technology, accessories or apparel you don’t need (as much as you want to treat yourself or your family)
  • Entertainment like concert tickets, movies, new streaming services or sporting events
  • Lottery tickets or virtual gambling