In case you’ve been living under a rock, as part of a plan to keep the economy running during the COVID-19 pandemic and prevent people from losing their homes, starving, or not having basic necessities, the government has approved $1200 stimulus checks, with some restrictions. Essentially, if you filed a tax return in 2018 and 2019, and earn under $75,000, and were not claimed as a dependent by your parents those two years, then you are eligible to receive this stimulus. You can read more about it here.

Regardless of the schematics of it all, people are debating on how they’re going to spend their stimulus check. Yes, many people are putting it towards bills, but many others will use it to support their local economies,shop small, and plan ahead. 

Here are ten ideas of how to spend your $1200 stimulus check, if you’re receiving one. 

Pay your bills

Obviously, if you are currently unemployed, without an income, or have bills piling up, pay those bills that you must pay with any stimulus money you receive. I know that paying bills aren’t fun, and many companies are waiving late fees, but you don’t want to risk getting your electricity shut off or driving without insurance if you can help it. 

Save it 

Trust me, money burns a hole in my pockets too, but if you know that you need to save this money, then save it. Transfer it to a savings account as soon as you receive it. Don’t look at it. Save it for future expenses, big moves, graduate school, or whatever you might have down the line. 

Pay your student loans

Federal student loans are currently not accruing interest and that will continue for several months, so any money you pay on your student loans will go directly towards paying down your principal. That makes now an excellent time to pay off your loans if you can. 

Order takeout from local restaurants

Obviously, I’m not recommending that you order over a thousand dollars worth of sushi, but consider using some of your stimulus to support local restaurants who are doing take-out or delivery. They’re likely struggling right now, and consider it a treat to yourself for surviving another stressful week, completing a big project or simply getting out of bed at a reasonable time. 

Purchase a year-long subscription you’ve always wanted

Have you always wanted to subscribe to, or continue your subscription to a book box? Or a clothes box? Or a yoga membership? Consider supporting those often small businesses (and treating yourself) by outright buying a year-long subscription with your stimulus check. You’ll likely save by buying a year out, and you’ll give a boost to these small businesses by supporting them. 

Invest in a hobby you’ve always wanted to pursue

Have you always wanted to take up knitting, or scrap-booking, or 3D printing? Consider using your stimulus check to invest in starting this hobby, buying supplies, purchasing books about it, and giving yourself the time to build your interests. 

Enroll in online professional development opportunities

The career fields are all in a lot of turmoil right now, and if you’re like me and have a lot more time on your hands,  you might be thinking about ways you can ensure a successful career going forward. Of course, many great professional development opportunities are completely free, but others come with a fee. Whether it’s an online class, a webinar series, or something else, consider using your stimulus check to fund your future in this way. 

Buy new bedding

Have you been locked in your house for weeks and are growing kind of tired of what’s in the house? Consider rewarding yourself for staying home by purchasing new bedding to spice up the space you can’t escape. Bonus points if you’re able to buy it from a small business! 

New tires for your car

Have you been putting off new tires for a while? Why not use your stimulus check to ensure you’ll be driving safely for years to come? It’s not a sexy purchase, I know, but it can be an expense that sucks to come unexpectedly. 

Donate it to worthy causes

If you’re in a position to give, I highly recommend. Give local. Support food banks and charitable organizations that are helping people you know and love. Support the theatre you love to attend or the small studio you’ve always admired. Donate to people making masks for donation, or people trying to keep their small business open. You know your interests best, but if you’re able,  I highly recommend putting some of your stimulus check where your heart is. 

Aryssa D
FFL Cabinet Member