How To Spend Your $1,200 Stimulus Check

Stimulus checks for Americans are set to arrive starting April 9 and coming in waves over the next few weeks. The stimulus update for April 9 is that money should be arriving for people starting today Thursday April 9 or tomorrow Friday April 10 and the coming weeks.

We are likely getting stimulus checks next week based on what government officials have said in the last couple of days so let’s talk about it! Today I’m going over some of the ways you could and should spend your stimulus money in order to use it wisely as well as share what we are doing with our stimulus money.

Why Are We Getting Stimulus Checks & Who Gets Them?

Let’s start with bad news – unemployment numbers are so very bad right now. I know people have been commenting on my videos about being laid off and I’ve been scared I would be as well, but now 10% of the American labor force has filed for unemployment with today’s numbers added in. That’s insane and more than any time in history for initial claims in a short period. 

A lot of this is situational and hopefully most of these jobs come back and when stuff calms down people go back to work.

Unfortunately combining this with the fact that most of us in the USA don’t have enough to cover $1,000 emergencies… we are in trouble. But the government is here to the rescue… in a way by hoping to get people through this temporary rough spot and get them spending as well to stimulate the economy.

they are going to send every adult $1,200 if you made under $75,000 on your most recent tax return from 2019 or 2018. They will be looking at the most recent tax returns from these years. Married couples making under $150,000 will get $2,400.  You also get $500 per child on dependents. 

So for us as a two income household with one child making under $150,000 we will get $2,900.

If you qualify for these stimulus checks the government has now said they will start hitting direct deposit accounts starting next week. Considering I filed our taxes this year and got our refund in under two weeks… I believe they will hit our account next week. Things are moving fast and furious because they know we need the money out here.

How To Spend It, If You Need It

Since the money is coming soon, today I’m going to talk about ways to spend your stimulus check and share what we plan to do with ours because at a time of high unemployment and lots of uncertainty we need to make sure the money we are getting doesn’t go to waste. 

Pay to cover your immediate needs. First, if you’ve lost your job and need the money for every day living then definitely pay for the essential necessities in your life. Pay for your food. Buy your medications. Pay for the things you need to actually survive right now. That’s what the money is for and using it for this is smart. Make sure you are healthy and well to get through this. 

Pay your bills. Again, if you’ve lost your job and don’t know how to pay your rent then you should use this money for bills after you’ve covered the necessities for living. If the money won’t stretch far enough then cover the most essential bills until you get unemployment or a new job income coming in. This is again, for essential bills like covering your rent or utility bill, not paying for your subscriptions or other non necessary bills.

Save the money. Open a high interest savings account if you don’t already have one and just save it. You can use Capital One, Ally, of SoFi. Open the account and put the money in this account and just let it sit there short term until you need it. If you’ve already started saving, then use the money to build your 3-6 months emergency fund and be more cautious right now. This is personally what we are doing because I do still have job uncertainty if this lasts longer than expected. 

How To Spend It, If You Don’t Need It

If you already have your essentials covered and an emergency fund and your job is very secure and this is “bonus” money for you, then congrats! You have a couple options for what to do with it.

1) Invest in the market. The market is pretty volatile lately and doesn’t necessarily correspond to normal cues but you could go ahead and invest the money. Personally we use index funds and dollar cost averaging for the majority of our investing so I’d go with that method maybe in a Roth IRA but if you are doing this be cautious because none of us know how long this will last or what the market results will be.

2) Invest in yourself. Spend the money to buy an online course you want to learn. Or spend the money on a certification you have been wanting to get and finally have time to do. If you have 

3) Give it away. Give the money to a charity you care about. Or heck to people you know need it more than you. Venmo or cash app people money because you know they need it and you care about them. Be a blessing to others.

I would say that it’s worth playing it safe with this stimulus check. Having more money on hand is the best bet. 

There may be more rounds of layoffs, there may be more rounds of stimulus checks. Or there may not be. None of us really know yet and anyone saying they know something for sure is just talking with false confidence. Use this money for the best use for your family in whatever way makes the most sense for you. 

Mary is the founder of Pennies Not Perfection where she shares her journey to build wealth through online income. She quit her day job in 2021 after she paid off her debt and doubled her 9-5 salary.

Mary's favorite free financial tool is Personal Capital. She uses their free tools to track net worth and work toward to financial freedom.

Her favorite investment platform is M1 Finance, where she built a custom portfolio for free with no fees. She shares her portfolio growth and savings progress every month on YouTube.