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What Should I Do With My Stimulus Check?

You’re one of the 80-million or so lucky ones.  Your stimulus money found its way to your bank account.  Of maybe your old school paper check appeared in your mailbox.

The rest of us can’t even get a straight answer on the IRS Get My Payment tracker.  That’s apparently being worked out and topic for another time.

Today though, we’re looking at what to do with the money if you already got it.  Or consider it your stimulus plan once you get the check.

First and foremost, if you’re in survival mode, that’s what this money is for.  The necessities of life.  Putting food on the table. Keeping a roof overhead.  That could mean paying rent or the mortgage.  Keeping the lights on and the water running.

That doesn’t mean making a car payment at the expense of buying food.  You’ve got to prioritize.  This is no time to be concerned about your credit score if you can’t even buy dinner.

Take care of yourself and your family first.  You can take care of the other stuff later.

Let’s say you’re beyond survival.  You’re not one of the 22-million folks out of work and you’ve still got a paycheck coming in.  Make sure you’ve got some cash ready to go in an emergency.  An emergency fund.  That’s generally three to six months of expenses.  

You can see how important that is right now if you happened to lose your job.  If you don’t have an emergency fund, well, looks like your stimulus check just found a home.

If you were prepared and already had an emergency fund.  And you’re still working and getting paid, you might consider knocking out some debt.  You could snowball it or avalanche it, a couple of debt reduction techniques we’ll address elsewhere.

And if you’re really in good shape financially, paycheck coming in, emergency fund in place and, debt free, maybe it’s time to invest.  

An IRA or Roth IRA could be a starting point.  Remember, with the tax filing deadline pushed back to July 15th, you could still make a contribution for 2019.  Or just make it count for 2020.

And if you’ve got all those squared away…you could do what the check says it’s designed to do…stimulate.  Stimulate the economy.  Go buy something.  Have fun.  And stay healthy…physically and financially.