Many Americans are currently unable to work due to the quarantine implemented to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Granted the quarantine is a necessary safety precaution, many individuals, families, and businesses are left in a financial catastrophe. Millions of Americans are filing for unemployment every day, uncertain of if or when they will receive their benefits. To alleviate some financial pressure, the government has approved a 2.2 trillion-dollar stimulus package. The government began releasing stimulus checks mid-April 2020. If you filed taxes for 2018 or 2019 and provided direct deposit information, the funds should have been directly deposited into your account. If you did not provide direct deposit information, it could be May or mid-august before your check is received. If you have not gotten your check by now, and you feel you should have, check the IRS website for updates.
The stimulus check is 1,200 for an individual with adjusted gross incomes of up to $75,000 per year. The payment decreases post $75,000 and ends with incomes over $99,000. The stimulus check for married couples is $2,400 and families with children should receive 500 per child. Individuals who do not normally get a tax return, for example, retirees or the disabled, should also receive checks. Check the IRS website for details.
For many, especially those unable to work, this check will only scratch the surface of their basic needs. For those still able to work, this is an unexpected income and an opportunity to use your check wisely. Here are 7 ways to responsibly use your quarantine 2020 stimulus check.
- Take care of essential needs. First things first. Take care of your basic needs. Make sure your utilities and monthly expenses are covered and caught up. Stock up on some essential items like water and non-perishables.
- Start/Build an emergency fund. The rest of these tips are for those who are not in immediate need and have a steady income. This period of quarantine is a perfect example of an unexpected life expense and why you should have a healthy emergency fund. While emergency funds vary, experts recommend having 3-6 months of expenses put back.
- Pay down debt. Paying the minimum payment on high-interest rate debt can be costly. Use your excess funds to pay down some of that debt, maybe even pay off something completely.
- Start/Build on IRA. Adding funds to your Individual Retirement Account is always in your best interest. Additional funds can increase your overall balance over time.
- Check on family/extended family. These are hard times. Check on your family and see if they could use any help, financially. Many are out of work and still having to care for their children. Reach out to your family, this may be an opportunity to support and reconnect.
- Donate. Find a charity and offer your support. Efforts are being made to offer lunch to low-income children and offer aid at senior centers. Any contribution helps. Be sure to research your charity and make sure you are offering to a reliable source.
- Support local businesses. This pandemic has become a major upset for many local businesses that were already struggling to keep afloat. There are a few ways to support local businesses even during the quarantine. Some restaurants are still offering take out and pick up orders. You could purchase some gift cards for the holidays. You could purchase a monthly or annual membership. Your local businesses will appreciate the support.
The quarantine 2020 stimulus check was an immediate response by the government to support many struggling Americans and prevent an economic crisis. It is still uncertain when we will return to our daily lives, so it is important to manage this stimulus check as efficiently as possible. If you need help figuring out the best way to manage your stimulus check or finances as a whole, feel free to contact us for assistance. We hope these tips help you or someone you know. Stay safe and stay healthy!