What to do with a stimulus check?

I’m not going to take too much time to discuss whether or not the government sending out stimulus money is a good idea or not. I want to focus more on some ideas of what you can use any “found” money for.

First, have you lost a job, worried about losing your house or apartment, or figuring out how to put food on your table? That’s first and foremost where the stimulus money should go. Make sure you can get yourself on stable ground before considering other choices.

Second, pay down or pay off debt. However, if you’re going to pay it down just to rack it back up again, then what’s the point? You need to pay off the debt and keep it gone so you can free up some monthly cash flow to save and invest.

Third, start or finish an emergency fund. If you don’t have 3-6 months of expenses saved up somewhere that you can get your hands on, put the money towards that.

Four, put it towards any important major purchase you’ve been saving for. Have you been saving to replace a vehicle or fix something around the house? If so, put the money there. I wouldn’t say that a new phone or TV falls under this category though. While it may seem important, those things can wait and you should continue to save for them as you have been.

Five, invest in yourself. Have you been considering taking some classes or getting a certification that could further your career or bring in additional income? Maybe you’ve considered hiring a career or fitness coach? A great long term investment is to improve your health or add a new skill. It should pay off in the long run.

Six, invest in a mutual fund. Our national debt continues to climb and at some point, we will have to deal with it. We may experience a period of inflation that becomes incredibly difficult for us to live with. Long story short, we can’t borrow our way into the future. That being said, investing for the long term is one way to ensure you’re ready. If you were to take a $1400 stimulus check and invest it for 20 years at a 10% return, you’d have around $9400.

If you have a 5 year old and you receive $1400 for them and decide to invest it and they leave it there until they turn 67 years old, it could be worth over $500k by then (using the same 10% return above)

Last, but not least, give it away. If you feel like you’re doing well financially, then find a cause that you believe could use a boost and give the money to them. Perhaps you know an individual that is struggling and could use a helping hand.

This list is certainly not extensive. You could even apply a combination of the items above if you’d like. Do you have any other ideas that I didn’t think of? Feel free to add them in the comments.

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