What Would People Do With A Stimulus Check? Reader Responses

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Stimulus Checks: Good Or Bad?

On a recent post discussing a possible second stimulus check, I asked my readers this question:

If a second stimulus package does materialize this fall, what will you do with your check? Will you:

  • Spend it (like they want you to)?
  • Save it
  • Use it to pay down debt?
  • Donate the money?

Let us know what action you’ll take if you get a second check, and whether you think it’s a good idea!

So far I’ve received 85 responses to the question, and It was interesting for me to read the widely varying answers.  The answers ran the gamut from “No, its not a good idea – I don’t want a second check.  It’ll just be something we pay for in the end” to “I think we NEED a check, it’s about time us struggling little guys got a break“.

There were so many good responses that I thought it would be interesting to share some of them here.

Responses To The Questions

So, what would you do with a stimulus check? Is it a good idea?

Against another stimulus:

Shannon: Like my dad always told me…Money is not the answer to money problems. I never understood this until I was an adult. Yes…a second stimulus payment would provide a small relief for most Americans. However, it is a very small and temporary relief.  In my opinion, it would create more false hope for people. Insted of giving us all a thousand dollars to spend…give our country better ways to manage money.  Consolidate debt and learn to not re-create it

James replied: I’d tithe to our church and put the rest towards debt. As for it being a good idea, no, it’s just more spending that the gov’t can’t afford. I’m also of the opinion that taxes need to be lowered, but I don’t really see that happening, no matter who becomes president.

crossn81 said: Depending on how much it actually would be and when we would get it – we’d either save it to get our emergency fund up to snuff or use it to pay down college loans.

I’m never one to complain about free money, but I also like the idea of letting the market work for itself.

Matt chimed in: They say that democracy begins to break down once the people realize that they can vote to give themselves money. Instead of giving us back our own money, how about the government doesn’t take so much from us in the first place?

If they keep handing out ‘free’ money that’s just going to lower the value of the currency. If everyone was a millionaire then a million bucks wouldn’t buy much…

Tim: I think a second round check is purely a political move… I truly believe it is a waste of money…I really don’t feel it is the role of the government.

Peder:  of course the (first) package really did not work.. after all it’s only a buck64aday if you got 600 dollars. really how is that going to work out in the long run.

in the short run of course there will be a boost as everyone spends their free money. what about december, when inflation and christmas collide?

For a second stimulus check:

Ray Roman: Firstly I think a second stimulus package is a good idea, regardless if it’s being done for political reasons or not.

It’s been proven several times that it does help the economy somewhat, and I think the first check did help from making things a lot worse.

Having said that it’s important our political leaders become fiscally accountable. The amount of wasteful spending in our government has gotten totally out of control. Both parties are catering to special interest groups that benefit them at the expense of everyone else.

Carly: I think a second round of checks would be great. All you people that can pay off debt, it must be nice. I wish we could do that. We spent our first check on things we needed, food, gas clothes for the kids diaper and so on. You also paid things like rent and electric bills. It is hard to make it nowadays with just my husband being able to work and having two kids. We can’t afford the daycare prices for me to go back to work. It would be pointless. There are a lot of families out there that need the help more then others. So I think the second around of checks is a good idea.

Jimmy the Rose: Depending on the amount, i would save some, spend some and pay down some debt. Clear and simple. And as for what I think of the idea. I think it is needed by many Americans, including myself. There are a lot of hungry kids out there and I used to be one of them.  REBATE! REBATE! REBATE!

People talking about how Christmas won’t come this year without the stimulus check:

Jennifer: I would use the 2nd check for my kids xmas gifts. I am already having a hard time with food and gas just to get to work and I work far. So I need a car. My 2 teenagers are having a hard time and scared we will have no xmas. All they want is a tree and 1 gift each. I am a middle class woman making ends meet. Please give us a stimulis check before xmas.  We could care less about the spring cause that is when we get our tax money anyways.

Cynthia: I feel a second check would help out the less fortunate alot more.  Some of us lost our jobs and are on lay-off due to this economic crisis and I feel some of us do need help. The people that feel different, maybe you should give your checks to someone less fortunate. Not everyone does need it but the ones that do will appreciate it. I will not have Christmas for my three boys if this does not happen. I am struggling since I got laid-off and have been applying to many jobs. But nothing as of yet. So this would be a good thing for some people!!!

Tammy: Now that Christmas is coming up that second stimulus check would be put to great use. My son is 18 and planning on going to college. I would probably use part for Christmas gifts, bills and to help out with my son’s Senior year in high school, graduation announcements, etc. So I say yes to the second stimulus check.

Deborah Harris: I think that a stimulus check is much needed at this time. Christmas time is just around the bend and so many people do not have jobs. It would allow so many to buy for their little ones. It would also allow some ease on our minds to the economy some will pay bills and fall would be a great time for it to be sent out. I am a single person and it would be of much needed at this time.So YES YES YES TO A SECOND STIMULUS!!!!

Ashley Bramble: I am a working mother and have a 4 yr old daughter..I have a part time job which barely gets us by. My fiance works at the same place as I and even though we both have income, it just isn’t enough. I can’t go out to look for a better job being that this job is in walking distance. GAS IS TOO HIGH! I would use this money to buy christmas gifts for my daughter….I worry that I won’t have the money to keep up on the bills and get gifts at the same time

Rebecca: It’s not always a matter of not knowing how to handle your finances. Sometimes its just a matter of not having as much coming in as what is going out. I work full time. I have only one child, and am a single mom. Our home burned down 3 months ago and we lost everything. A second stimulus payment may not be the fix but it might just let my son have a christmas this year.

A lot of people are in a world of hurt right now, and the extra money would go a long way in helping to stop the bleeding, or at least let them have an enjoyable Christmas.

But is a stimulus check the answer?  Is paying a few bills or buying some Christmas gifts really going to change things for a lot of these people? I don’t think so.

I think it all comes down to the fact that a lot of people need to learn the basics of personal finance and come up with a plan for their financial life. They need to come up with a zero based budget so they know where every penny is going. They need to make better decisions as to how they spend their income, and know the difference between wants and needs.  Here’s a comment that talks about these ideas:

FrugalDad: Several people have commented on your site and mine that they need the check for Christmas shopping, or to offset the rising cost of gasoline, food, etc. To these people I say take control of your own destiny, and do not sit around waiting on the government to solve your problems.

Need extra money for Christmas? Start saving earlier, or get a side hustle through the holidays. Can’t afford gas? Drive less, consolidate errands, downgrade to a smaller car. Food costs got you down? Cut coupons, eat less meat, stockpile when things are on sale. The point is you are responsible for managing your income, and despite how big or how small it is, if you can live a lifestyle that requires less than your earn you will do just fine, stimulus check or not.

You are responsible for your own destiny, and you can’t depend on the government to take care of you.

Are there times when people go through hardships and need a helping hand?  Yes, of course.  Life happens and from time to time we all need someone to help us out. It’s important that we help others in our communities, the single mothers and families that aren’t making enough to get by.  Our church does a lot of programs to help out single mothers, and we have volunteered at those from time to time.

At the same time so many people just sleepwalk through life not really knowing what is happening with their money, and making careless choices when it comes to how they spend.   Many people could be doing a lot better if they just changed the way they think about money.

Also it is not good for a person to be without knowledge, and he who hurries his footsteps errs.  Proverbs 19:2

My suggestion to everyone?  If you haven’t already, take a basic personal finance course.  Learn to balance your checkbook, and to set up a budget.  Learn to live within your means, no matter what your income is.   Increase your income in creative ways.  Save money for the future, and give to others freely when you’ve gotten ahead.

Remember, money is active. If you don’t take charge of your money, your money will take charge of you.

What are your thoughts on the stimulus check? Is it a good or bad idea? Are too many people depending on government help to get them by, or am I being too harsh in my reading of the situation?  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

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Last Edited: 11th February 2014

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Comments

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  1. Stacey Derbinshire says

    I just stopped by your blog and thought I would say hello. I like your site design. Looking forward to reading more down the road.

  2. sue savage says

    depending on how much and when recieved if gov, wants to get money back in spending the money send them out in novemember people will use it for christmas shopping after christmas most people will save it if after christmas mine will probably go for bills before christmas some will go on grocies and rest to buy gifts for my 10 grandbabies

    • LINDA says

      YOU KNOW WHAT IF THEY GIVE AT LEAST SIX HUNDRED I AM GETTING SOME TEETH SAD BUT SO TRUE I HAVE HAD NO BOTTOM TEETH FOR OVER A YEAR THIS WOULD HELP ME GET SOME

  3. Holley says

    Of course another stimulus check is not “the answer” but let’s face it – lots of folks have lost or will soon lose their jobs, rising costs of everything have not allowed poor families to save for Christmas, it would help the Christmas retailers, and it would just plain help some families HAVE a Christmas. I have much less of a problem giving folks this money than a 700 billion (and growing) “stimulus” package to the greedy entities that are mostly responsible for crashing the US and global economies. Christmas should be a special time for kids – it’s all well and good to say that “Christmas is not about gifts” – but to a little kid, it IS all about toys, a nice dinner and special family events. Put the checks in the mail!

  4. Rebecca Rivera says

    Christmas comes presents or not. All of us can make gifts, but gifts are not needed. For adults, a card with kind words makes anyone feel good (or a handwritten note if you can afford a card.) For kids arrange a toy / book swap, we all have too many toys and books for our kids as is.
    I am giving all used gifts this year (most from my house.)

    Go volunteer at a nursing home, animal shelter, low income daycare, library, etc., this will help your kids see what Christmas should be about! Many places will welcome families who want to volunteer!!!

    Create memories, go walking around to see lights. Go to church services (many have free Christmas shows and / or concerts.) Bake cookies (sugar cookies are very inexpensive to make from scratch.) These are the things are kids really need for Christmas, not gifts!!!

    Buying gifts from a stimulus is a bad idea. If we get another stimulus, put it all in an emergency fund!!! This will help your entire family the most!!!

    I am a single mom with two boys. I make very little, but manage. I do all the above tips at Christmas!!! My kids (ages 10 &5) are not neglected or disappointed, they think of ways to save there money to help others and they give there toys and time to help others. Thanks! -Becky in NJ

    • Shelley says

      I like the idea of making gifts and cookies for Christmas, but what about the important items that children need. Like clothes, coats, and gloves. Those are things which people could buy if they had a little extra money in their pocket. It’s also nice to have a child wake up in the morning at Christmas and see a toy under the tree.

  5. Lesley says

    No the stimulus check isn’t going to solve the problem, but lots of people do need the money! Those of you wanting to use it for Christmas are nuts. Christmas is not about presents. Go to Walmart and pick up something. Your kids need to figure out life isn’t all gimme gimme. Especially the teenagers I mean come on they are teenagers, old enough to know what’s going on and to see parents struggling! There are other things to do at Christmas to be in the spirit. We bought a 4 foot plastic tree for $13, wrapped a big box and set the tree on it. Not because we couldn’t afford a real bigger tree, but because the money could have been better spent. My daughter didn’t care she hung ornaments and it lit up she was delighted!

  6. Irene Hazlett says

    I’ll do the same thing with this check that I did
    with the other stimulus check . . . pay on a bill!

    What is going on? The government is paying everyone . . . whether you’re a CROOK or a millionaire.

    They should put their energy into stopping utility
    companies from robbing us, or from companies moving to other countries.
    Everyday I hear of layoffs and businesses closing and the government is paying millions, billions and even trillions of dollars to bail out crooks.
    Who’s going to bail them out?

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