Whether it’s your first, second, or third, receiving a stimulus check is pretty exciting. So what exactly do you do with it?
It depends on who you ask. For many Americans, it’s long-awaited relief that might cover a few bills. For others, it’s an opportunity to make creative purchases.
While the original purpose of a stimulus check was to, well, stimulate the economy, it also makes plenty of sense to me that some people want to save their money in case this rainy day gets any stormier.
Ours just showed up, so we haven’t done too much with it yet. But I figured you might like to take a peek so far at our stimulus spending and saving:
Donated to Our Feeding America Partner Food Bank – $100
Feeding people is always something that matters to me. Growing up, I learned to show my thanks and appreciation with saturated fat (I’m pretty sure it’s in the How to Be Italian guidebook my nana followed). In normal school years, I also really appreciate being able to look out for my students to make sure they have breakfast.
Now, more than ever, feeding people seems really important. Feeding America is a top-rated hunger relief organization, and we’ve always made occasional monetary and food donations to our local pantry. That’s why it was the first transaction I made once our stimulus check cleared.
It’s also a donation that I’ve made consistently since the pandemic started, despite how much our budget changed.
RELATED POST: 10 Ways Our Saving and Spending Shifted This Past Year
Purchased Food for Our Micropantry – $100
One of the biggest issues that the pandemic laid bare is how difficult it is to qualify for help in some cases. Many people in our community are hurting, and yet many people don’t have the necessary paperwork and documentation to go to our food pantry.
Enter the micropantry outside our library.
Our community actually has almost a dozen micropantries, which means that anyone can donate and anyone can take items any time of day. We try to always buy a few items every time we grocery shop. That way, when we drive out to the library book return, we can also donate.
When the stimulus hit, I happily filled up a cart of staples and treats for us to donate.
Bought (Another) Membership – $180
With our first stimulus check, we purchased a zoo membership. I am incredibly conflicted about zoos in general. But the only thing that I think tugs at my heartstrings more than animals in captivity is animals in captivity when people are struggling to care for them.
This time, we purchased a membership to an arboretum. It gets us reciprocal access to a variety of different botanical gardens and arboreta in Illinois and across the country. It’s also something that I didn’t have to think twice about. It’s not in our town, but the drive isn’t awful. And HP loves it there. The only reason we didn’t put it at the top of our to-buy list is because my in-laws already have a membership.
Enrolled in a Park District Class – $87
It’s been over a year since we pulled HP from all of his park district classes. And what a year it’s been.
Our park district is really struggling to run their classes despite doing everything they can to make them safe. So I got all of my questions answered and we made the decision to put HP in a parent-tot sports class. It’s outside and distanced, and it’ll be easy enough to know what happens because one of us is required to attend.
We might have to rock-paper-scissor for the privilege. But we feel good knowing that it’ll give him something to look forward to each week throughout the spring.
Bought a Chainsaw – $337
I am not the person to explain this decision. But what I can say is that my husband spent actual months pouring over reviews of different chainsaws and when that stimulus check showed up, he was off to the local hardware store to buy one.
Our property backs up to what I can only describe as Untamed Land. It’s like our entire neighborhood took a vote when it was being built and just decided that the last 10-20 feet of each lot would be some type of natural
grassland disaster. The problem is, of course, that like everything else with our home, the previous owners did nothing to maintain it. So we basically inherited a bunch of dead, decaying, and diseased trees. In an effort to spare the trees that are at least somewhat healthy, we finally committed to cutting down all the problem trees.
And by we, I mean the chainsaw buyer.
Because if you spend your stimulus money on a chainsaw, you have to do the chores that come with it. I’m pretty sure that’s an IRS regulation.
Ordered Too Much Sushi…Again – $57
We joke that we have three priorities during the pandemic:
- Keep ourselves and our family members healthy.
- Support our kids (students and HP!).
- Help our favorite local sushi spot stay in business.
While I won’t comment on the first two points (not jinxing anything here!), I can say with absolute glee that our favorite sushi place is still afloat and as delicious as ever.
Other Stimulus Check Plans
We obviously have a lot of spending left to do. For now, we are saving a portion of the money with the intent to spend down the road. I also intend to do more charitable giving, either through mutual aid or other local organizations that need support.
While this may not be the perfect plan for stimulus check spending, it’s only been in our account for a few days. It’s at least a start!
So Tell Me…Did you qualify for a third check? Have you received it?