How fast can I spend $1200? How fast can we spend $2400? In my mind, I can spend that money in a blink. (In a past life, I probably could have, too, on shoes alone!) But it turns out that we have only spent a fraction of our stimulus check so far.
Personal finance is personal, but we’ve committed to trying to spend and donate our money. We are in a solid place financially. Our emergency fund is stocked and our positions are secure for at least another year at work. To us, the next logical thing to do was to use a stimulus check as a stimulus — at least as much as one family can.
Now that the stimulus money hit our bank account, we’ve gone from the daydreaming phase to the spending phase. So I thought it might be fun to share what we’ve been doing with our money.
Spending – $415
Our spending is actually happening slower than I imagined it would. Part of that is because I’m still holding out for that bounce house party of my dreams, and part of it is because we’re trying to be really mindful of what we buy and where it comes from. Then, there’s the whole fact that our state is still partially locked down.
Here’s what we’ve bought so far:
Mulch Delivery – $190
This price probably seems obscene if you don’t have a big yard (or maybe it does regardless!), but it’s actually really reasonable for 9 yards of mulch and delivery. Plus, no plastic bags and no wear and tear on our cars driving them back and forth.
We use a local landscape company to have mulch delivered every 2-3 years. Even though we likely would have tried to stretch things out for one more summer, this seemed like a great decision. We have more time to be in our garden this year. Plus, we’re doing some work by the creek at the end of our property to try to keep the ground from eroding so much.
Modem and Router – $225
My mom always warns me not to “cheap myself to death”–and I think I definitely did exactly that in the case of our modem and router from seven years ago. When we bought our modem and router as new homeowners, I was so shocked by the cost, I just grabbed the cheapest in-stock items.
My husband has been suggesting that we replace our old tech, but I’ve stayed strong (and frustrated at the outages and low connectivity!). When our governor announced that teachers should be prepare to teach in person and remotely in the fall, I finally gave in. Even though I truly hope to only ever do remote learning during the occasional snow day, I freelance enough where I need and want reliable wifi. Plus, this might just be the gateway to streaming that we need to finally cut cable.
Donations – $200
We wanted to be ambitious with our donating and get some of that done first. It doesn’t take much time at all online or in the world to realize how fortunate we are to be weathering the pandemic the way we are. Once we heard about the possibility of a stimulus check, we knew we were going to donate at least 10% of it.
School Crisis Fund $50
My husband and I are both teachers, and we are fortunate to work in good school districts. What people often overlook is how individual students can struggle so much within a school, even if the district overall is on relatively solid financial footing.
All that to say, there were about 200 homeless students in my district before the pandemic started. Additionally, over a third of my particular school qualified for free and reduced lunch. So when our social workers and district administration set up a fund to provide extra meals, gas gift cards, and household supplies for struggling students, I had to donate.
Local Food Pantry $50
We make regular monthly donations here anyway, so it made sense to add another donation. What I love most about this particular pantry is that they also work really hard to take care of other needs in the community. For instance, they make birthday bags that include cake mix and party hats, so that kids can celebrate a bit!
Feeding America $50
Feeding America the second largest charity in the country by revenue (it’s also very highly rated on Charity Navigator!), so it probably doesn’t need much of an explanation. We believe that no one should go hungry, so we again wanted to support this organization.
PPE GoFundMe $25
Students in our district set up a GoFundMe to make PPE with 3-D printers. I could not click the donate button fast enough!
H2O for Life $25
Many schools in our area partner with this organization to do different spring and summer events, but the pandemic put the events on hold. This is what I would normally donate to join one of their walks, so I figured it was worth donating.
Future Stimulus Spending Plans
There are definitely other wish list items that we will purchase. Voles or mice or some other little rodents made confetti out of our patio furniture cover and umbrella, so I would like to replace those. But we are waiting for the home store mania to die down before we attempt to do much shopping.
Additionally, we’ve eyeballed other memberships and tickets that we hope to buy. The big question mark is if and when these places reopen. We intend to use the $500 child credit money that we got for HP for these kinds of experiences.
Because I believe that money is also tied to hope, we are also still saving some of this money for that backyard party I can’t stop thinking about. It might take weeks or months or more, but once we’re given the green light on the reason to celebrate, we want to provide the place for our family and friends.
Even though we haven’t spent all of our stimulus money yet, we have been able to keep up with our regular monthly spending (it’s basically just takeout and ice cream!) and monthly giving. Not a day goes by that we don’t think about how fortunate we are to be able to save, invest, spend, and give in this time.
So Tell Me…Have you used any of your stimulus check yet? Do you have a favorite charity?