Stimulus 2.0: What to Do If You Get Another Check

Published on: Jan 15, 2021fb-roundtwitter-roundemail-round
Stimulus Payments
The Story

President-elect Joe Biden already proposed a third round of stimulus. (TBD if it’ll pass.) But you may still be waiting on a second check from when President Trump signed another COVID-19 relief package into law in late December 2020.

Another $1,200?

Not from Trump’s admin...at least for individuals. Single people who earn up to $75,000 (based on 2019's tax filing) will get $600. Couples filing jointly who make less than $150,000 will get $1,200. Bonus for parents: an extra $600 per child under age 17.

For every $100 you earn above those income limits, your stimulus payment decreases by $5. If you earn more than $87,000 ($174,000 for joint filers), you don’t qualify.

Will I have to pay this money back?

No. And you won't owe taxes on it.

What should I do with any money I get?

If you need it to cover bills, start there. After that, give your emergency fund some love. Because if 2020 taught us anything, it's to expect the unexpected. Eventually, you'll want about three to six months' worth of take-home pay saved. But this is one of those times that pretty much anything is better than nothing. 

Paying down credit card debt could be another smart move. A smaller balance = less to pay interest on. Bonus: decreasing your debt could give your credit score a nice boost.

Related: I Paid Off $75K of Debt After Getting A Divorce

And if I'm good in those areas?

Level-up by investing more. Or for the first time, if you've been putting it off. The earlier you get started, the more time your money has to grow. 

You could also donate some of your stimulus check or spend it at a local small biz. Buying gift cards can be a good way to give them a boost.

Related: How to Be Charitable Even When Money's Tight

theSkimm

If you're expecting a stimulus check (or already got one), make a game plan. You can use it to get ahead on your bills and other money goals. And/or spend it to help out your local economy.

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Skimm'd by: Ivana Pino, Stacy Rapacon, and Elyse Steinhaus