Editorial: Should you spend or save stimulus checks?
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The news on Saturday, March 28, was all a buzz about the $2.2 trillion relief bill that President Donald Trump signed Friday to deliver assistance to tens of millions of American households affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Aside from greatly expanding unemployment coverage and making a host of other changes, such as grants to small businesses, one of its chief components involves stimulus payments to individuals.
A handful of Prescott-area residents told The Daily Courier a variety of plans for the money, ranging from spending it on supplies – such as toilet paper and food – to rat-holing it for a future rent or mortgage payment.
The federal government will be issuing checks (as much as $1,200 per person) to help the economy during the pandemic. What will you do with your share?
- Save it for a rainy day 32%
- Buy supplies to help get through the pandemic 3%
- Spend it on fun stuff that I've always wanted / or to fight stay-at-home boredom 6%
- Pay for essentials like rent / mortgage / bills 34%
- Give it to someone who is worse off than I am 25%
422 total votes.
“Since I’m staying at home so much now I really need supplies,” said Pauline Spence of Prescott. “It’s about being able to avoid daily trips to the store; maybe going once a week or 10 days? I just wonder how soon the help will come.”
The bigger question was how much Americans will receive.
Within about 3 weeks, most adults will get $1,200. For every qualifying child 16 or younger, the payment will be an additional $500.
It will be one check, though future bills could order up additional payments; however, any payment will depend on your income. Single adults with Social Security numbers who have an adjusted gross income of $75,000 or less will get the full amount. Married couples with no children earning $150,000 or less will receive a total of $2,400. And those filing as head of household will get the full payment if they earned $112,500 or less.
For people with income figures more than those, the payment decreases until it stops altogether for single people earning $99,000 or married people who have no children and earn $198,000. A family with two children will no longer be eligible for any payments if its income surpassed $218,000, according to the Senate Finance Committee.
And, a payment will not be sent to you if someone claims you as a dependent, even if you’re an adult or a student.
With the economy across the nation and locally in Arizona largely upended – businesses big and small contracting or closing; residents staying home to avoid the virus, not out shopping or whatever – this legislation comes none too soon.
We are thankful it was largely bipartisan in Congress, and keeps the lights on so to speak.
What should you do with your payment? That is the fly in the ointment; it is designed not only to help each of us but also to be spent, infusing money into the economy. It is not particularly helpful to let it sit in an envelope or bank account.
Rest assured though, most people who receive Social Security retirement or disability payments each month get a stimulus payment; eligible unemployed people and veterans will receive stimulus payments; and we do not have to pay income taxes on the money.
And, if you don’t want the money, you can help people, nonprofits or businesses that are suffering from the pandemic. The relief package made a new deduction for charitable donations available.
Be smart, don’t panic, and stay safe. Help is on the way.
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