Regardless of your political views on it, families and individuals across America are looking at larger sums of money in their bank accounts recently. With tax refunds and stimulus checks hitting at the same time, many are faced with the important question of “What do we do with it?” If this is you, here are a few suggestions to consider.
7 Smart Ways to Use a Stimulus Check or Tax Refund
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Set it aside, earmarked for mortgage/rent.
Especially if your work situation is unstable or you’re currently unemployed, this option could relieve a lot of stress and be a necessary move. This would also free up other income each month for saving or investing throughout the year.
Most people have felt some irritation or discouragement when trying to build up a decent savings, and it didn’t build as quickly as they desired. If 2020 taught us nothing else, it taught us just how important a back up plan is. Get that safety net in place.
Pay ahead on utilities.
This can be especially helpful if you struggle with wanting to spend instead of save. Once the money is spent in this way, you can breathe a little easier each month, but also don’t have a large amount sitting, tempting you to go on a shopping spree.
Pay off debts.
Seriously. Just do it. Less debt means less stress.
All the things that you usually put off unintentionally. Property taxes, pest control contract fees, car tags, car insurance if you don’t pay it monthly, etc. This could be a number of things depending on your personal situation. Also, car tags can usually be paid for multiple years in advance.
Pre-purchase or stock up on things you purchase regularly, yearly, or a couple of times a year.
This could include things like homeschool curriculum. If you have a particular curricula you use each year, you could go ahead and purchase all you will need for the next few years. Prepaid gas cards would be another useful purchase. Many places also allow you to prepay for propane for your home, and prices are usually lower in the warmer months.
Fill the freezer.
Another great way to spend some unexpected funds is stocking your pantry and freezer. There are many dry goods that can be purchased in bulk and safely stored until you need them. If freezer space is available, consider purchasing meat directly from a farmer in larger quantities. This method protects your wallet from fluctuating food prices at the grocery store, makes meal planning easier and less time-consuming, while also supporting a local business and family.
Other Food items to add to your bulk shopping list:
(Be sure to pick up some food storage containers like these 5 gallon BPA free buckets.)
Last but not least, start another stream of income!
If you have ideas you’ve been working on or a long-time dream for a side hustle, now is a great time to make it happen. So often people don’t go after a dream simply from the lack of funds to get started. You can cross that off the excuses list now.