By now, you're probably aware that the United States government has passed a $2.2 trillion stimulus package in response to the Coronavirus outbreak that's closing businesses and keeping people home without a means to earn income.
The stimulus includes tax-free cash payments up to $1,200 a person to millions of people based on their income. Checks should begin arriving at people's mailboxes in about three weeks from the time of this writing.
“It's expected that roughly 9 of 10 households could receive a recovery rebate of some amount under the economic stimulus law, which also provides financial aid for businesses staggered by the virus, and expanded unemployment and student-loan assistance,” writes CNET.
That $1,200 bucks might help some of us, but what if we don't need that check?
You're either still employed or had amassed enough wealth through smart money principles – that you plan to continue after the quarantine, that you'd rather see that cash used elsewhere – for people or causes that might need it more than you.
If you're in this boat, here are four ways to use your government stimulus check for good.
4 Ways To Use Your Stimulus Check For Good
Way #1: Make a charitable contribution
One of the easiest (and perhaps most obvious) ways to give your stimulus money away is to make a charitable contribution. These contributions are generally easy to make, and we have the freedom to choose any charity that we like. If you'd like to make a charitable contribution but you're not sure what charity to pick, check out Charity Navigator‘s page for help deciding where your stimulus check should go.
According to Forbes, here are the U.S.'s top charities from 2019.
Way #2: Give the gift of education
Consider giving the gift of education to a friend or family member. Buy them access to a web-based class to improve their marketable skills. Or, offer to pay for a portion of their next (or past) semester at a traditional school. Or heck, just buy them a membership to something like Masterclass for fun, educational content.
But, don't forget that there are a wide variety of free education resources online, available all the time. These include:
Way #3: Start an investment account for your kids
Deposit that stimulus check directly into an investment account for your kids, and use today's stock market as a teaching tool for the power of compound interest, but also the risks naturally inherent in investing. Make it a point to continue showing your kids the value of their investment so they can see firsthand how investments build (and sometimes shrink) over time.
The current stock market climate is a great teaching opportunity about the real world and how Wall Street truly works.
Way #4: Spend it locally
The next time you're looking for something on Amazon, check to see if you can pick that item up locally rather than clicking that ‘Buy Now' button. Local small businesses need help now more than ever, and reinvesting your stimulus check into your local economy is one of the best ways to support your local mom and pop shops during this economic weirdness.
Got another idea?
How are you using your government stimulus check? Are you stashing it in your bank account to pad your emergency fund? Or, maybe you're using it on your mortgage? Or, maybe you've decided to give it away.
Whatever you're doing with it, let us know your plans!
Steve Adcock is an early retiree who writes about mental toughness, financial independence and how to get the most out of your life and career. As a regular contributor to The Ladders, CBS MarketWatch and CNBC, Adcock maintains a rare and exclusive voice as a career expert, consistently offering actionable counseling to thousands of readers who want to level-up their lives, careers, and freedom. Adcock's main areas of coverage include money, personal finance, lifestyle, and digital nomad advice. Steve lives in a 100% off-grid solar home in the middle of the Arizona desert and writes on his own website at SteveAdcock.us.