Well, for most of us, things have been a bit crazy over the last couple months. I think it’s safe to say that Covid-19 has changed life as we know it for all of us in some way or another.
My family has been fairly fortunate. I am still working full-time, although my schedule is a bit wonky as we alternate hours in my office. We’re attempting to only have one person working in the office at a time to minimize contact.
Michael’s college ended all internships but he was fortunate to be hired by the company he was working at for a part-time position. Unfortunately, his graduation ceremony has been postponed until December. Nick was laid off from his part-time restaurant job but has been able to draw unemployment.
More importantly, we’re all still healthy. Our friends and family are also still healthy. We’d like to keep it that way so we’re following the guidelines provided as best we can. We’re staying home as much as possible, washing our hands, etc.
A great number of people have not been as fortunate. People are getting sick. Some are dying. Others have lost their jobs and not received worker’s comp yet or it’s not enough to offset their loss of income. Some people have been forced to close their businesses.
The government started issuing stimulus checks in mid-April to try to ease some of the financial burden people were going through. Stimulus checks are $1,200 for individuals making less than $75,000 a year. You can go here to learn if you are getting a check and how much it should be.
So if you’re fortunate enough to receive a check, what should you do with it? The decision is a personal one but here are some things I suggest based on different scenarios.
If you’re unemployed
Buy food and other groceries/supplies for your household
Catch up on rent/mortgage payment
Make sure your utilities are paid
Currently Working but Job Might Be Affected Soon
Boost your emergency fund/savings. Some jobs in my area are reducing staff’s hours or implementing pay cuts. Your stimulus check could help if your paychecks are suddenly smaller.
Pay down debt
Pay ahead on a bill
Job/Income Not Affected
Support a local business that might be struggling. Order take out from your favorite restaurant that’s had its dining room closed. Buy a gift card from a local store/salon that’s been temporarily closed.
Donate to a food bank
Pick a family/friend that might be struggling with illness/job loss. Ask how you can help them
Times are tough right now. Everyone has had to adjust to this new life. I think even when things get back to normal it’s going to be a new normal. I prefer to look at the positive though. Fortunately everyone in my life is still healthy. I’m grateful for that. I’m cooking more at home, that’s not a bad thing. My job is stable even if we’ve had to change some procedures/schedules. Graduation has been postponed not cancelled. My bookstore will be open again eventually and I can’t wait.
So, are you getting a check? If so, what are your plans for it? Saving it? Spending it on bills? Splurging on something fun?