Home > Credit Tips with Tiff > Credit Tips with Tiff: What Should I Do with My Stimulus Check?

Comments 0 Comments

Dear Tiff,

I have two questions. Firstly, I’m still waiting for my stimulus check. Will I get one for sure? Secondly, I’m not really sure what to do with my stimulus check once I get it. I feel very fortunate because I don’t need the money to cover rent or any other essential purchases. And I don’t have any major bills to cover. Do you have any suggestions on how I should use my stimulus check?

Checking for My Check

Advertiser Disclosure


Dear Checking,

I know there are a lot of people eagerly awaiting a stimulus payment—officially called an economic impact payment. While some people have gotten theirs already, other people might be still be waiting.

A quick way to check your stimulus check is by going to the IRS’s website. The IRS has created a portal where you can check the status of your economic impact payment. They also have a tool that can help you update your information online to allow for a direct deposit payment instead of a check, if you haven’t provided direct deposit information with your taxes in the past.  

If your income changed from 2018 to 2019 and you haven’t filed your taxes for 2019, don’t worry. The IRS made an easy online tool for non-filers to use to get their stimulus check. 

How to Spend Your Stimulus Check

Before you decide how to spend your check, make sure to take a good look at your financial situation. I’ll give you some suggestions, but only you can decide what the right financial move will be. And just because something works for you, doesn’t mean it’ll work for someone else.

Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, let’s dive in! There are a ton of options out there, so it all depends on your financial goals.  

Donate Your Check to Charity

I’m so happy to hear that you’re doing well financial-wise! As you probably know, there are a lot of people out there who are struggling in our current economic climate. 

So if you feel like you’re financially secure, and you want to do something to help those who aren’t, you could donate your stimulus check to a charity dedicated to coronavirus relief. Here are a few:

If you want to take a look at other charities or funds to donate to, you have plenty of options. But a quick word of warning—unfortunately, there are some people who take advantage of others by creating COVID-19 charity scams. So before you donate to a charity, do some research and make sure it’s legitimate. The CDC and local Public Health Departments have lists of related charities available as well.

Put Your Check In a Savings Account

Sure, you might be doing pretty well right now financially. And I hope things will stay that way! But the reality is that, especially when we’re in the middle of a global pandemic, things could change pretty quickly. To prepare for any unexpected expenses that could pop up, you might want to put your stimulus check in your savings.

If you have a savings account with a great interest rate, I suggest putting your stimulus check there. But if your savings account has a less-than-ideal interest rate, it might be worth taking a look at a high-interest savings account. These accounts give you a higher interest rate than your typical savings account.

Help Keep Small Local Businesses Running

As you probably know, there are a ton of small businesses that are struggling right now. Sadly, stay-at-home orders mean a significant dip in customers for businesses. Luckily, there are a few things you can put your stimulus check towards to help support small businesses at home. Here are a few ideas:

  • Buy a gift card. Whether it’s for a little boutique, a local nursery or your favorite music store, you can grab one of their gift cards. Most stores offer them online, but if they don’t, you could call to see you can purchase one over the phone. Keep the gift card for yourself or pass it off to a friend for a birthday. 
  • Order takeout. Thanks to apps like Grubhub, Uber Eats and DoorDash, you can still enjoy your favorite restaurants without leaving your apartment. Honestly, what would we do without technology? 
  • Don’t cancel appointments—reschedule. It can be tempting to cancel any future appointments right now. But canceling them completely means that your local hair or nail salon loses guaranteed income. So instead, reschedule them for a couple of months out. If you’re still quarantined by the time the appointment rolls around, you can reschedule it again.
  • Keep your eyes peeled. A lot of small businesses are coming up with creative ways to stay in business. Make sure to follow your local businesses on social media to keep track of their promotions or offers, or just contact them directly. 

Use Your Stimulus Check to Invest

If you want to use your stimulus check to prepare for the future, you might want to look into investing. While the stock market has certainly seen better days, there are other ways you can invest. Here are some ideas:

  • Contribute to your 401k. It’s never too late to start preparing for retirement. That’s where your 401k comes in. Putting your stimulus check towards your 401k is a great way to get ready for your future. Plus, if you need that money now instead of later, you can make a withdrawal
  • Start an individual retirement account. If you’re looking for investment options beyond a 401k, it might be worth looking into an individual retirement account, or IRA. An IRA will give you more investment options than a 401k. You could have an IRA anda 401k, or you could use your IRA to replace your 401k.

Like I said, take a look at your finances before you make your next financial move. And don’t forget to plan for the future! I hope you and your family are staying well and surviving quarantine.

Stay well,


Disclaimer: Credit Tips with Tiff provides credit tips and suggestions for you to make the most of your money. Given the quantity of questions we receive daily, we are able to answer only select questions. Your email is not guaranteed a response. We reserve the right to edit and publish questions. If your question is chosen, your identity will remain anonymous. We are not financial experts. If you are in need of specific financial help, please seek the advice of a professional.

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team