As part of the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, many Americans will soon start receiving economic impact payments from the federal government. Eligible taxpayers will automatically receive a payment of up to $1,200 for individuals or $2,400 for married couples and up to $500 for each qualifying child.
The economic impact payments, also referred to as stimulus payments, are intended to reignite the economy by providing consumers with spending money. When taxpayers spend this money, it helps boost consumption and drive revenues at retailers and manufacturers, thus stimulating the economy.
What should I do with my stimulus payment?
For some, the stimulus payment will help pay for immediate needs, whether that’s food, shelter, or health care. Here are some other ways to make the most of your economic impact payment.
- Spend it locally. Buy a gift card from a local business that’s been affected by the pandemic. Or order takeout or delivery from a restaurant that’s had to cut hours and services.
- Beef up your emergency fund. Most financial experts recommend between three and six months of living expenses in your emergency fund. In these challenging times, it’s a good idea to set some money aside. If you don’t have an emergency fund, now is a good time to start one. You can easily open a savings account online to keep your emergency fund separate from money you spend every day.
- Pay off debt. If you have a steady income and an emergency fund, consider tackling high-interest debt such as a credit card. If you have a smaller debt that could be paid in full, that’s also a good option. You may be tempted to put your stimulus payment toward student loan debt but consider holding off for now to see if Congress offers student-debt relief.
- Invest it. You know the old saying buy low, sell high? Talk with your financial advisor about smart investment options.
- Donate it. If you don’t need the money, there are certainly people in your community who do. Consider donating your stimulus payment to a hunger-related program, pet shelter, or local nonprofit organization that helps workers or people feeling the impact of Coronavirus. Health care providers need personal protective equipment, and a number of nonprofits are raising money to support medical professionals. Just be sure to do your research before donating to an organization you are unfamiliar with.
There are many ways to deposit or move your stimulus money around if you have a First Interstate checking or savings account:
- If you receive your stimulus payment via direct deposit, use Popmoney to pay others via Online Banking or our Mobile Banking app.
- Connect your account to Apple Pay, Samsung Pay, or Google Pay to make spending convenient.
- If you receive a check in the mail, deposit it at any of our drive-up locations Monday through Friday until 4 p.m.
- Depending on the size of the check, you can deposit your money from your smartphone using the Mobile Banking app.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) urges taxpayers to be on the lookout for scam artists trying to use economic impact payments as a cover for schemes to steal personal information and money. Remember, the IRS will not call, text, email, or contact you on social media asking for personal or bank account information. Also, watch out for emails with attachments or links claiming to have special information about economic impact payments or refunds.
Be sure and check out the IRS Economic Impact Payments: What You Need to Know web page for updates regarding economic impact payment calculations, timing of payments, and more.