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11 Ways to Stretch Your Stimulus Check

March 18, 2021

Stimulus checks are hitting bank accounts all over the nation.

Couple shopping together in grocery store

Many will put that extra money straight into rent or groceries, but others may be wondering how best to stretch that added income. Here are 11 solid suggestions.

  1. Start an emergency fund. You may find when you put the stimulus money into a savings account that you don’t need to pull it out. And there it will sit, adding dividends and growing. At RCU, you can go online and add your own new savings account designations. Create one called “emergency fund,” and stick all or part of your stimulus money in there. What a relief to know it’s there if you need it for car repairs, medical bills, or other unexpected expenses.
  2. Pay bills. Sounds dull, but if you can eliminate some of the stress you feel with those bills hanging over your head, you’ll feel better. Pay down a credit card balance or get rid of an overdue bill.
  3. Pay down your loan. At RCU, there’s no prepayment penalty on your mortgage, auto, or personal loans. Choose an amount you feel good about and make an extra payment toward the principal part of your loan. Or refinance your auto loan or mortgage. You’ll save some interest and may even pay off your loan early.
  4. Tune up your car. Chances are your car has been driven less than usual if you’re not going out or commuting to work. Turns out cars don’t love that. Take your vehicle in for a tune-up now so it’s running in tip-top shape when you need it.
  5. Invest in your home. Whether you rent or own, investing in your home space can add to your comfort and enjoyment. Is there a kitchen gadget you’ve been wanting? Maybe a repair you’ve been putting off? Use some of your stimulus money on this and enjoy the benefits into the future.
  6. Buy extra nonperishable groceries. Stock up now and if you have a tight week or month later, you can shop in your own pantry and save on the grocery bill.
  7. Start or add to a college savings fund. As with the emergency fund, you can designate an RCU savings account as “college” and begin placing money in there. Or chat with someone in investment services about a 529 plan, designed specifically for college savings, that can offer federal and state tax benefits. Get started here.
  8. Open a youth savings account. Give a portion of the stimulus payment to your child to open a youth savings account. You can do it together from the comfort of your home. Visit and click Open an Account. Your child may not realize the value of this right away, but we’ll help in fun and informative ways—like ur quarterly statement newsletters—and the benefits will last a lifetime.
  9. Eat out (or get delivery from) your favorite restaurant. Your local restaurants have had a rough year. If you want to make sure your favorite places are there for years to come, give them some love in the form of orders and tips!
  10. Fix up your work area. If you’re working from home, it may be time to invest in your work space. Have you been wanting a sit/stand desk? Now may be the time. Do you need a new chair? Get an ergonomic one that helps keep your body well aligned.
  11. Make a donation. Many organizations have been forced to cancel their big fundraisers this past year and they can really use some help. If you can, donate a portion of your stimulus money to help keep your community strong.

When your stimulus money arrives (if it hasn’t already), give some thought to where the cash will have the biggest impact and how you can most effectively use the funds. If you have any questions, we’re here to help. Visit this page to see the many ways you can get in touch with us.