Where My Stimulus Payment is (Probably) Going

This past week, my bank account was “stimulated” with funds from the federal government. That development came after days of me encountering frustratingly vague errors on the IRS’s “Get my payment” page, followed by another week of waiting to see when my deposit was expected. Thankfully, my wife and I are not among the millions of Americans who have recently found themselves unemployed. As a result, we weren’t exactly in dire need of this money (and can only imagine what would have happened if we were). In any case, given our circumstances, what will we be doing with our stimulus funds?

Use #1: Taxes

Yes, ironically, it’s quite possible that my wife and I will turn around and give at least a portion of these funds right back to the IRS. That’s because we have yet to file our annual tax returns for 2019 (thanks to the extension that pushed the deadline to July) and — being freelancers — we’ll likely end up owing something, despite making quarterly payments. Incidentally, it was likely the fact that we owed on our 2018 taxes that caused the errors I was encountering on the IRS site to begin with, as they didn’t have our direct deposit information because we weren’t getting a refund. C’est la vie.

Use #2: Retirement account contribution

Right before the COVID-19 crisis kicked into high gear, we had actually set aside the funds to max out our Roth IRA and planned on transferring them in the coming days. Well, between my wife’s injury that left us $6,500 lighter and the fear that our finances might be impacted by the pandemic, we’ve held off on that contribution so far. Thankfully, when the IRS delayed the tax-filing deadline to July, they also made it so that contributions made before the new date could be applied to the 2019 tax year. Therefore, with the extra cash on hand, we can now feel more comfortable about making that transfer after all.

Use #3: Supporting local businesses

Finally, while the above uses will likely take the bulk of our payment, we do intend on putting at least some of the cash into the local economy — you know, as some sort of “stimulus.” In fact, we’ve already partially started this initiative by taking a break from our go-to Starbucks and, instead, ordering coffee (bottled cold brew and some whole bean blends) from a couple of small shops in our area. And while we have still visited some national chain restaurants during this crisis, we’ve also still made an effort to pay visits to our local favorites as well. Plus, with more businesses in our area now starting to reopen, we plan on shopping small in the weeks and months ahead. Really, it’s the absolute least we can do.

While the past couple of months have led to some loss of income for us, the impacts have certainly been nowhere near what some are experiencing at this time. Because of this, we do have a few choices to make regarding how to best use our stimulus funds. Ultimately, while paying taxes or savings for retirement might not be the most fun uses of this extra cash, it’s a blessing to even have such options. Meanwhile, earmarking a portion of the money to splurge on goods from local businesses seems like a win-win as well. But enough about me — how will you (assuming you received any) be spending your stimulus funds?


Kyle Burbank

Kyle is a freelance writer and author whose first book, "The E-Ticket Life" is now available on Amazon. In addition to his weekly "Money at 30" column on Dyer News, he is also the editorial director and a writer for the Disney fan site LaughingPlace.com and the founder of Money@30.com.

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