June 20, 2018
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Economic Stimulus Plan- Tax Rebate Check

Whether you get a rebate check, a bonus check, inheritance, or a gift of money, the million dollar question is: what would you do if someone handed you $500 or $1000? Shopping may be fun; after all, you deserve those comfortable, designer shoes and your kids have been hounding you for a Nintendo Wii. But many of us operate paycheck to paycheck and use credit cards every day. Consumer debt has been on the rise, as you may know, and has doubled in the last 10 years. Instead of giving in to the shopping temptation, you may want to put your own economic stimulus plan into action. Here’s a list of strategies to consider:


1.      Get control of your bills—take a closer look at your essential bills, such as gas, electric, phone, internet, and water. Most utility companies offer various billing plans that are designed to save consumers money or can help balance a household budget. Find out if prepayment plans, budget billing plans, or others like that are available in your area. The benefits of this can far outweigh the temporary high of buying consumer goods.

2.      Pay down credit card debt—unfortunately, many of us carry balances over from month to month. It’s time to really tackle it and get rid of it, saving you hundreds of dollars in interest fees. Paying more than the minimum payment will give you the chance to really make significant strides to eliminate the debt.

3.      Invest in your future—thought about your retirement lately? Unfortunately, this is definitely one of the most neglected, yet essential, financial tasks. Make a contribution to your 401(k) and get a tax break as well. If you don’t have one, look into opening a traditional retirement account or a Roth IRA.

4.      Invest in yourself—everyone can benefit from a job-skills upgrade. Taking a class or two to improve your computer skills or to obtain a certification in a new program can give you that extra boost or competitive edge to help you get that raise you’ve been hoping for. Check into university extension programs, community colleges, and even online degree programs.

5.      Maintain your vehicle—have you been putting off those new tires, just now wanting to spend the money? Regular maintenance can actually save you money in the long run. Bad tires or alignment can increase your fuel costs. Without question, a well maintained vehicle is more reliable and safer.

6.      Give your mortgage a boost—if you’re among the many Americans who have a home equity line of credit, put your extra money towards this debt. Or, consider making extra payments on your primary mortgage. Even paying an extra $100 per month towards the principal can save you thousands of dollars in interest over the term of the loan and will pay off your mortgage years earlier.

7.      Maintain your house—do you have an old furnace? Why not trade it in for a new, more energy efficient model? Or upgrade your old washing machine for one that uses less water. New appliances could reduce your utility bills and save you money.

8.      Start a good, old fashioned savings account—although it’s not as exciting as going shopping, opening up a savings account will, in the long run, give you a real sense of accomplishment. It’s just what you need to motivate you to make consistent, monthly deposits.



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