Long time no blog! I am using this time of quarantine as a way to get reacquainted with the wonderful habit of journaling and blogging with a first person voice, keeping you and me entertained in the process. You may feel like you have missed a few episodes, or rather a whole season! I will try to catch up as we go. In the meanwhile, stay safe and wash your hands 🙂
It is almost mid May and by now, most people in the U.S. have received their stimulus check. $1,200 per person and $500 per child under 17, that is supposed to help everyone that is getting their hour cut at work, or is unemployed.
Plus the extra $600 per week for unemployment. If you were making minimum wage, that’s pretty neat, you are now making $15 per hour on unemployment, without having to pay for childcare or filling up your tank.
Tax refunds also came in a month or so ago, so let’s assume most of you are sitting on some cash right now. What should you do?
First, pay of high interest debt, if you have any. My credit card company in the U.K. just canceled a card I hadn’t used in a long time, and it’s going to be tough to get more credit as I don’t live there anymore, so be careful with your credit.
Then, pay off your obligations. It’s not because the government said it’s ok to not pay rent that it is. You will still owe it at the end. In a place like San Diego where a 1 bedroom is $2,000, that means you’ll have to come up with $10,000 if you miss five payments. So no joke, pay your bills, prepay them even, so the money doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.
If you have a surplus, you can invest. I have never been one to tell you what the next stock pick or real estate hotspot will be, but I am all in favor of building a cushion for a rainy day.
Finally, help around. Sending the same amount to everyone is fair in theory, but the truth is, some people need it more than others. Food banks are having a hard time serving everyone. That’s a good place to start if you want to help your community. I have been sending funds to Guatemala to provide food for villagers, and here is a link about it if you would like to help as well. We raised over $500 thanks to some awesome readers!
Reaching out to a community leader, like your mayor, pastor, anyone who is tuned to the pulse of your community will tell you where your funds will have the most impact.
My community of Coronado Island is one of the wealthiest in California. But there are still neighbors in need, for example I walk the dog of my 80 something year old neighbor who can’t go out. Some kids are helping other elderly residents set up Zoom accounts so they can talk to their loved ones.
The question of putting back your stimulus check into the economy or saving it is an interesting one. If you are a saver at heart but want to help, aside from giving to non profits, you can also buy gift cards for shops you frequent regularly, so they have your cash, but you aren’t buying things you don’t need right now.
I like the idea of giving work. My neighbors are hiring kids to do yard work. My work projects in Guatemala aren’t things I NEED done right this second, but the workers need the income.
So if you can do without your stimulus check, try to find a way to do some good!