What's the best way to spend your stimulus money? And how do you know when you'll get it?

Posted at 10:06 PM, Apr 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-14 00:06:17-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utahns are beginning to see the federal stimulus check arrive in their bank accounts.

Many Americans are logging into their bank accounts, and repeatedly refreshing as they await the +$1200 transaction.

"I actually was in the middle of doing work, and I got a notification on my phone that I had a direct deposit from the US Treasury," said Ogden resident Jenniver Escobar.

She was among the first batch in Utah to get the federal stimulus money. It's money that she'll immediately put to good use.

"As soon as this money came in, I called my son's dentist office, and set up an appointment so he can get his teeth worked on," she said. "Because he has been in quite a bit of pain."

Aside from health and daily life needs, if the stimulus provides and extra cash boost for you, where you spend it can make a difference in keeping local businesses afloat. That's according to the State of Utah Governor's Office of Economic Development (GOED) and the Salt Lake Chamber.

"I would encourage people to sit down and ask themselves, what's really important?" said Val Hale, GOED's Executive Director. "What can we do with this money? And if we don't need it right now, if it's not something we have to use for our immediate expenses, where do we want to make a difference?"

Hale suggested helping your favorite local business-- whether that's a restaurant, retailer or other small shop.

Derek Miller, President and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce, suggested buying takeout or curbside pickup from a local restaurant three times a week.

He and Hale both recommended buying gift cards for a favorite local business, or seeing if that business has online purchases available.

If a business is temporarily closed, Hale said it may not be a bad idea to hang on to some of the money to use when that business opens back up.

Miller also brought up the idea of donating to a nonprofit. He specifically mentioned the Utah arts community.

"There are a lot of events that are canceled right now," Miller said. "And we would request that people either consider donating the price of their ticket that may have been canceled to that nonprofit."

Or he said, they would request that people renew their season tickets and annual subscriptions to those organizations.

If that money has yet to drop into your account, Jennifer explained the important step she took first before receiving the stimulus.

There's no way to know when it'll arrive, but there is a way to know if the IRS has the correct way to send it to you.

"I went and looked at my tax returns from 2019, and I looked at the bank information to make sure that it was still the current bank that I'm using," she said.

Make sure your direct deposit information is current, by looking at last year's tax returns.

If it's not, click here to update that information with the IRS when the form becomes available.

That way you can go forth, and find the best use of those funds.