The media has been abuzz in recent past about the economic stimulus checks and what the government wants us to do with them. Stimulate the economy! Go out and spend! The government depends on you using your check wisely – which means spend it! Well, if the government depends on telling me what to do with my money and expecting me to listen, then they should have made alternate plans.
We are not 100% decided about what we will be doing with our check (although we’re pretty close to 100% decided it will pay down another chunk of my spouse’s student loan) but I am already tired of hearing the idea that “the government wants us to spend it”. I’m not opposed to people spending it if they choose to – until we got the good news about my insurance covering my wisdom teeth removal, we were planning on using the check for that. But I’ve never been a fan of gifts with a caveat – the “use this money for x” idea. If you want me to have x, give me x. Don’t give me money and tell me it has to be used for x.
And worse than that, this stimulus check isn’t a gift. It’s my money. I pay taxes, the government has decided to lower taxes next year, and they’re giving some of that money to me now. It’s my money. Don’t tell me what to do with it.
I’m honestly not clear on why paying down debt isn’t stimulating the economy (I’ve never taken an economics class) but regardless if we choose to do that, or we choose to spend it, it is our choice. We have to decide what to do, and we have to live with the consequences. And in deciding what to do, we have to decide what makes the best economic sense for our family as a whole, not what the government thinks is best for us. As I said, it’s our money. I won’t treat it any differently than I would treat any other money that comes into our household, and will use it to further our financial goals and dreams as I do all of our income.
Besides, my brother and his girlfriend are using theirs to go on a cruise. That’s enough stimulating for all of us.