Since the start of the pandemic, many Americans have received stimulus checks. While the money offered needed relief for many people struggling financially, others who have been able to work through the pandemic felt the extra cash could be better used elsewhere. Here are a few ideas for how to use your check to give yourself or others a much-needed boost:

    1. Donate your check
      If you’re doing well financially, passing along your stimulus check to others could be a great way to spread the money around. You may consider making donations to pandemic relief funds, mutual aid organizations, and small businesses within your community.
    2. Support local businesses
      Buy a gift card for a local restaurant or other small business that has been forced to close or scale back operations because of the coronavirus pandemic. That will provide the business with much-needed cash during the slow time, and you can use the gift card to treat yourself to a nice meal or massage when the pandemic is behind us.
    3. Build up an emergency fund
      For anyone without a full emergency fund, the stimulus check could be a good opportunity to increase that safety net against uncertainty. Financial planners generally recommend keeping three to six months’ worth of expenses at hand in a savings account — and more might also help you feel more secure.
    4. Pay off high interest debt
      Interest rates are low for student loans, mortgages and bank savings accounts, but if you’re carrying credit card debt, you’re probably paying upwards of 15%. You can free up a lot of cash by paying off those cards.
    5. Save for retirement
      Putting your coronavirus funds into the market gives you the opportunity to turn the stimulus payment into a lot more money over time.
    6. Start your own business
      If you have an idea for a product or service likely to be in demand, consider using your stimulus funds to get a new business off the ground.
      The money could also be seed capital to start a company you’ve long dreamed of opening. While $1,400 may not seem like a lot, you often don’t need much to open your doors. And your check may be even bigger if you have dependents or a spouse, so your new company could have a real influx of start-up cash.