Checks are in the mail! Whether any of us liked it or not, allocations have been made and $600 dollar stimulus checks are hitting accounts all over the country. I could spend a good bit of time ranting about the impacts to fiscal policy this has but I’ll save it (maybe for next week, lucky you). There are still millions of people in our country out of work that need support. This is a small drop in a large bucket, but can still be put to good use. If you’re like me and are fortunate to not have been out of work due to COVID, the question is what do I do with this money? Here are the two things I’m doing that you should consider.
Paying Off Debt
While I advocate against credit cards heavily, I do use them. I fall victim every year to use my credit card around Christmas to get gifts and take care of related travel expenses. I’m going to consider it my civic duty to help stimulate the economy by buying one more of those Christmas popcorn tins (you know the caramel, cheese, and traditional one you always end up with like four of? Pro tip: Fill a bowl with the cheese corn and add one kernel of caramel for every 5 of cheese - the combination is heavenly). Anyway,
I racked up some debt over the last month though! A chunk of my stimulus check is going to be going towards paying that off. Interest is your worst enemy. Carrying a balance month after month just means more money you are paying long term to provide yourself with short term needs. I would look through what debts you have and find something that’s been bothering you for a while to pay off. Rip the band aid off and do it. You’ll feel better. You weren’t counting on this money coming so this is the perfect opportunity to give a name to this money BEFORE you get it (hopefully). Waiting for it to hit your account means it will get lost in “other expenses” like popcorn tins.
A Self-Improvement Item
The second thing I’m doing with the remainder of my stimulus check is doing something for me. No not that kind of for me; I’m not buying a new gadget or toy to give me five minutes of satisfaction. No I’m spending it becoming a better me! Everyone loves self improvement around this time of year right? Its January 11 and I know there are some of us struggling with our “resolutions”. Use the money on something that helps your resolution. I spent the money building my own website!
But how is a website something that makes you better? Part of a life change I committed to late last year was just to start things I’ve talked about but never done. I had deliberated about starting a finance newsletter for a good year before I actually started. I’m sick of being all talk and no walk. This newsletter was the first step of my walk. The second step was starting my website to not only be an extension of this newsletter but to put myself out in public - start building public accountability for things I’m doing. Both of these are concrete positive changes for me.
The money required to start this was minimal! I bought a website name from Google for $12 for a year and also bought a hosting site to build it which was around $150 for the year. Not only have I made the financial commitment to this, but I’ve committed myself publicly to the goals I’m working to accomplish. Talk about accountability. (If you’re interested in checking out my site or reading more from me, you can check it out here https://brockbriggs.com)
What You Should Do
All of this is not to say you should spend your money on building a website. What I am suggesting is finding something you can purchase that trains you or better equips you to pursue your goals. Money is a regular excuse as to why improvement can’t be achieved. This is your chance to step over that hurdle and do something.
Maybe that money is best put to use in a gym membership or book. Gym memberships are cheap these days - commit to it buying a year or two at a time and then buy some new workout clothes. If you’re looking for a book that will change your life, go read “The Almanack of Naval Ravikant” - there’s a free .pdf copy at navalmanack.com or you can buy the paperbook version on Amazon for $13. I may do an entire issue on this book. It changed my outlook on life and I would give it my highest reccomendation.
Other suggestions may be an online course, taking a real estate licensing exam, or buying the materials to start a side business. Each of those things is something that would move you forward and is more productive than “treating yourself”. Newsflash, you probably don’t deserve to be treated. Put that money to work.
If you pay off a big bill, read a good book, or get something for a side business you’ve been waiting to start, I want to hear about it! You can leave a comment on this post or send me an email directly - I’d love to hear what everyone is doing.
Talk with you all next week