Fine print, Living with credit

Rebate, refund — show me the money

Julie Sherrier

In May, I will finally sleep better. Why wait until May, you ask? Because that’s when I hope to reduce my credit card balance considerably. I base this hope on the payment schedules recently released by the IRS for both the stimulus rebate check and IRS tax refunds.

Between my tax refund and that oh-so-anticipated stimulus check being automatically deposited in my checking accounts by early May, the balance on my way-too-high Visa card should be close to being paid off — that and the small, but high-interest, balance on my Home Depot store card.

I am not a big supporter of this whole economic stimulus package, but I don’t think that I can persuade the government to seek alternative methods to boost the economy at this point in time. So, I await my check. After enjoying those initial “What can I buy?” thoughts (specifically, I have been thinking of a 1080p 42-inch Samsung flat-panel LCD TV), I realized that the money will be best spent paying down debt. A combination of unforeseen events over the past 18 months (new tires, emergency vet visits, last-minute travel, etc.) drove up my balance and I couldn’t pay it off every month.

Happily, I discovered that since I filed my tax return electronically, I will be one of the first recipients of the stimulus payments. Plus, since I e-filed, my tax refund should arrive in two weeks. Not one to keep the good news to myself, I offered to e-file my technologically challenged, senior citizen mother’s 1040A so that she, too, can receive her stimulus payment as soon as possible.

Seniors who are just living off of Social Security have been instructed to file a 1040A form — even if they wouldn’t normally have to file a return — to get their stimulus check. The IRS has posted instructions on the exact steps to take to get the stimulus check for people who wouldn’t normally have to file a return, including some disabled veterans, low-wage workers, military personnel and others.

Whether you are getting $300, $900, $1,200 or more, the wisest thing to do with that money is to pay off debt, despite what the president tells you to do with the money. In fact, according to a recent poll, half of Americans plan to either pay down debt or put the money in savings. Here are some suggestions on wise ways to spend the money. If you are debt-free, lucky you. Here are 10 wacky ways to spend the money.


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  • Helen

    I got my refund yesterday…I’ve already spent it on bills, too…How exactly will the rebate checks stimulate the economy and create jobs when almost everybody I know is paying off some kind of debt with the money?