Using Your Stimulus Check For Home Improvements

Using Your Stimulus Check For Home Improvements


When the U.S. Treasury starts sending out economic stimulus package checks this June, the hope is that the billions of dollars of money received by eligible citizens will be poured right back into the economy to give it at least a temporary boost. If you are a politician, you hope that the boost will aid your constituents, some of whom have been hard-pressed to make ends meet over the past year.

At the very least, the checks will aid some political pros as they seek reelection this year. Okay, a bit of a cynical remark on my part, but not too far from the truth!

Although politicians are hoping that you will spend your money, early surveys are indicating that one-quarter of the recipients will put their checks into savings while a near-equal number of citizens will use the funds to pay off debt. The remaining recipients will probably spend their money with some doing it with reckless abandon while others will look at their checks as a special opportunity to spend their money wisely.

If you fall into the latter group of recipients, the following tips can help you get a lot of bang out of every buck received, especially if you own your home:

Pay Down Your Mortgage. If you still owe money on your home, why not consider applying your check to reducing your mortgage burden? Deposit the check in your checking account and send an equal amount of funds to your mortgage lender, stipulating that the funds are to be used to reduce your principle. You could shave several months off of your mortgage term by taking action now.

Start a Home Improvement Project. If you are handy around the house and have considered replacing windows, adding a sliding door or taking on some other small project, you can expect that when the checks start to go out that some hardware stores and home improvement centers will be running terrific sales. They want a piece of the package and the one way to entice you in is by dropping prices. Those $1500 French doors could drop to $1200 just in time for your project to begin.

Hire A Contractor. If you aren’t handy around the home, contractors would love to do the work for you. Those three or four electrical or plumbing issues around your home can be handled in one fell swoop. Use your stimulus check to pay your electrician and plumber and enjoy your new fixtures thanks to the check you will receive.

Each of these three tips do the same thing: add value to your most important investment, which is your home. One thing to keep in mind about the economic stimulus package is that you’ll have to file your 2007 federal tax return in order to qualify. Other rules and restrictions may play in, so visit the IRS’ site for more information.

Why not plan your home improvement project now to see just how far your stimulus check could go? Use a budgeting worksheet to make planning a snap.


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About Author

Matthew C. Keegan

Matt Keegan is a freelance writer and editor as well as publisher of "Matt's Musings", his personal blog. Matt covers campus, consumer, business and financial topics on various websites and blogs, and has been published in the "Houston Chronicle", "Sam's Club Magazine" and "Wisconsin Golfer".