Congressional Democrats and the Biden administration marketed the $1.9 trillion “American Rescue Plan” as a way to help Americans in financial need after a year of government-induced lockdowns, purposefully leaving out people they believed should not benefit from the extra funds.
Now that the same government that encouraged a widespread economic shutdown has allocated Americans’ own money back to them by passing a bill that costs taxpayers more than they will ever get back in stimulus checks, people are speculating how they will spend their new money.
As some have already pointed out, there are beneficial ways to spend that stimulus “hush money,” such as buying necessities (food, water, shelter), purchasing guns, and paying off any outstanding debts. Others, however, are in full splurge mode, showing that the trillion dollars showered on Americans didn’t just go to those who desperately needed it or would use it for practical purposes.
I don’t qualify for the stimulus but if you do don’t let anyone shame you into using it however you damn please.
If you want to buy a new TV or blow it all on shoes. Do it. If you want to pay bills. Do it. If you want to save. Do it.
It’s your money. Do what you want with it.
— Panayiota Bertzikis (she/her) (@panayiotab) March 17, 2021
The Stimmy is for whatever tf ppl want it to be for. Red Lobster, Jordans, weed, vacations, sex…whatever ppl want it to be for. https://t.co/7Xe5KLsQVz
— Reagan Gomez (@ReaganGomez) March 21, 2021
A 2-year-old boy in Kentucky died this week after he overdosed on fentanyl his mother bought with her stimulus check. The toddler reportedly ingested some of the synthetic opioid while the 33-year-old woman slept off the dose she took a shot of earlier in the day, the police report stated.
During the first round of stimulus in 2020, approximately 24 million Americans used their check from the government on alcohol, tobacco, or drugs, sparking concerns about a potential rise in overdoses and addiction in vulnerable communities. While some areas of the country are no longer subject to prolonged lockdowns and strict orders to isolate, people who work in the drug market expect the same rise in purchases to continue shortly after the most recent stimulus check hit bank accounts and pockets.
— Alan Brochstein, CFA (@Invest420) March 17, 2021
While some Americans already opted to spend their stimulus money on physical products, others chose to blow through their $1,400 checks by placing bets on teams in the NCAA’s March Madness basketball tournament or attending the games in-person.
My stimulus check The BigTen
Gone after only a week in March
— Annie Agar (@AnnieAgar) March 22, 2021
The stimulus check is scheduled to hit the bank account Wednesday night.
NCAA Tournament begins Thursday morning.
Me on the way to the sports book: pic.twitter.com/9u3Pp6BULB
— Anthony Cardenas (@SportsByTone) March 17, 2021
I broke the rules with my stimulus and bought tickets to the 1st round of the NCAA Tournament for $300.. Spending money on experiences is okay if it’s justified.
— Doug | Discipline Investor (@FinishingRich) March 18, 2021
This is an especially poor choice because not only are there no concrete returns or benefits if a gamble is wrong, but the chances of creating a perfect bracket that will rake in tons of money are insanely low. According to the NCAA, there is a 1 in 120.2 billion chance of someone with knowledge of basketball creating absolutely flawless predictions. Those chances plummet to a one in 9,223,372,036,854,775,808 chance of creating a perfect bracket if someone merely guesses about the outcomes of each team each round.
After a year of being forced to stay home, many Americans would love some time off to relax, and the latest stimulus payments are doing just that for people who received the money and are not struggling to feed their families every day.
CNBC highlighted one of these Americans, 47-year-old Katie Kopiec, who said that because she took no hits to her income over the last year, she is planning on using the money for a trip to Tennessee.
“To us, this means something extra for everything we’ve lost in this awful year,” she said.
She is not alone. Multiple Twitter users said they used their stimulus checks to fund their vacations.
— Kate Bieri KVIA ABC-7 (@KateBieri) March 18, 2021
So I used my stimulus for a vacation. I need to treat myself 😎 pic.twitter.com/sH17cJp4HO
— cruzzz (@claricecruz16) March 19, 2021
I love that I was able to spend that whole stimulus on the vacation we planned out and not have to worry about it
Thanks gov for the lil bonus lol
— Jei (@TheGlamPlan) March 17, 2021
In 2020, Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois said Congress did not start considering stimulus bills to fund peoples’ vacations.
"The money should go for the workers and get the economy back on its feet," Sen. Durbin says about the coronavirus stimulus. "We're not trying to find some vacation hideaway for someone to buy because we've come up with this package."https://t.co/zayp5dFMvk
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 24, 2020
Other Unnecessary Things
Other honorable mentions in the dumb things to fund with stimulus money include…
Big Tech products:
Bought myself a Fire 10 Tablet and an Apple Watch with my stimulus money. For being an essential worker this entire time and not being treated as such. I think I deserve it 🤷🏼♀️
— Anna 🍌 (@_anna_conda) March 17, 2021
and home decor:
Received my stimulus money today. My first thought was, “I’m going to buy some new curtains!”
I have a wild lifestyle.
— Katherine Klingseis (@Katkling) March 17, 2021