7 Ways To Spend Your Economic Stimulus Payment


Beginning this week, the IRS will begin distributing Economic Stimulus Payments (or “tax rebates”) to 130 million households. If you made more than $3,000 & filed your taxes last year, you’re getting one. Single people can expect $600. Married folk: $1200 + $300 per child. That’s a significant chunk of change.

“So what do I do with this money?”

Well, the #1 thing to remember is embedded in the name: Economic Stimulus. The only reason you are getting this money is to stimulate the U.S. Economy, which, as you might have heard, hasn’t been rolling so hot lately. So, how do you help jump start the economy?

By spending this money!

Eliminate all thoughts in your mind of using this cash to: pay your credit card bills, reduce your student loans, or put it into savings or investments. Erase, erase! Do not be one of the many fools here, who freely admit to using their checks to pay off debt, knowing it will do nothing to help the Economy.

Saving: bad
Spending: good

OK, got it.
So… what should I spend my Economic Stimulus Payment on?

Well, if you know me, you know naturally I can recommend a number of electronic products… and do. Read on.

The first thing that came to my mind when I saw the amounts of the disbursements:

Flat Screen HDTV
$600 will get you a decent 32″ LCD TV, while families getting $1200, $1500 or more can expect to find a 42″ screen or maybe even a highly-rated Samsung 46″ 1080p set!

For those of you sticking with the old 13-19″ tube in the kitchen (like myself), you’ll probably need to pick up a converter box for the coming switchover to digital broadcasts. Head to DTV2009.org to pick up a $40 off coupon.

Already have an HDTV? Then start taking full advantage of it and watch movies like you’ve never seen them with an LG Blu-Ray / HD DVD combo player.

New Computer
Most people I know are still suffering with a decrepit 4+ year old computer, still deemed “good enough” because it seems to still turn on. Never mind the excruciating waits to do… mmm, just about anything. Well, to me, time is money, and a new computer will help you save more time than you realize every time you use it.

$1299 will net you a very nice Toshiba laptop with 17″ HD widescreen, DVD burner, WiFi, Bluetooth, Vista, etc. For desktops, the specs on this HP Pavilion Elite are hard to beat. Or, your $600 can get you in front of my favorite productivity enhancer: a top-of-the-line Dell 24″ widescreen LCD monitor.

Heck, you could even go to the dark side (ha) and pick up an all-in-one 20″ iMac! ($1200)

Electronic Book Reader
Are you a book hound? Amazon’s new Kindle Wireless Reader lets you store hundreds of books, magazines and newspapers “at your fingertips” (I hate that phrase, but hey I guess it’s appropriate here). At $399, you can pick up a Kindle, extra charger, a case, and still have plenty left over to purchase digital books.

The Microsoft XBox 360 Elite or Sony PlayStation 3 consoles can each be had for $450-$550. Upgrade to High-Definition gaming, courtesy of Uncle Sam.

By the by, just a reminder: Do Not Save This Money!!
Right. Now, back to the recommendations…

Digital Camera
Stop taking pictures, start taking photographs. The lowest cost Digital SLR will take better photos than the most expensive digital camera every time. The Nikon D40 is, quite simply, the perfect first D-SLR – available for under $500. For those expecting $1200+, the Nikon D40X (<$1000) is a worthy 10MP upgrade.

Use the balance for needed accessories like a quality case & large high-speed memory card. Or for beautifully-lit indoor shots (see my gallery), a Speedlight flash.

MP3 Player
There is still only one MP3 player to consider, the Cadillac of digital audio — the iPod. For the latest technology, with touchscreen, WiFi browsing & email, pickup a 16GB iPod Touch. If you want a device that can store every song you will ever own, the 160GB(!) iPod Classic is for you.

Besides gadgets, here’s a great way to spend free money, add convenience to your life and increase the value of your home! I’m sure everyone reading this could use a new: stainless steel refrigerator, quiet new dishwasher, or convection oven.

Around the house, a good generator is great to have on hand for convenience or emergency. Treat your floors to a brand new Dyson vacuum cleaner. Guys, you know there’s any number of power tools to be upgraded. And ladies, there’s any number of jewelry pieces to be upgraded as well.

No matter what you choose to do with your money, spend it, and spend it wisely. Most importantly, be sure to enjoy it. For example, set aside a few sheckles to hire a babysitter and take the wife/husband out to that Stephen Starr restaurant downtown Friday night. Splurge for Premium next time you’re at the pump (just to see if it makes any difference). Or get the real Crispix cereal, not that dusty bag of “Crispy Hexagons”.

A lot of time went into writing & planning this article. If you’re interested in any of the above products, consider purchasing them via the above links, and help support Sean-O.com. If you’re interested in something similar to what’s been featured here, drop me a line, and I’ll try and help you get what’s best for you.

If you’ve found these recommendations worthwhile,
pass this article along to a friend.

Thanks! And hey, most importantly… when is my money coming?!

Join the Conversation


  1. To _really_ stimulate the US economy… be careful to find products that are made-in-the-usa… like Allen Edmonds high-quality shoes… made in the Great State of Wisconsin (and worn by Presidents of the USA). Ah, they’re sold on Amazon, too! With good arch support, FTW.

  2. Love the comments Sean! But I was thinking about doing something to stimulate ME, like gambling on Midget Wars or renting a clown for a weekend.( Can you tell Dave Attell influenced me to write this?)

  3. For all of you who want to grow your rebate without investments please DO go to the Casino or buy many, many, Powerball tickets…Yeah, that’s the ticket!

  4. I don’t know ’bout you. But now that this check is on the way…. I think I’m finally going to be able to invest in those proposals that I’ve recently received from Nigeria.

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