Consumers economy

Easy Come, (Not So) Easy Go


In early March, Senate Democrats pushed a $1.9 trillion Covid relief bill in a party-line vote through budget reconciliation. A large portion – $410 billion – of that hefty price tag was allocated to $1,400 stimulus checks sent to eligible Americans.


As of early April, 67% of Americans report their household has received a stimulus check. Among those who haven’t received a dime, the majority (60%) believe they are eligible to receive a check. In unrelated news, USPS workers have noticed a dramatic increase in the number of greetings at mailboxes nationwide.


With all that extra dough burning a hole in pockets across the country, what lavish spending sprees are Americans engaging in? More than one in three American adults (36%) immediately hit the “Transfer to Savings Account” option on their banking apps – representing a plurality of recipients. Hard to say whether they’re stashing their stimulus checks in a rainy-day fund or saving up for a Tesla.


However, for the average American, stimulus checks represent a much-needed injection of cash. More than half of stimulus checks (51%) are being allocated to tackling already accumulated debt, keeping the lights on and a roof overhead, putting food on the table, and paying for transportation.


Compared to 11 months earlier, Americans are spending more of their government-issued checks on paying off debt (13% in 2020 vs. 17% in 2021) and less money on food or other essentials (14% in 2020 vs. 9% in 2021). Either the pandemic diaper prices have plummeted or Americans are adopting the Top Ramen-for-dinner college lifestyle in lean times.