What People Are Spending Their Stimulus Checks On

Disclosure: We’re letting you know that this post contains sponsored links which The Smart Wallet receives compensation for, which may impact their order of appearance because talking about money should always be an honest discussion.

Over 130 million people in the United States have received their stimulus checks by now with payments still being sent or delayed. If you haven’t received yours yet, use the IRS’ Get My Payment tool to check your status.

So how is the check being spent on for those that have received it? 5 million Americans were surveyed with 78% saying it’ll go towards bills and essentials. This should come as no surprise.

9% say they’ll spend it on non-essentials (perhaps they still have a source of income or savings to tap into) and another 9% say they’ll save or invest the money (great idea!).

3% of the people will spend it on Childcare or School and 1% will donate the check to charity (bless them).

Regardless of how you plan to spend your check, it’s now more important than ever to take care of yourself both financially and emotionally. Here are some ways to help boost your financials as well as your mental well-being.

1. Take Control of Your Money When Things Seem Out of Control

Investments are down. 401(k)s are down. As indicative of the red arrows aiming down, things just seem to be out of control during these uncertain times.

There are, however, ways for you to control your money now. Through proper budgeting as well as getting rid of any non-essential subscriptions through Truebill, a free finance app that helps you track your money and offers services to make your life way easier.

Quarantine life is the best time to really go through on what you need, so let Truebill find all your current subscriptions (even ones you forgot about) and have them cancel any for you. They’ll also negotiate for lower bills (like cable, internet, and cellphone bills) and with job insecurities at the moment, knowing that you’re not overpaying for bills is a relief!

In addition, their solid budgeting feature helps everyone see where their money is going and how to handle it. Even if you don’t know how to budget!

2. Have Fun Trying and Playing New Games for Cash

Take a break from scrolling through your feed for updates and relax with some games!

Keep your mind sharp and snappy with these mobile games that actually let you play both for free and for winning cash if you choose to participate in cash tournaments.

Solitaire Cube: Like regular Solitaire but fast-paced and you get to play for cash. Even casual players like Amanda, a stay-at-home mom from IL, won a 55″ TV, $6,000 and more!

21 Blitz: In 3 minutes, make as many 21s as you can within that time or until you run out of moves. It’s a modern take on a classic game where you’re no longer just playing against the dealer but with actual people around the world.

Cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, ME, MT, SC, SD, TN, IN for the above card games.

Blackout Blitz: Ditch the paper sheets and giant stamps in favor of this fast-paced and competitive bingo game. 2 minutes. That’s all you need per game where you play against another person around the world.

CandyPrize: A match 3 puzzle game where you match (aka smash) candies and complete sweet objectives to win money. Earn as many points as you can in 5-minute matches with real players but the game is over when you run out of moves so be strategic as well!

Bubble Shooter: The classic bubble game comes back with a modern twist where you have 3 minutes each game to pop or clear as many bubbles from the board as you can. Cash game winners can win up to $10,000 (no joke).

Dominoes Gold: A different type of puzzle gaming experience that’s not just swapping candies or jewels around. The game follows the popular “Fives” rulebook where you match the ends of the domino tiles and make the ends of the board a multiple of 5. Any leftover tiles after a Domino will be counted as points for the winner of that round.

Cash tournaments aren’t available in AZ, AR, CT, DE, FL, LA, MT, SC, SD, and TN for the above puzzle games.

3. Get Cash Back on Groceries, Delivery, and More Both Online and Off

In a current world where you’re experiencing sold out items and having to limit grocery trips, it’s reassuring to know that you can still get cash back on your purchases both online and in-person.

Since saving is now more important than ever to stretch that budget, use Ibotta for free to further save on the essentials and shopping you need like:

Grocery shopping: Find offers in the app or try something new in your quick grocery trips to Trader Joe’s, Ralph’s, Target, and more. Even get cash back on grocery delivery from Walmart! Get paid after taking a pic of the receipt or linking your Walmart account.

Food delivery: Skip cooking a few times to have your meal delivered with Uber Eats or Grubhub and get cash back.

Online shopping: Just because you’re at home doesn’t mean you can’t treat yourself. Shop through Ibotta to get cash back at 100+ online retailers like Sephora, Under Armour, Gap, and more.

And since contactless payment is ideal over touching cash, use Ibotta’s included feature “Pay with Ibotta” to pay straight from your phone and earn cash back on your purchases instantly too.

Ibotta is free to download and you’ll also get up to $20 in Welcome Bonuses when you sign up!

4. Free Money for Your Grocery Receipts Online, Offline, and Friends

If you’re already using Fetch Rewards, you’re ahead of the game and you know you can scan in any grocery receipt (both online and offline!) to earn points towards free money. Get bonus cash when you refer friends (2,000 points = $2) and your friends will get a bonus too! There’s no limit to referrals.

Take a picture of your receipt with the app as well as connect your email accounts to automatically earn points from your e-receipts from popular retailers like Instacart, Target, Walmart, Costco, and more. Yes, get points for cash for your grocery deliveries!

There’s no minimum spend, no need to manually select items, just scan in any receipt from a store that sells groceries (even if you didn’t actually buy any groceries) and boom, points for money.

Grab a $2 welcome bonus on us (2,000 points) when you use promo code REWARD before scanning your first receipt.

5. Never Overpay for Car Insurance - Save $826 a Year

Let’s talk about the not-so-sexy topic of car insurance. You need it, you have it, but you’re probably overpaying for it. By how much though? It can depend on your car, location, age, and more, but on average you’re probably spending $826/year more than you need to.

You’ll know how much if you use Savvy to check for fast and easy savings. There are no forms to fill out since it uses your existing insurance info, and the system will instantly check for a better deal. It literally takes 30 seconds and they protect your phone number and email from spam.

Once Savvy finds you a better deal and you choose to switch, they’ll help you cancel your old policy, enroll you in the better one, and get a full refund on the unused portion of your prior payments. It’s the simplest and easiest way to get a refund on your overpriced car insurance policy.

6. Make Up to 2.80% Interest On Your Money with Fee-Free Banking

Traditional banks may2 seem to take every opportunity they can to squeeze more money out of you. With everything from a monthly service fee to various hidden fees nibbling away at your account balance. Enter Varo which was founded to provide banking services without the hidden fees.

Yep, Varo has no monthly service fees, no foreign transaction fees, and no ATM withdrawal fees. On top of having no fees, Varo lets you make more money on your money. Varo provides a high-yield savings account that starts at 0.81% Annual Percentage Yield (APY)1 that can move up to 2.80% APY1 based on qualifying activity. To put this into perspective, the average APY of the 5 biggest national banks is 0.09%.*

Varo has a few sweet extra features too:

  • Get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier^
  • No minimum balance requirement
  • Over 55,000+ AllPoint® ATMs worldwide to use your Varo Visa® debit card
  • Offers personal loans to pre-qualified customers who want to consolidate debt
  • Varo will send any paper check to anyone in the U.S. on your behalf
  • “Save the Change” rounds up your purchases to the nearest dollar and saves the difference to your Varo savings account

If you’re sick of being charged banking fees and want to make more out of your money, check out Varo. It takes less than 5 minutes to learn more and apply for free.

7. Stack Your Cash Back Earnings with This App

When the coronavirus outbreak passes and the economy starts to rebound, we can get back to racking up rewards through our credit cards and travel reward programs.

In the meantime, free cash back apps like Drop, offers a practical and rewarding alternative that gives points back for shopping online at all your favorite brands, completing super-quick surveys, and playing fun arcade games in-app.

There’s virtually limitless earning potential and the points you earn turn into free gift cards that you can redeem at places like Amazon, Whole Foods, Target, Uber Eats and so many more. Double-dip on earning points with their Stacked Deals section too.

Here are some of our favorite offers on Drop right now:

  • Uber Eats – 50 points per $1
  • Walmart – 20 points per $1
  • eBay – 5 points per $1
  • Glossier – 80 points per $1
  • Lululemon – 120 points per $1 (limited time 3x boost!)
  • Disney+ – 10,000 points for new members
  • Instacart – 400 points for new members

This app is a no-brainer for anyone looking for new and fun ways to stretch their dollar at home!

Kickstart earnings today by using promo code SMARTWALLET to unlock 10,000 points ($10!!) automatically when you earn your first 1,000 points.

8. Get $5* to Invest in Amazon, Apple, Netflix, and More

Office Manager Sarah investing with $5 / Danny Guinta /*Photo for illustrative purposes only

You might think that investing is complicated. Or that you’ll never get a share of these well-known brands like Apple, Facebook, Spotify, etc., but you can. And you don’t have to be rich either.

That’s because Stash, an investment app, lets you start investing1 with just $1. You can choose where to put your money in and they provide guidance and tools to help you along the way. You can invest in major companies that you use or buy from regularly to make the investing process custom to you. Plus, it’s affordable.

As a bonus, Stash is giving new members $5 for any first investment so create an account to get started.*

9. When Life is Getting Crazier: Refinance Student Loans or Borrow Money Responsibly

We don’t even know what’s going to happen a week from now but anything that can help financially should be considered.

If you have student loans, you can refinance with Credible’s online marketplace that matches you with Federal, private, and/or Parent PLUS personalized loan rates. Since the Federal Reserve has slashed interest rates, it’s the opportune time to refinance which can save you more money over time.

Colleen refinanced, which cut her federal rate down to 4.5% (originally 8%) and that saved her $12,000 over the life of her loan! During these uncertain times, we need to save wherever we can.

Personal loans are also on the marketplace if you need to borrow money to help with medical expenses, home projects, or anything else.

You just fill out one form and get personalized rates in a few minutes. Since it’s a soft credit inquiry, your credit score won’t be affected by using Credible.

10. Flex the Bod: Get Paid to Lose Weight

There’s nothing like money motivation right? Especially for fitness. It’ll also give you something else to do besides being a couch potato and reading about unhappy news.

You might be extra inspired because there’s a health and wellness company that will pay you to lose weight. Seriously!

It’s called HealthyWage .

They have a ton of testimonial/pictures on their site along with legit places reviewing them from CNN, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, etc.

So if you need some money motivation to lose weight, here’s how it works:

1. Start with the HealthyWage calculator (Read More )
2. Decide on a weight goal & amount of time to achieve it
3. Bet on yourself ranging from $20-$150 a month
4. Achieve your goal and you could win up to $10,000 depending on your HealthyWager!
5. If you don’t achieve your goal, the money goes to support HealthyWage, including prizes for others who achieve their goals

11. Protect Your Income When You’re Too Sick to Work

The coronavirus pandemic has added a great deal of uncertainty to everyday life. One way to financially prepare for the unexpected is to protect your income from serious illnesses.

The best time to prepare is when you’re healthy. Yes, you’re taking the precautions and practicing social distancing. But what happens when your state decides to re-open and life resumes? There are still chances to get sick as there’s no vaccine currently. Plus, those who recover from COVID-19 may be at a greater risk for long-term health issues.

That’s why disability insurance is recommended. You need it if you rely on your source of income to live life. This is especially true if you have loved ones who financially depend on you.

Disability insurance isn’t just for injuries. In fact, illnesses (including mental health issues, such as depression) represent 90%* of long-term disability claims.

To make coverage more accessible and affordable, Breeze has built the first fully online disability insurance product. Answer some quick questions to get a rate in a matter of seconds. You can then choose your benefit period (most disabilities average 2 years) and complete a 15-minute online application.

If you’re approved for coverage, you’ll receive disability insurance benefits paid if you can’t work to make up for lost income. Plans start at $9/month* and benefit amounts range from $500 to $20,000.

It’s free to check out rates and you can apply online. Give yourself peace of mind, especially in these troubling times!

12. Work From Home: Earn $20 Per Hour to Start Teaching English To Kids Online

The past few months have been rough on Americans and their livelihoods. If you’ve been considering a side gig to supplement your primary income or need a job working from home, teach English online to kids ages 5-13!

EF Online (Education First) is a teaching platform helping to connect students in China and native English speakers for 20+ years with their global network of 600+ schools. You’ll experience a flexible schedule where you can work from home, earn up to $20/hr to start, with all lesson materials are provided. While teaching experience is preferred, it’s not required. Earn extra rewards the more you teach!

Here are the requirements:

  • Must be a native English speaker living in the U.S.A with a Bachelor’s degree in any field
  • By the start of your teacher’s contract term, you must earn and submit documentation of a 40 Hour TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) certification (or higher)
  • Agree to an online background check (no cost to you)
  • Be available to work during a set range of hours
  • Have a solid wifi connection and headset
  • And lastly, be passionate!

Classes are 25 minutes each and since EF Online encourages repeat classes, you might be teaching the same students regularly. In addition, parents can book you up to 6 months in advance leading to a more stable income.

If you enjoy interacting with kids, this is definitely a rewarding and flexible gig from home!

Note: The following U.S. states are excluded from this gig – CA, IN, MA, NH, NJ, NY, and IL.

13. Customized Workout Classes Whenever You Want

Relieve some of that stir craziness at home with fitness classes you can access anytime, anywhere, along with customizing it to your own schedule and mood.

Do 10 minutes today, and 30 minutes tomorrow. Choose between Beginner, Intermediate, or Expert. There are thousands of live and on-demand workouts ranging from bootcamp, high-intensity interval training (HIIT), dance, barre, strength, yoga, stretching, and more.

NEOU Fitness (pronounced “NEO YOU”) is great for those that miss their group fitness classes, for people who like a variety of classes every day, and want more control over their routine.

Stream on any device screen and filter classes by type, duration, body focus, and more.

For a limited time, new members get 50% off the annual membership for just $49.99 (basically less than $5/month). You can try it out for free for 7-days to see how you like it!

14. Get Access to Doctors and Wellness Coaches 24/7 Even When Homebound

We know we shouldn’t leave the house but what happens when it’s 10 PM and you’re feeling ill? What if you don’t have insurance either?

With 4 Your Health, you can get access to doctors and nurses 24/7 with options to call, email, or video chat. There’s no limit on usage and the physician(s) are licensed in the state you’re calling from. You don’t need insurance (if you don’t have any) and your prescriptions will get sent to your local pharmacy. It’s quick and reliable diagnoses of over 70% of common ailments.

Not only will you have doctors on demand, but it’s also a major health resource for meal plans and streaming workouts, in addition to Wellness coaches where you can email board-certified psychologists, dentists, pharmacists, dieticians, fitness trainers, and alternative medicine specialists.

Get a free 14-day trial to see if it works for you. If you love the convenience and 24/7 access, then it’s just $14.95 a month for you and your entire family. Since 4 Your Health isn’t medical insurance, there are no copays, deductibles or insurance claims to worry about either.

15. The Streaming Service That’ll Actually Save You Money Over Time

Cable tv costs an average $60 a month which resulted in 40 million Americans* cutting the cord last year to save that chunk of money. No wonder streaming services that cost as low as $6.99 a month are so popular!

And for those that have kids or are just kids at heart (like me), renting/buying Disney property movies can add up too. Renting movies can cost up to $5 and buying can cost up to $20 each.

That’s why Disney+, the new streaming platform makes complete sense for Disney, Marvel, National Geographic, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and Disney Channel watchers.

Get access to new original shows, TV series (7,500+ episodes!), and movies (100 freshly released from the theaters and 400+ from the library).

And you can stream on up to 4 screens/devices simultaneously. No need to wrestle for the “remote.” Plus you can download shows to watch offline as much as you want. Check out Disney+ now for only $6.99/month and pull the plug on cable.

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