Economic Stimulus Payments on the Way

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

The first of the government's tax rebates are now in the accounts of tens of thousands of tax payers.

The rebates are part of a $168 billion economic stimulus package. And as most of us wait for our checks, the question is, what are we going to do with the money?

To find out when you can expect your economic stimulus check click here.

"I'm going to pay for gasoline with mine," Consumer Don Mundine said.

The decision came easily to Mundine, who spends over $75 per fill-up.

"You have to consider the price of gas on everything you do," Mundine said.

In just two months, gasoline prices have gone up 20-percent.

"The price of gasoline is just one of the things going up at the moment and of course a lot of the other things are going up because of the price of gasoline," Mundine said.

That is why, 130 million households will receive rebates. Individuals will get up to $600. Couples will receive up to $1,200, plus $300 for each eligible child.

The extra cash was meant to stimulate the economy, but it now seems it's being used to help Americans cope with rising gasoline and food prices.

"The way that it is, you have to be very selective on what you buy," Consumer Delilah Perez said.

Perez plans to put the money she gets back into the community, in ways like trips to the grocery store.

"Most likely stock up on what we need for the house and ourselves," Perez said.

Food prices have recently sky-rocketed, forcing consumers to look for ways to save.

"My thing is checking to see what the costs are and compare the prices here and there," Perez said. "If it means going to three or four shopping centers, you just have to do that to cut the costs where I can."

So even though retailers are offering incentives to get consumers to spend their rebates, it looks like most will be spending it on the cost of living.

Some people tell us they're going to invest the money they get, others say they'll pay off credit card debt.

If you're waiting on pins and needles for your money, direct deposits have already started, and the government's paper checks will start going out on May 9th, that's a week earlier than previously announced.

The Internal Revenue Service says all checks for those who filed tax returns on time are scheduled to be deposited or mailed by July 11th.

To get the rebate, you have to file a tax return and make between $3 and $75,000 a year. If you're married your joint income can't exceed $150,000.

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