What to do with your stimulus check

Aeryn Kauffman, Columnist

As tempting as it may be to spend your stimulus check on things you don’t need, refrain. For those of us lucky enough to get one in the next week or two, here’s what we should use it for.

Hopefully, your parents aren’t claiming you as a dependent on their taxes. Otherwise, you’re ineligible for the $1,200 check. This usually means those under the age of 24 are ineligible, but your situation could be different.

There’s no application requirement. If you’re not a dependent, you’ve filed your taxes and you’ve set up direct deposit through the IRS, bam, you’ll get your tax-free check sent to you electronically. For those who haven’t filed their taxes yet or haven’t set up direct deposit, your check will be sent in the mail, which could take another week or two.

If you’re anything like me, money burns a hole in your pocket. As a broke college student, it’s tempting to get myself some new clothes, the latest video games and way too many avocados. But I’m planning to be mostly responsible with it.

The economy is in poor shape and won’t recover soon. According to BBC News, the stock market and travel industry were hit the hardest, but many facets of our economy were impacted.

“The world’s economy could grow at its slowest rate since 2009 this year due to the coronavirus outbreak,” BBC News reporters wrote.

Jobs are scarce. Oil prices are as low as they were in 2001. I still have to get up at 7 a.m. to scavenge for one-ply toilet paper, dammit. Things won’t get back to normal for a while.

Use your check for essentials first: late rent, car repairs, groceries for the kiddos or school supplies. This much should be obvious, but I still hear about students throwing ragers in dorms and in the apartments above me. I can respect some apocalypse partying, but it’s time to buckle down.

Next is something a lot of folks haven’t thought about: invest in a good ergonomic desk chair. I found a kneeling desk chair which forces you into good posture, alleviating strain on your lower back. This will be crucial for a fully-online quarter that requires sitting for eight hours a day.

Third, get a low-cost source of entertainment or stress relief. Resident Evil 2 is $20, God of War is $15 and Rocket League is $10 on PlayStation Network. These are great ways to escape stress for a little while. Grab some knitting needles or buy a collection of your favorite anime. Whatever it is, it’s important for you to get your mind off all things coronavirus.

Something to consider, if you have loans, is paying off the interest on them so it doesn’t increase the amount you pay in the long run. This could quickly drain your entire check, though, so use discretion.

Finally, employing my best grandmother voice, put the rest in savings. You never know what you’re going to run into these coming months. Things are uncertain, and we should be prepared.