What People Are Spending Their Stimulus Checks On

From much-needed dental work to a literal garden of hope.

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The $1,400 checks from the American Rescue Plan have been hitting bank accounts across the country, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been curious about how people are spending their new infusions of cash. Here are just a few plans from a recent audience callout, as well as a friendly invitation to subscribe to our newsletter to join in on similar conversations, daily news hits, and much more. 

A literal garden of hope

My fiance and I will both be getting the full $1,400, for a total of $2,800 coming into the household coffers. We plan to use it for getting our organic vegetable garden/orchard going this year. We just purchased a new house in February, with a lovely huge garden area, complete with an established compost bin. Buying seeds and seed starter supplies, plus soil amendments will make the stimulus the gift that keeps on giving.  The rest will go right into savings. —Shannon

Long overdue health check-ups and car maintenance

When my next infusion of funds arrives, I hope to do what I’d planned for the first two: get my vision checked (my bifocal specs are waaayyyy out of date) and get my car fixed so it doesn’t overheat so easily…I’m on Social Security and have a part-time job that nets me $73 a week. Woohoo! If I can, I’d also like to pay off my credit card debt (it’s small) and maybe get ahead on utilities and phone accounts. That’s about as frivolous as I get these days. —Susan

Focus on grad school

I’m an older graduate student who went back to school after my kids grew up. I lost the job I used to pay tuition and fees because of COVID. My refund will help me not have to take time off.  That makes me overjoyed!!! —Jules

Housing charity

The last one went to the local food bank. The local food banks are doing ok at the moment, so it will go elsewhere, probably housing. The important thing is to put it somewhere it will be spent quickly instead of sitting in my savings account doing nothing. —Walt

Furniture to finally welcome guests after a long year

When I relocated from Westchester County, New York to Salem, Massachusetts in late January 2020, I expected visits from my grandchildren, as well as the family members I left behind in NY. After spending the entire month of February sick with a constant non-COVID cough, the shutdown went into effect, and so no guests could visit. For the first time in my life, I spent months without touching another living creature.

I think I’ll buy some furniture so that my home can be ready to welcome my long-awaited guests this Summer (fingers crossed!). I haven’t felt any enthusiasm for setting up my home since I live alone, and it was too sad to be getting ready to see those I love most in the world until now. It will be fun to get out and get to know my new neighborhood.—Claudia

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A BETTER WAY TO DO THIS?

We have an ambitious $350,000 online fundraising goal this month and we can't afford to come up short. But when a reader recently asked how being a nonprofit makes Mother Jones different from other news organizations, we realized we needed to lay this out better: Because "in absolutely every way" is essentially the answer.

So we tried to explain why your year-end donations are so essential, and we'd like your help refining our pitch about what make Mother Jones valuable and worth reading to you.

We'd also like your support of our journalism with a year-end donation if you can right now—all online gifts will be doubled until we hit our $350,000 goal thanks to an incredibly generous donor's matching gift pledge.

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