Here’s How Women Across The Country Are Using Their Stimulus Checks

How Women Are Using Their Stimulus Checks


For some people, the stimulus checks included in the CARES Act passed by Congress last month are starting to arrive, while others are still wondering about the ETA on theirs. Every individual making under $75,000 is eligible to receive the maximum $1,200; if you’re still employed, this might be extra money you can pad your savings with, in a time when we’ve been jolted awake about their importance. But for others, the stimulus money will go directly to bills and other living expenses, and it may not even be enough to cover the essentials for a month.

22 million people filed for unemployment benefits over the past month, and economists believe March 2020 marked the steepest economic downturn since World War II. It’s undeniable that more COVID-19 relief bills are needed fast. Last week, Representatives Ro Khanna (D-CA) and Tim Ryan (D-OH) introduced a new bill that would provide monthly assistance for at least six months, but so far there isn’t a timeline on when Congress will vote on it.

Ahead, we asked women across the country how they're spending what’s hopefully the first of multiple stimulus checks. They explained how far the $1,200 will go this month, and what they’ll be doing with the money if they're fortunate enough to not need it urgently.

Tell us how you're spending your stimulus check. Give us a breakdown of how far the money will go (and what it won't be able to cover) here.
Taylor
New York, NY

Most recent salary: $60,000
Employment status: I am not currently employed. My most recent job was a store manager at a popular bakery with multiple locations.

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

$1,200. I plan on using it exclusively to pay my May rent, because I don’t plan on getting my job back before the end of the month. I split rent with my fiancé and it’s still $1050 per person. The remaining money will just go toward bills.

Is that amount enough for you?

$1,200 is not enough money, especially living in New York. Expenses are so much higher here and we have been affected by the virus longer than most cities and will continue to be affected for a long time. If the stimulus were actually going to be effective, it would need to be on a monthly basis until it is safe for businesses to open up again and for people to return to work. While the money will certainly help, my necessary monthly expenses (rent, groceries, utilities, wifi, medicine) are $1600/month at a bare minimum.
Kate
Washington, D.C.

Most recent salary: $42,000
Employment status: Furloughed due to current situation. I was a marketing strategist.

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?
Zero, because a parent claimed me as a dependent even though I pay all of my own bills. The check would’ve helped me out by paying my rent for the month, but that’s it. I feel like this is a problem for a lot of others in their early 20s!

Is that amount enough for you?
It would’ve only paid my rent for the month, leaving no funds for other bills (student loans, groceries, utilities).


Elisabeth
Philadelphia, PA

Most recent salary: 10.50/hr
Employment status: I'm not currently employed. I was working in retail part-time most recently, but was laid off from the arts and culture sector in July 2019 and had been actively interviewing before everything shut down.

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

I received $1200. Half of that will be spent on my half of May rent ( I split rent equally with my partner). I spent $110 on refilling prescriptions for asthma and allergies, $95 on my phone bill, $85 on the cable and internet bill, $40 on cat food, $202 on my health insurance premium (purchased on the exchange when I first became unemployed. That amount is subsidized due to my low income), and $96 on a medical bill on a payment plan from ENT procedures last summer.

Is that amount enough for you?

It's not enough. It's lasting for 2 weeks. The minimum I need for my monthly bills and food is about $2,000. My partner is still working and supporting me, covering all of our food and utilities, and also paid the full rent in April. I'm still waiting on the extended unemployment benefits. I was previously covering my bills with about 25 hours at my retail job per week, plus I was about to start as a census taker and walk dogs to cover the rest. Now I'm not doing anything. I used up my 26 weeks of unemployment benefits in February.
Claire
Richmond, VA

Most recent salary: 0
Employment status: Not employed, about to graduate grad school

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

$1,200. I was expecting to find a job soon after graduation but that doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen. The stimulus check will help me pay my rent until I figure things out.

Is that amount enough for you?

I don’t think $1,200 is enough to get people through the next month, especially the next few months. This money will pay for one month of rent and bills, with a little left over.
Caitlin
Fairbanks, AK

Most recent salary: $19.50/hr
Employment status: I’m an event planner and naturalist guide for a lodge.  The summer is uncertain and my hours as an event planner are extremely reduced. We hope to have virtual events figured out but most of our events are in-person fundraisers... So it's been pretty tough. I rely on my summer guiding money for a massive chunk of my income (about $17k) and not having that income this year is going to hurt.

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

$1,200 — but I haven't gotten it and can't find out how to make sure I do! I will spend it on rent ($625) and groceries ($250/month or so) and basics.  I may leave Alaska if my summer guide work isn't possible to do and return to my hometown in PA, and a ticket costs about $220 one way right now. That's about all the money! I also pay for my own healthcare ($45/month) and cell phone plan ($50/month) as well as pay our electricity ($60).

Is that amount enough for you?

No way. I think $2,000 monthly would be more realistic.  I have applied for unemployment but haven't heard anything yet. Without my summer income I have pretty paltry savings to live on, and the $1,200 lasts about one month.
Monica
Atlanta, GA

Most recent salary: $76,000
Employment status: I am a software developer. I’m employed and my hours are the same. 

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

$1,200. I plan on saving $1,000 dollars and using the other $200 to support local businesses.

Is that amount enough for you?

It would last a month for me. My monthly budget is: $500 rent (split 1 bedroom with fiancé. Includes water and renters insurance); $75 for my half of electricity; $25 for my half of internet bill; $35 for my cell phone; $0 car payment (car is paid off); $80 car upkeep — $40 gas, $40 maintenance; $90 car insurance; $200 food ; $50 eating out; $100 other (clothes, donations, stuff); $2 Hulu (fiancé has Netflix).


Katherine
Seattle, WA

Most recent salary: $115,000
Employment status: I work in the video game industry and my salary and hours remain the same (though more stressful — I hate video conferencing!)

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

I think I am getting the minimum — which seems ridiculous to me because I don't need it. I hope to spend the entire thing on socialist charities as a sort of fuck you to the government, who didn't think to allocate money differently based on COVID-19’s impact.

Is that amount enough for you?

I live in one of the most expensive cities in the states, so if I had not had the privilege of keeping my job, no debt, and having a good amount of savings, this wouldn't nearly have been enough for me to survive a month — maybe if a moratorium had been put on rent, but it has not yet been done in my state. I pay $1,450 in rent per month for my half of a two-bedroom apartment, and about $1,100 a month for all my other necessary expenses.
Sohayla
Bay Area, CA

Most recent salary: $51,000
Employment status: Employed full-time and able to WFH. Salary was reduced 5% last December before COVID-19 to help company finances. No new salary cuts yet but they have been considering it if things get dire in the next couple months. I work in production for a small book publisher.

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

I received $1,200 already. I put $100 toward my student loans, $100 toward my credit card and $1,000 in my savings. I considered putting most of it toward my loans, but since there’s a chance the company I work for could go under in the next two to four months, I want to be prepared with as much savings and emergency funds as I can. I’m also turning 26 this year and want to be prepared to pay for my health insurance out of pocket if I do lose my job. I really see the stimulus check as a buffer for the future should anything go wrong, rather than money I can spend now.

Is that amount enough for you?

Yes and no. I was lucky enough to have some savings before the stimulus check, but for those who don’t have savings it’s not enough. $1,200 covers just one month of my rent and utilities costs, not including food, and in the Bay Area that’s a cheap price to pay for housing. I can’t see how people can make this check stretch if they don’t already have some kind of emergency fund or steady income still coming in. If I didn’t have my job, I’d need about $1,600/month to pay bills and food, just to get by with my current housing situation.
Jessica
New Jersey

Most recent salary: $46,000
Employment status: Temporarily laid off due to COVID-19.

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

I received $1,200. I plan to finish paying off my car with the full $1,200.

Is that amount enough for you?

I still live with my parents, who don't need financial assistance from me. So at this time I only pay for my personal spending and car insurance and other associated car costs. For me, $1,200 is a good amount, but I understand this is certainly not enough for many other people.
Ann
Columbus, OH

Most recent salary: $65,000
Employment status: I am a government lawyer working on matters that are COVID-19 adjacent.  My hours increased a ton once the pandemic started but returned to normal after about a month.

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

I received $1,200. I put $600 into my house fund, donated $300 to the local food bank, and spent about $250 buying two bottles of wine for each household in my family (my mom and dad, my brother and sister-in-law, my other brother, and my husband and me) for a virtual wine tasting for my mom and sister-in-law's birthdays.  My husband also received $1,200 separately because we got married last month over Zoom (we postponed our wedding). I'm not sure how he spent his, because we're still in the process of integrating our finances.

Is that amount enough for you?

I am very fortunate that this money is purely a windfall.  This would cover our mortgage, property taxes, and insurance for a month.  If we both lost our jobs and had no savings, this would be woefully inadequate.
Rita
St. Petersburg, FL

Most recent salary: $30,000
Employment status: Office manager at a college

How much stimulus money are you getting? How do you plan on spending it?

$1,200. I plan on paying off my credit card and putting the rest in savings.

Is that amount enough for you?

$1,200 is enough for me personally, as I still have my full-time job. I don’t think it’s enough in general. My boyfriend is a musician and lost all his upcoming gigs thanks to COVID-19, and the small stimulus check definitely isn’t enough to cover his bills and necessaries. It’s a sign that America doesn’t value the people who do the hard jobs at minimum wage, and the large corporations creating those jobs don’t care to take care of their employees.


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Here’s How Women Across The Country Are Using Their Stimulus Checks Here’s How Women Across The Country Are Using Their Stimulus Checks Reviewed by streakoggi on April 21, 2020 Rating: 5
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