By William Hernández
on May 4, 2020
Read in 3 min

Even though the coronavirus pandemic might have thrown a wrench into your financial plans, it doesn't mean that this crisis will undo all your hard work. You can rest assured that help is on the way to help keep you and others afloat during these times. On March 25, 2020, Congress passed an unprecedented financial relief package to provide millions of Americans with a $1,200 check to help cope with the situation. The people that qualify for this aid are those that made less than $75,000 individually or less than $150,000 jointly. If you have children under 17, you're also eligible to receive $500 per child. What this means for you, of course, is that you'll soon be receiving some money in the mail.

More importantly, however, is the fact that you'll soon need to make some decisions on how to spend your government relief check wisely. Since there's no concrete idea of when this virus will subside and how it will affect the economy in the long term, using that money wisely is crucial. When it comes to deciding where to allocate those funds, you're going to have several options available to you. While these are all great options, no one knows your financial situation better than you do. Make sure to evaluate these suggestions keeping that in mind. That said, here are several options to consider when that check arrives. 

Devise An Iron-Clad Plan Before You Get Your Check

If you have recently lost your job or you're currently out of work and furloughed, you probably are feeling overwhelmed and frustrated. It can be an incredibly frightening situation, so take some time to internalize those feelings! A small silver lining to consider is that you will now have plenty of free time to get a hold of your finances. The easiest way to make sure that you spend your government relief check wisely is to develop a plan before you receive that money. As the saying goes: "Don't count your chickens before they hatch." It can be a bit of work to take a complete inventory of your monthly bills and expenses, that's for sure. The effort will be well worth the work, though.

Now is an optimal time to go through and make a list of all your liabilities and outflows. Most people walk around the world with a vague idea of where their money ends up going every month, but this doesn't have to be you. Having a complete overview of your bills and expenses can help hone in on the specifics of your budget and cut out the fluff. Drill down on the details, tighten your belt, and get ready to exercise some discipline so you can spend your government relief check wisely.

Work From A Budget

After you make a list of your bills and expenses, the next step is to develop a budget. That said, don't be overly ambitious, strive to create a budget that you can realistically follow. If you've never sat down to make a budget before, then it can feel a bit tiresome and mentally draining. Most financial experts agree that the best budget is the one that you can stick to, so make sure to keep things simple. 

While it's essential to be strict during times like these, having some concessions will make it easier for you to stick to it. There's no need to spend your entire government check at once, and you might even want to consider not spending your money at all. If you already have a financial cushion to work from, then you may want to use your government check to add to your existing savings. An emergency fund during this time is worth its weight in gold, so if you have a chance to keep it or make it grow, you should!

Focus On The Essentials

It might be tempting to treat your government check as free money to spend on whatever you would like. Our minds tend to have mental accounting, where we don't handle money as fungible. One dollar should be the same as any other, regardless of the circumstances in which you acquired it. Sadly, for many people, this isn't the case. The truth of the matter for many individuals is that this may be the only form of financial relief that they will see for quite some time. If this is your case, but extra conscious of what you're doing with that money! 

If you're using your check to go shopping, then make sure to focus on items like food and water before anything else. It may seem severe, but ensuring that your basic neckties are covered should be your number one goal, the rest must wait.

Parting Thoughts

The coronavirus pandemic has affected everybody in different ways, some more than others. It may be a long time before things return to normal, so it's okay to feel worried and uncertain since many things are up in the air. During times like these, however, it's vital to arm yourself with knowledge. That way, you're better prepared to face this situation head-on and make the best decisions for you and your loved ones. 

You can do the research and find ways to empower yourself by spending your government check wisely and start to build yourself a safety net. With the right plan in place, the right budget for you, and a good dose of the proper discipline, you can put yourself on solid ground to weather this storm, until things get back to normal. Keep calm and don't act prematurely. Doing things on impulse can have adverse effects on your life for years to come, so take it slow and work diligently.

This is not legal, financial, or professional advice. Please consult a legal, financial, or professional advisor for your specific situation.

Werner, E., DeBonis, M., & Kane, P. (2020). Senate approves a $2.2 trillion coronavirus bill aimed at slowing economic free fall. Retrieved March 25, 2020, from