How YNABers are Spending Their Stimulus Checks

“$900 to Debt, $150 for a VERY Nice Bottle of Scotch, and the Rest in my New Desk Chair Category”

For those YNABers in the States, many of us recently received a stimulus payment. Finally COVID, you gave us something helpful. With this unexpected inflow of cash, of course we got all up in people’s business and wanted to know: what did you do with it? Well to start, there were still a lot of folks who had yet to receive their stimulus money. For those who did receive their checks, here’s how they were spending it:


  • “I bought groceries.” ?
  • “Health insurance while I’m out of work.”
  • “We simply covered bills. Our grown son is living with us during the lockdown creating greater expenses in food and utilities.” ?
  • “I’m using it to supplement my reduced income.”
  • “I paid an unexpected health bill.”


  • “I paid off my last student loan!” ?
  • “We paid off a credit card!”
  • “Paid off the last of a credit card!” ?

Boring but Responsible Expenses:

  • “It went towards my car payment.” ?
  • “I used the entire $1200 to make an extra payment on one of my debts.”
  • “I’m saving it for my son’s wedding.” ?
  • “I’m going to use it to pay my taxes…which is ironic, isn’t it?”
  • “I refilled my emergency fund.”
  • “I used it as a Roth IRA contribution.”
  • “I was able to budget ahead a month.” ?

Multiple Categories:

  • “I split it 3 ways—charitable donation, paid down personal loan, emergency fund.”
  • “Trampoline for kids, paid down some debt, bought a large custom carpet, and padded true expense categories.” ?
  • “Some donated, some saved, some spent on takeout from local businesses, some still waiting in Fun Money!” ?
  • “$900 to debt, $150 for a VERY nice bottle of Scotch, and the rest in my New Desk Chair category.”

“Safe at Home” Purchases:

  • “New running watch, a small home office set up.” ⌚️
  • “Desk and computer chair for working from home, put in a new flower bed, fitness subscription, rest in emergency fund.”
  • “Groceries, bills, a pair of sandals and some much-needed face moisturizer.” ?️
  • “Stress buying, and a new laptop for working at home.”
  • “I am planning on recovering some old chairs who have developed (large) holes over the pandemic.”
  • “The check came this past Saturday. But, my credit union requires US treasury checks to be deposited in person, so I haven’t used it yet because I have to look presentable enough to go out of the house…” ?

Just Plain Fun:

  • “A takeout dinner!” ?
  • “I bought some rollerblades but everything else was budgeted in the future.”
  • “A wake foil!” ?‍♀️
  • “We adopted a puppy.” ?

Toilet Paper Alternatives:

  • “Video equipment for our business and a bidet.” ?
  • “A bidet and a video game I was already planning (saving) to buy.”

There Were Some Who Saw Opportunity and Jumped:

  • “Tesla stock and bought my first cryptocurrency.” ?
  • “Actually we did use $1750 for a deposit on a cruise ?” ?
  • “We refinanced our home.” ?

Long-Awaited Purchases or Savings:

  • “We bought a new mattress.” ?
  • “A new couch!”
  • “We put it under an “Income Replacement” category that we always wanted to fund but never had before.”
  • “I saved it for when my elliptical machine breaks again. I will buy a new one instead of fixing it. My husband bought a lawnmower with his half.”
  • “Our stimulus check and tax refund helped us pay for much needed maintenance on our cars.” ?

Giving to Others:

  • “We paid off $1,000 of debt and bought a flower CSA subscription at a local farm to support a local business.” ?
  • “We donated 100% to furloughed family member.”
  • “I bought dinner for my hard-working, super stressed out, under-staffed team at work.
  • “We donated the vast majority to our regional food bank. We’ll be fine and there are others that need the support.” ?

No matter what route you took, whether you got a stimulus payment or not, we hope you’re finding some budgeting peace during this time. Cheers to spending, cheers to saving, cheers to giving, and cheers to knowing what’s right for you.

Still trying to decide how to spend yours? Check out our framework for making the best decision.