Ten Best: Ways to spend your stimulus

by Amy Kingsley

Pay down debt

Skyrocketing gas and food prices are hurting all except the filthy, stinking rich. But don’t worry, middle-class voter – your hush money is on the way. Single folks like myself can expect a $600 infusion to their bank accounts. Marrieds will get even more, as will parents. The government does not want you to spend this on credit card bills. That defeats the whole stimulating purpose. But that is exactly what I’m going to do with mine.


Here’s another way to misappropriate this money: Take a vacation. A foreign vacation. I’m secretly hoping Clarey will use his to stimulate the economy of southern France. You know, just doing his part to make up for the whole Freedom Fries debacle. Book a flight on an airline based in another country, like Quantas or Lufthansa, to really stick it to American airliners with designs on your government cash.


If you’ve paid off all or most of your debt, consider using your Congressional windfall to open a savings account. Americans today save less and spend more than they ever have. It’s an ugly combination of fiduciary habits that all but insure family stress and economic seizure when credit markets stall, which is what has happened in the wake of the subprime collapse.

Lottery tickets

Getting $600 from the government is already a little bit like winning the lottery. So why not double-down? Put $600 into PowerBall, scratch-offs or some combination of the two. If you lose the money, you can say you did it for the kids.

Grocery gift cards

Let’s face it, food is getting expensive and, in some cases, scarce. Grocery stores across the country are offering deals to try to get you to invest your stimulus money in gift cards. Kroger stores will add 10-percent bonus to gift cards given in exchange for stimulus checks. If you get a $600 check, that means you can exchange it for a card worth $660. Families receiving the bigger checks can exchange them for the equivalent of $1,320. That’s a lot of mac ‘n’ cheese, friends.


Sears and Target are offering the same deal as Kroger: Exchange your stimulus check for a gift card, receive a 10-percent bonus. According to their market research, one in five Americans plans to spend part of the money on electronic equipment. Earlier this year, amid worries about the economy, sales of flat-panel TVs actually increased. Which makes me a little ashamed of my countrymen.

Leave it in Vegas

Stimulate the illicit economy. Take your check to the nickel slots and slowly flush it away. Or blow it at the blackjack table. Eat your weight in free crab legs and dim sum while lining the pockets of casino owners. If you’re interested in actually stimulating the economy, please be sure to tip your server.


Really. If you have any sort of outstanding financial obligation, please don’t spend your money on grillz. But if this is just icing for you, I mean, if you’re doing okay monetarily, then why the hell not? Someday grillz will be hot commodities on eBay, tokens of a hubristic time when we wasted our collective wealth on mouth jewelry and flat-panel televisions.

Fine wine

Here’s the thing about a really nice bottle of wine – if you wait too long to taste it, it might turn to vinegar. So you have to time it right. Wine appreciates up to a point, and then it becomes worthless, like Enron stock. Consider a 1988 Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, which retails for around $600, a wine from one of Burgundy’s most storied vintners. Talk about your old vines, the first known vintage from this vineyard dates to the 13th century.


Look, I know you don’t want to hear this, but hard times in America pale in comparison to the problems confronting people in other, less developed parts of the world. That statement rings pretty hollow when you’re struggling to make ends meet. But if you should find yourself with a little extra to spare, send it along to someone who needs the help even more. And remember to write it off on your taxes.