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Tuesday, June 22, 2021

College 101: 6 Ways to Treat Yourself with Your COVID-19 Relief Stipend

If you've just gotten your COVID-19 Economic Impact Payment from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), you might be itching to spend it right away. That being said, it's worth thinking about how you want to spend the money before you go out and blow it on something. 

That's not to say that there aren't plenty of high-ticket items you should avoid, since it's important that you help stimulate the economy during this trying time, too. Even so, it's a good idea to think about your priorities before you go and spend the money. If you're looking for a few ideas, here are six ways to treat yourself with your COVID-19 payment, assuming you've filed for your taxes as a single taxpayer with no children and will be receiving $1200.

Spruce up your wardrobe.

Even if you're planning on saving part of your stipend for bills or other necessities, that doesn't mean that you can't splurge a bit, too! Six hundred to $800 is a great amount of money to update your wardrobe and really invest in your sense of style, still leaving you with a good portion of your stipend for savings, too. 

Whether you can't stop thinking about how great you'd look in a black jumpsuit after seeing season two of Fleabag or are in the process of reducing your outfits and adopting a minimal wardrobe, there are plenty of stylish items to shop for.

Make a few home upgrades. 

One thing that might be nice to treat yourself with is to upgrade an aspect of your home. Whether it's repainting a guest room or updating your bathroom fixtures, there are most likely plenty of unfinished jobs around your house that you can upgrade, which is also a way to help the economy and contractors who may otherwise be out of work. 

Of course, if you're spending a lot of time indoors, it might make sense to get the home theater you've always wanted to set up. APEX Audio Video is a Texas-based company that can help you make your dreams a reality, sourcing top brands like Lutron, Savant, and Control4. If you aren't able to convert a room into a media room, even adding surround sound into your living room can make it feel like you're in a professional movie theater.

Pay off that debt.

While it might be one of the more responsible options on this list, your future self will certainly thank the present you if you choose to pay off some debt. Whether it's a consumer credit card or the last payment on your student loans, just imagine how much relief you'll feel without a minimum payment each month. A debt-free way of life is the gift that keeps on giving!

Save for a house.

If you've been eyeing the housing market start to decrease in value, maybe now's the time to start saving for a down payment on a new home. After all, if self-quarantining has taught you anything, it might be just how important it is for you to have more space or an outdoor area to garden or relax in. In order to avoid private mortgage insurance or PMI, you'll want to save up a 20 percent downpayment. Getting that $1200 boost can go a long way in getting the ball rolling.

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Turn your home into a cocktail lounge.

Have you always wanted to get into mixology and making your own cocktails? Now's a perfect time, since all the bars are closed. Best of all, with even a portion of your stimulus check, you can invest in top-notch equipment and ingredients. If you aren't sure where to start, check out this list of 12 bar essentials that any self-respecting bar should have on hand.

Save it for a rainy day.

Again, responsible options aren't always the most fun, but treating yourself to peace of mind certainly can be. After all, when would you have ever expected to have to self-isolate in your home or apartment? Having an emergency fund that helps keep you from avoiding catastrophe should you lose your job can go a long way in achieving other financial goals you might have.

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