VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. — It’s been a tough year, but it looks like some financial relief could be on the way.
As the U.S. Senate debates the third round of stimulus checks, some people in Hampton Roads are already making plans for the money.
“I plan on putting it in some kind of savings or money marketing account, so it can grow and work for me,” said Stephanie Mancini of Virginia Beach.
Mancini said the pandemic has changed the way she thinks about money.
“It’s made me more mindful and aware,” she said.
Lawmakers are currently considering a plan that would send $1,400 to people who qualify. Some of the eligibility requirements will likely differ from the prior to payments, including lowering the number of people who qualify.
“If you’re asking me if that is a lot of money, the answer is no,” said Peter Shaw, professor of business administration at Tidewater Community College.
But Shaw thinks the money is better than nothing for people hit hard by the pandemic. If you receive a stimulus check, how do you make get the best bang for your buck?
Shaw recommends going down the following list of priorities, in order: food, utilities, shelter, and transportation.
He calls them the “Big Four.”
“And then if you have any money left over after that, you then want to go to debt,” he said.
If you have more than one credit card, he advises tackling the highest interest rate first, and talk to your credit card companies about hardship programs. He also advises people keep open lines of communication with landlords and insurance companies.
If you go through the list and have money left over, he has one last suggestion.
“Save, save, save. You never know when the next cash flow influx is going to be,” he said.
He also encourages people, especially those who are unemployed, to consider free programs at community colleges for training in new skills.