Financial experts weigh in on best uses of stimulus check

Local News

Charleston, S.C. – WCBD – An estimated 80 million Americans received their stimulus checks Wednesday according to the U.S. Department of Treasury.

While many Americans are seeing the money appear on their balance some are having a hard time accessing their bank account information.

Licensed Credit Counselor with Origin S.C. Kristin Bastian says online banking is being flooded with customers trying to access their information which is causing a delay.

“Be patient. Check back every now and then. Try and go on off hours, in the middle of the night or later in the evening where it might not be so bogged down,” said Bastian.

Bastian also recommends viewing your bank information through a web browser instead of the app or calling your automated bank number for balance updates.

“The banks are trying to help us and trying to work with everybody but they’re overloaded and short staffed as well.”

Kristin Bastian, Licensed Credit Counselor with Origin S.C.

Once you have received the stimulus money, Bastian says it is important to plan how you will spend it.

“You have to know where you want those funds to go whether it is to savings, to catch up your rent or catch up your electricity,” said Bastian.

Bastian says it is also important to know which bills are being protected during this time and which are not.

“You know there are protections against mortgages, rent, and student loans if they’re federal but things like car payments, insurance, and private student loans don’t have those protections put into place.”

If you are unable to cover all bills, Bastian says it is best to pay those that are not protected so you do not have to pay penalties or late fees.

If you have an excess of money, experts say it is wise to put some into savings.

“You want to make sure you have something to fall back on. At least a month’s worth of bills sitting in a savings account that even if it’s only earning a couple of cents interest, at least it’s earning something and you’re not spending it and you have it for an emergency.”

Kristin Bastian, Licensed Credit Counselor with Origin S.C.

There are virtual budgeting workshops and resources available online for normal and crisis budgeting.

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