Here’s How Americans Really Spent Their First Two Stimulus Checks

Young woman wearing protective mask and buying food in grocery store during coronavirus pandemic.
Drazen Zigic / Getty Images/iStockphoto

The $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan passed in the Senate Saturday, meaning that the third direct payment checks will be on their way out once the Act is signed by President Biden. But the way Americans will spend the money will vary, according to a new GOBankingRates survey.

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The direct payment of $1,400 per person in Biden’s plan is to supplement the $600 Congress approved as part of the second stimulus. A new GOBankingRates survey reveals how Americans have spent the money they’ve received so far.

The top categories cited as to how the stimulus payments were spent include to pay the bills, at 45%, and to buy groceries, with 39% of the respondents, the survey notes.

In terms of gender breakdown, the survey found that women paid bills at a higher rate, with 48% using the money for this purpose compared to 41% of men.

See: Stimulus Payments Drive 10% Increase in Personal Income in January
Those $1,400 Stimulus Checks Are Costing Taxpayers $15,000 Per Household

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Regarding who did not receive direct stimulus payments, a total of 15% — 17% of women and 13% of men — responded that they didn’t receive a check.

Another key finding is that just 14% of respondents made a splurge purchase.

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The American Rescue Plan finally passed the Senate after a marathon amendments session, known as a vote-o-rama, and several last-minute changes to the bill. The bill passed in a 50-49 vote, with no Republican voting in favor of the bill.

The Senate’s version of the legislation must now be passed by the U.S. House of Representatives — which is scheduled to vote on Tuesday — before heading to President Biden’s desk to be signed into law, according to a statement from House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer. Democrats hope to have the Act signed by March 14, the deadline to renew unemployment aid programs.

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About the Author

Yaël Bizouati-Kennedy is a full-time financial journalist and has written for several publications, including Dow Jones, The Financial Times Group, Bloomberg and Business Insider. She also worked as a vice president/senior content writer for major NYC-based financial companies, including New York Life and MSCI. Yaël is now freelancing and most recently, she co-authored  the book “Blockchain for Medical Research: Accelerating Trust in Healthcare,” with Dr. Sean Manion. (CRC Press, April 2020) She holds two master’s degrees, including one in Journalism from New York University and one in Russian Studies from Université Toulouse-Jean Jaurès, France.
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