Personal Finance

Here's how Americans plan to spend their coronavirus relief checks

Key Points
  • As coronavirus stimulus checks start to arrive in Americans' bank accounts, two surveys found that paying for basic necessities, from rent to groceries, top spending lists.
  • Credible found that 75% of Americans want to see more aid from the federal government.
Man holding US dollar notes
Supoj Buranaprapapong | Getty Images

The federal government has begun depositing the first round of coronavirus relief payments promised as part of the $2.2 trillion stimulus program.

Now that the cash is on its way, how are people planning to spend the much-needed money? Two surveys point to paying for necessities such as housing, food, and utilities, as well as paying off debt and setting aside savings, as top priorities.

Financial services company IPX 1031 polled more than 2,000 Americans to learn more about how they plan to use their coronavirus stimulus checks, said chief researcher Collin Czarnecki. The results are shown below.

An April 7 survey from online loan comparison site Credible, meanwhile, returned similar results. The top five answers, in order of priority, were groceries, savings, utility bills, rent or mortgage, and credit card debt.

Other, less popular uses for stimulus money cited in the Credible survey included paying for medical bills, prescriptions or health insurance and helping out a friend or a charity. Less likely uses were shopping for bargains online, investing in the stock market, paying off student loans or taking a vacation.

"There's widespread support for the coronavirus relief checks, with 82% of Americans saying they're needed and will help the nation recover from the coronavirus crisis, " according to Matt Carter, editor of Credible Insights.

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The Credible survey also found Americans don't think one check will be enough, with nearly 75% of respondents calling for additional financial help from the federal government.

The checks also can't arrive soon enough.

Another survey, commissioned from The Harris Poll by financial tech firm DailyPay taken on April 6-7, found that more than half of Americans, or 57%, are "somewhat or very concerned" about being able to pay bills or buy supplies before their check arrives.