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If you get a second stimulus check, here's what finance experts think you should do with it

With another round of stimulus checks proposed, Select reviews advice from personal finance experts on how to spend it.

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The Senate's proposal on Monday for another round of coronavirus relief included a second $1,200 stimulus check to individuals who meet the income requirements. 

Negotiations between the Senate and the House still need to happen before any final package is passed, but it seems increasingly likely that there will be another economic impact payment hitting millions of Americans' bank accounts.

Select asked Sallie Krawcheck, co-founder and CEO of the digital investment platform Ellevest, how you should spend this cash if you get it, depending on your circumstances.

If you need the extra cash to pay the bills

If you're falling behind on high-priority bills, like housing and utilities, consider using the second stimulus check to catch up on these payments.

"If you or a loved one need it to pay the bills right now, use it," Krawcheck says. "That's what it's for."

If you haven't already, it's also worth seeing if there's any way you can reduce your bills before you pay them. Many credit card issuers have been offering financial hardship assistance, such as flexible bill payments and waived late fees and interest. Your bank might be willing to put you on an adjusted payment plan if you ask.

Because on-time payment history is the most important factor to your credit score, enrolling in a postponement plan (such as deferment or forbearance) is worth it if that means you wouldn't be penalized for paying late.

If you believe your job is in jeopardy

For the millions who are unemployed due to the coronavirus pandemic and are scrambling for income, having cash on hand is important.

Krawcheck suggests that if you are current on your bills but you think your income may be in jeopardy (you expect a layoff, being furloughed or reduced working hours), save the money from the stimulus check in a safe place. Consider savings accounts that are FDIC- or NCUA-insured and easy to access. A high-yield savings account is a good choice because the best ones can earn you over 16X more money than the national average.

These are our top five recommendations:

If you have credit card debt

Unlike some financial experts, if you generally feel stable about your job and income right now but have outstanding credit card debt, Krawcheck advises you pay off high-interest debt before saving any possible stimulus check for emergencies.

"If you have debt with interest rates of 10% or more, we recommend NOT saving it," she says. "Instead, use it to pay off that debt."

While it may feel safer to save your stimulus cash in a moment of such uncertainty, unpaid credit card debt becomes more expensive the longer you delay paying it off thanks to compound interest and the notoriously high interest rates that credit cards charge.

This is especially important to pay attention to if you're using a credit card more during the pandemic. If you're doing a lot of online grocery shopping, for instance, using the Prime Visa comes with a variable 19.24% to 27.24% APR — surpassing Krawcheck's 10% rule.

If you're worried about having a savings fund in case you do get caught in an emergency, such as an immediate car repair, Krawcheck actually suggests that you charge it. This way, you're incurring high interest on an outstanding balance for a much shorter period of time than it would take you to build up to the recommended three to six months' worth of savings.

If you don't fall into any of these categories

For those who don't match any of the above criteria and have no debt or debt with interest rates less than 10%, save your stimulus money and start building up your savings.

Already have three to six months' worth of expenses stashed away? "That's when we'd recommend investing the money," says Krawcheck, noting you should research the right types of brokerage accounts for your needs.

Bottom line

With another round of stimulus checks proposed, the best way to spend the extra cash depends on your situation. You can use it to pay the bills, build a savings cushion, pay off high-interest credit card debt, or to invest.

And at the end of the day, don't be ashamed if you decide to use some of it to treat yourself.

"Feel free to spend a little now on something that makes your life easier," Krawcheck says. "Times are rough, and we're all human."

Information about the Prime Visa has been collected independently by Select and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication. If you purchase something through Select links for the Prime Visa, we may earn a commission.

Information about the Synchrony Bank High Yield Savings Account has been collected independently by CNBC and has not been reviewed or provided by the bank prior to publication.

Goldman Sachs Bank USA is a Member FDIC.

Editorial Note: Opinions, analyses, reviews or recommendations expressed in this article are those of the Select editorial staff’s alone, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any third party.
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