How to Spend Your Coronavirus Stimulus Check for Less Stress

Tiana Clewis: Hey Dreamers and welcome back to my channel where we like to talk about all things money so it can stop being an obstacle and you can start using it as exactly what it is: a tool to help you create a life that you truly find worth living.

In this video, we're continuing the conversation that we started on Wednesday about the CARES Act. If you've been paying attention, you know that Congress recently passed the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and... Economic Security. Yeah. Okay. Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act.

Give me a break. It's a long name. Okay?

So recently they passed that act and a lot of people are talking about one of the provisions that's all about these stimulus checks that they're providing, which are essentially tax credits that they're giving based on old 2018 or 2019 tax returns.

Now, if you want all the details on that because you don't know everything, or there's a little confusion or you have some questions, well go ahead and check out my video and I'll do the best that I can in that video to clear up as many of those questions as I possibly can. I would clear up everything, but you know, it's the government something they did. When do they ever clear up all the questions?

What I want to do right now is I actually want to help you stretch that stimulus check as far as it can possibly go. Whether you're getting $2,400 whether you're getting $500 or maybe you're getting like a five figure check because you're a fertile, whew... Lord bless you. No matter how much you're getting iny you're stimulus check, the truth of the matter is you need to have a plan on how you're going to spend it.

Let's be real about this. It's money. It's almost like money has a mind of its own and if you don't get a plan together and tell the money where it's going to go, it's going to find its own place to go. And typically that other place that - where it decides to go is someone else's pocket instead of yours. And frankly, right now, this is the last thing that we need.

But before we can dive into all that goodness, and before we can put that plan together, I need to introduce myself to those of you who don't know me yet. My name is Tiana B Clewis. I'm a Financial Lifestyle Coach and Start-Up Strategist with my labor of love, Selah Financial Coaching, and what I do in that business is I love to help women entrepreneurs escape the nine to five grind and be able to use money as a tool to create a life that they actually enjoy. And I want them to do it without life sucking, because you know... fun matters.

If you agree with me and you say that fun matters, but you still want to overcome money and use it as a tool to do what you want to do, then go ahead and like this video, subscribe to the channel and click the bell to make sure that you're notified every time I drop new videos with money, tips and strategies every Wednesday and every Saturday.

Okay, now we can get back to the checks.

Now considering that you might get the check in April or you could get it in May. I want to go ahead and get you prepared right now, just in case you get it in April. So I want to first take a look at your April budget. What does it look like?

Now I can walk you through all the tips and the tricks and the strategies I have around how to adjust your budgeting process for April and maybe even for May, so that you're ready for all this coronavirus craziness, but that would be really inefficient considering I already did a video about that last week. So just go ahead and click the link above my head and to watch that video so you can get those tips and those tricks. And then come back here so that we can actually talk about these strategies, so you know how to use your state of this check and integrate it into that budget.

So now back to the actual budgets.

What we want to do is we want to look at two key things. The first thing we want to look at is whether or not you can pay for - cover your four walls. You may have heard this term with date... From Dave Ramsey. Yes, I did steal it from him. Hey, he's a smart guy and why reinvent the wheel?

But the four walls are your housing and utilities. It's food it's transportation, and it's basic clothing because you know, kids don't care about viruses and they don't care about shelter in place. Those suckers still like to grow. So sometimes you need to buy some new clothes because the last thing you need is for your kids walking around in too little underwear.

The second thing that you have to look at when it comes to your budget is whether or not you can take care of the minimum payments on your debts. Notice I said minimum payments. All right? I know you're out there debt snowballing or debt avalanching. Well STOP! Cut it out. Now is not the time. Right now we need to be saving as much money as we can because foolish it is a balance.

So that being said, do you have enough money to pay the minimum payments on your debts? No extra, none of that. Minimum payments.

If you answer "No" to either one of these questions, then you need to take part or all of that stimulus check to cover those things. Pay for your housing. Pay for your light bill. Pay for your car note, if you have to. Do you have student loans? Okay, go ahead and pay the minimum payment on your student loans right now. Take care of your four walls. Take care of the minimum payments on your debts during the season with that stimulus check. That's one of the key ways that you're going to help yourself stay afloat.

I will admit that right now, some people are probably having a debate on whether or not their debts even matter right now. Like, "Should I be looking at my debts and worrying about getting those paid?" Well, okay, let's really think about this.

So coronavirus - we don't know how long it's going to be around. We don't know how long shelter and place is going to happen. In fact, I know us Texans, we recently had our orders extended where it was supposed to end April 3rd. Well, it didn't. It got extended to the end of April, so you never know what's going to happen.

However, one thing we do know for sure is that this is not permanent. This will eventually change and eventually life will go back to a new form of normal that's not too far different from what it was before. So when we walk into that new normal, do we really want to walk into it with a totally tanked credit score because we stopped paying our debts?

No, you don't.

You want to be in a position to be able to continue to do what you need to do with your credit score, because if you still need to buy a house one day, your credit score matters. If you need to, I don't know, say your business - if one day your business is going to need to take a loan, your credit score for your business matters.

So the last thing that you want to do is stop paying your debts and tank your credit score in a temporary situation that has - I dunno, affects lasting seven years. No, that's not what you want to do.

So what I'm going to tell you is that if you could afford to cover your four walls without a problem, then continue to pay your debt.

Now, if it's super tight, like there's only like a hundred dollars left over after you cover the four walls, okay,.I get it. I got to plan for that too, but if you actually have plenty of money to pay for your four walls and you can still pay for your debts, then pay the debts. Let's do our best to maintain our credit score just in case you're going to need it in the future.

That being said, if you can not pay for your full wall walls. You can't cover housing utilities. That might be a gap in the food. You can't afford to buy new underwear for your kids who won't stop growing. You know, you can't pay your car note. You can't pay for gas when you do actually have to go drive to the grocery store. Then in that situation, okay, we need to get off phone. We need to be proactive at this point and time.

Now I have an entire set of podcast episodes and YouTube videos that talks about what to do if you're in this type of situation, and that's just like on a regular everyday basis. Well, it still applies now.

In fact, because of coronavirus, a lot of companies are creating new programs. They're creating new concessions. They're giving grace periods. They're waving things. They're stopping cutoffs.

Well, you need to be proactive. Call the companies, find out what they're offering, and based on that information, you can create a plan on what to do next.

Now, once you have that information, if it turns out you still can't afford to pay what you need to pay, then you have to systematically work with these people in order to figure out what you need to do next. Now in the description, I'm going to make sure that I have links to that podcast episode, to that YouTube video so that you can check them out and learn what you should do if you're in a situation where you cannot pay your debts, you can't pay your bills, you can't pay your creditors.

Because the last thing you want to do is hide out. What you ultimately want to do is to be proactive. Get in contact with them. Come up with a plan together... One that you could actually afford, one that you can actually main - manage and maintain.

Work with them. Do not hide. Work with them. Trust, trust, trust me. Listen to the episode and trust me.

Now, back to my list of strategies.

So let's say that your budget shows that, okay, I have enough money to pay my four walls. I have enough money to be able to pay my debts. Then the next thing I want you to look at is your emergency fund.

What does your emergency fund look like? Do you have three to six months of expenses that's a recommended? Can your emergency fund carry you through a few months if you don't get another paycheck?

Well, if the answer is "No", then you know what you need to do: you need to save your stimulus check?

Remember, your emergency fund is all about building a barrier, a form of protection between you and the craziness of life, at least from a financial standpoint. So if something happens and someone in your family has reduced hours, or maybe you have to take a pay cut, which a lot of companies are threatening, including my husband's job.

We're not freaking out. We're good. We're blessed. God got it covered.

But a lot of companies are threatening that, or what if you're in a situation - let me think, let me think - what if you're in a situation where somebody in your family actually does catch coronavirus or they catch some other illness in the midst of all the coronavirus craziness? What if you get laid off from your job?

You need a financial barrier as much as you can possibly get to be able to protect yourself and your family from the craziness of everything that's going on right now. So in this period of uncertainty, if your emergency fund cannot carry you for three to six months without you getting another dime, then your stimulus check needs to go into savings.

Yes. Your stimulus check is not going to be enough to cover you for three to six months, but can I tell you the truth? $2,400, $400, $1,000, it's better than no dollars. So if you don't have three to six months of expenses saved, get that stimulus check and put it straight into your savings account and leave it alone until there's an actual and legit emergency.

Now, if I may, I want to bring in a really cool side note. So the CARES Act doesn't just talk about rebates. It actually has a ton of stuff in there. Like I said, and um like I said previously, we are actually going to be covering this bill and, uh, and multiple episodes, multiple YouTube videos. Okay. Because there's a lot going on.

Well, one of the provisions actually talks about early withdrawals from your retirement account. So here's roughly how it breaks down. If you have something coronavirus-related that happens to you - so your company shut down because of shelter in place or your hours got cut because shelter in place, you have to take a pay cut because the shelter in place, um, you had to stop working cause you had to take care of someone in your family who was sick with coronavirus or you yourself got coronavirus.

If something coronavirus related happened to your family that negatively impacts your income, you are actually allowed to take distributions from your retirement accounts. So your IRA, your Roth IRA, your 403b, your - all those other fancy numbers that the IRS has for different retirement accounts - you're able to take distributions from those early before you hit retirement age and the IRS will not hit you with that 10% penalty that they usually apply.

Now, it will still be taxable if you paid into it with pretax income, so it'll still be taxable, but that 10% penalty that they usually hit you with for an early distribution, they're waving that. They're not going to do it. The CARES Act covers you that way. That's going to save you a lot, a lot, a lot of money.

Here's even better. So there's more to it. Okay. They also give you the ability to be able to pay back the money over the next three years without taking into consideration the contribution caPs. So for example, when you think about a Roth IRA, you're only able to put in $5,500 or if you are within over a certain age, you can put in $6,500. Well, let's say that you took out $20,000 for coronavirus-related issues to be able to cover, you know, your bills or medical bills or whatever.

Well over the next three years, you could actually pay that back and you can completely ignore that $5,500 cap on the Roth IRA. So if you want to pay all $20,000 back next year, you can do that.

I'm telling you, Congress did us right when it came to this part of the CARES Act.

Now, here's the thing though: I still do not want you to depend on this. Do not, do not depend on this. Even if your retirement account has survived the roughly 20% drop in the stock market this year, the thing that I don't want you to do is miss out on potential growth that will come when the stock markets eventually comeS back. Because trust me, they will.

If you look at past recessions, typically the stock market will fall for maybe a year, 18 months, but then it starts to go back up. So what you don't want to happen is that you've taken the money out of the retirement account when you could have been using an emergency fund and then the markets start to come back and you miss out on that growth because you can't pay back the money in time before the market starts boosting back up again. So yeah, you would be doing yourself a total disservice even if you don't realize it.

So I'm going to advise against depending on that. If you are up a creek without a paddle and you have no choice, go ahead and do that. But do not make that your number one priority. Focus instead on building up your emergency fund as much as you can, rely on the emergency fund first and then go there as a last resort.

Okay, so let's say that you have checked all of the boxes. You can cover your four walls, the housing and utilities, the transportation, the basic clothing, the food. You're able to pay the minimum payments on your debts, or you are debt free. Hey. And you also have an emergency fund that can carry you for several months.

Well then what do you do with this stimulus check?

Well, don't go shopping. All right. At least not in the way that you might be thinking.

Now, what you could do, and this is not my preferred approach, but what you could do, here's an option, is you actually could invest it in the stock market. I know prices are tanking right now. I get it, I get it, I get it. But remember: buy low, sell high. And so you buy right now when things are lower or you buy in six months or whatever - you can try to time the marketing if you want to. No one really knows where it's going to go - but the idea is you can take some of that money, buy some stocks now. Eventually it's going to come back. As long as it's a company that's not likely to go bankrupt. Go ahead, buy some stocks. You can do that. It'll help you in the long run. Right. Okay.

But that's honestly not my preferred approach, which seems odd considering I'm a money person. My thought process is actually going a different way.

What I want you to do is I want you to take advantage of this opportunity to be - I want you to come out of the coronavirus pandemic a better person than you were than when you went into it. So here's what I mean.

I want you to, instead of investing in the stock market, I want you to invest in yourself.

So let's say that there are some, there was a course that you wanted to take that you're confident it'ss going to help you boost your business. It's going to help you grow your business. It's going to help you be more profitable, or it's going to help you get more visibility, get more clients, whatever. Well, now is the time to go ahead and do that.

If you have some free money leftover from that stimulus check, go ahead and use that. Invest it into that course so that you can improve your business. That's gonna put you and your business in a better position than it was when you went into the corona... - when we went into the coronavirus situation. That's great. That's ideal.

What else can you do?

Oh, you can invest in your health, for example. So what if there was a, I don't know, online training program that you wanted to do a physical fitness program and you're like, "Look, I've been wanting to get something. I didn't have the time before, which I have now," or maybe I didn't have the money to pay for like a really good program, then, Hey, now is the time. Now with the opportunity, if you've already ticked off the boxes for your needs, like Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. If you have those other things taken care of, here's an opportunity to invest in yourself from a health standpoint.

Or invest in yourself from a mental health standpoint.

If I'm going to be really transparent right now, when my brother passed away, one of the things I recognized is that I was going to need help processing my grief. Grief is really, really complicated. Um, I'm not, I've never been the most comfortable with emotions anyway, and so I decided that I was going to go into counseling, and so I'm seeing a counselor and that costs money. You know what I mean?

But I'm investing in that and that might be something you need to invest in as well. Are there some things that you've been wanting to work through, or there's some things that you've been wanting to figure out how to process, how to deal with. Well, now is the time to invest in that.

A lot of counselors are doing things via text. They're doing things over the phone. They're doing things via FaceTime. My counselor and I, we FaceTime once a week. It has been a blessing. Every dollar that I has paid for has been worth it. Let me reassure you. So your mental health matters.

So take care of your physical health. Take care of your mental health.

Look, the possibilities are endless. Maybe you invest in something that you can do with your kids. One of my husband's coworkers, he actually does martial arts with his kids as a way to bond.

Or maybe you do something with your spouse where you guys take a master class on cooking. There's tons of masterclasses out there.

Who knows, but the point is take the opportunity to invest in yourself. The truth is that at the end of the day, I want you to take your stimulus check and I want you to just put yourself in the best position that you possibly can. So if everything is covered, if all your needs are taken care of, if your emergency fund is stacked, take the time to invest in yourself.

Don't go doing a bunch of shopping. I want you to look back at this time and I want you to say, you know what? I spent that money wisely. I spent that money well. I protected my family. I improved my family 's situation. I improved our family's position. Um, I became a better person for the sake of myself and my family. I want you to be able to say those types of things, not, I blew it on shopping for new shoes or shopping and getting new wigs or whatever it is. I want you to come out of this situation in a better position than you were when we went into it.

So how was that? How are you feeling? Do you feel like you have a good idea of what you're going to do with your stimulus check? In fact, go ahead, drop it in the comments. Let us know. I'm curious.

Now, let me see this. If you are, after listening to all this, you feel like, okay, says, I still need a little help. I'm still not quite sure what I'm going to do. I still need someone to help me figure out what the right direction, what the right path is for me. Don't worry. I have you covered.

What I want you to do is I want you to join me on the phone. I want you to join me in a video chat . And let's talk about everything that's going on with your money so we can figure out the best way for you to leverage a stimulus check to put your family in the best position possible.

What I'm doing is I'm offering my Dream Builder Strategy Sessions for 50% off. Okay? That's what I'm doing. It's just - it's what I want to do for coronavirus. Okay? Don't judge me. I want to do this. I want to help.

So all you have to do to access that session so we can take a deep dive into what it is that's going on with your money - all you have to do is head to I want you to scroll down to where it says dream builder strategy session. Click on that "Book Now" button.

Now you're going to go through the process, you're going to schedule your session, and then when you get to that last window, that checkout window, I want you to enter the promo code: CARES. C. A. R. E. S. CARES like, the CARES Act. Once you do that, it'll give you 50% off. So that hundred and $49 session now is going to be less than $75.

Naturally. I'm going to include the link to access that session and the promo code in the description. So don't worry, I got you covered.

Now that you have my strategies in mind and a way to get connected for my one on one help, let's get connected on social media. You can find me on Instagram and Twitter with the handle tianabclewis, or you can find me on Facebook under selahfinancialcoaching, which is the name of my business because Facebook is difficult and won't let me change it.

Also, let me know that you found this video to be helpful to your life by smashing that like button and subscribing to my channel. Remember, you have to click the bell so that you are notified every time I dropped new money tips and strategies every Wednesday and Saturday.

Finally, if you are looking for more information on how you can take back control of your money so you can survive this season of uncertainty, don't worry. I have you covered there. Here are a couple of videos that are going to be super helpful in you doing that.

So you go click on those videos and watch them and I will talk to you next week. Bye, bye.


Questioning whether or not you can afford to pay your bills with the shelter-at-home orders in place? Check out these blog posts and videos about how to deal with your creditors through great dos, some serious don’ts and a clear plan on how to get them paid:

If you’re one of those people struggling to figure out how you’re going to keep it all together in the midst of this insanity, I want to help. From now through the end of April, I am offering everyone a special rate of $74.50 for a Dream Builders Strategy Session. That’s 50% off of the normal rate! Just use promo code “CARES”:

Get more tips and strategies on creating a stellar budget here:

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