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What to do with your stimulus check
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On Monday, folks began to see the fruits of the 2008 Stimulus Package arrive in their checking accounts - earlier than expected.

So what will you do with the extra money?

Lawmakers intended for us to spend the money to help stimulate a lethargic economy by not using the money to pay down debt but to use it to purchase new goods.

The ways to spend the money has been a topic of conversation since the package was announced earlier in the year.

Most, including myself, are tempted to use the money to pay off credit card bills or to put in the savings account for rainy days that, by all accounts, could be on the way.

But the kid in me - that by the way is being spurred on by the Federal Government, wants to blow the money on something completely frivolous because, hey, this is money I wasn't counting on.

I've had my eye on a new television since mine is from the dark ages where people used tubes instead of plasma or liquid crystal. For the first time it is actually good to be bad, but it still feels so wrong.

A 37 inch HDTV would look really nice in my loft, but there are so many other things I could spend the money on that would make more sense.

Like a $600 payment to the student loan company or a paying off the credit card or, God forbid, actually paying bills ahead of their due dates.

It is our job, however, to stimulate the economy. How can I deny the U.S. Congress its wishes for the stimulus check? It would be unpatriotic. Right?

So what happens in a couple of months when all the stimulus checks have been spent and the country is faced with trying to plan how to get through the rest of this economically down time? Without the promise of a stimulus check in another six months, what will we do?

Don't get me wrong; I'm super excited about getting a check on May 9, but can it really pull our economy out of the doldrums.

Will gas be any less expensive after the checks are sent out?

Will food be any less expensive when all the stimulus money has been spent?

Will the dollar find its once untouchable strength when all is said and done and Stimulus 2008 is in the record books?

Probably not.

 That would be a real stimulus right now. Let's have $2.50 a gallon gas again (that's a compromise at nearly $3.60 a gallon). I want to go to the grocery store and spend less than $50 for three bags of the most basic food items.

Can the magic stimulus check get us there?

Most likely not.

So what is the answer?

If I knew, I would have joined an economic think tank by now. But I don't think the stimulus check is the answer - it's nice but not the answer.

I suspect for a many folks the check will be used to supplement their income to pay for things like gasoline and groceries or to pay bills just to keep the lights and water on.

In five years, we may look back on the Stimulus Package of 2008 as the most ingenious piece of legislation of the decade, but I highly doubt it.

Hopefully, in five years we will be able, though, to look back and reflect on a time when we made the best of an economic situation that has and will try most of us in ways that we have never been tried.

So as inflation balloons into the stratosphere and our wallets collapse from sheer hollowness, remember to spend your stimulus check on things that will stimulate the economy.

Robby Byrd is the editor of The Covington News. He can be reached at rbyrd@covnews.