Some taxpayers can bank on an extra income tax check this year. To help stimulate the economy the White House is dishing out a bonus. Single taxpayers will get $600. Married couples will get $1200. Parents will get an additional $300 per child up to two kids. Although the check isn't quite in the mail yet, most people already have the money spent.
With high gas prices and rising grocery costs, many Americans are falling behind on bills. "Consumers are getting pinched from a lot of angles," said Brennan Redmond, an investment consultant for Brighton Securities.
People we spoke with Friday say as much as they'd like to hit the mall, they'll use the rebate to get out of the hole. "I don't have any money to spend any money. I need all the money I can to bring me back to zero," said Rhiannon Bolos.
"I would end up saving it," said Sharif Abdallah.
Grant Atkins thinks the President's plan will backfire. "What's 1200 to 1500 dollars going to do for a family? It's like an RG&E bill and some groceries. Is that actually going to boost the economy?"
Financial experts say before you spend the rebate, make sure you've set aside six months of pay in a savings account for emergencies. And it's better to put your money away where it can grow instead of paying off credit cards. "If you're not having trouble meeting your monthly bills then it'd be better to use your money to start a savings account and get yourself in the habit," said Redmond.
Another good place for your rebate would be in a tax deductible IRA. The only thing is you can't touch it until you're 60 or so.
The economic stimulus plan would pump 150 billion dollars into the economy. To qualify for the rebate, you have to make less than $75,000 a year. Married couples who file together can't make more than $150,000.
The rebates could be in the mail as early as May. The rebate's not a done deal yet. Congress takes it up next week, and already some members from both parties want to add more provisions to the deal, including youth summer jobs and money for Medicaid.
President Bush is urging lawmakers to quickly come to an agreement, so the money can get in the hands of taxpayers this spring.