Stimulate this! Spending your Economic Stimulus tax rebate check, 10 great ideas
Let's start with a couple of Don'ts. Don't use your rebate check for conspicuous consumption -- TVs, DVD players, large bottles of Champagne, imported Kobe beef, a trip to Cancun. Don't use it to create a greater need for fossil fuels; not as a down payment for a new car (if your very survival depends on a car, at least get a used one), or to trade up to a bigger gas guzzler, or for a power mower, or to put a new hot tub in. Do this and you'll help stimulate us into the worst possible direction.
Here's a better idea. Do try to spend it locally on something that will benefit your financial future! I've been reading a lot of smart people's musings about this (and coming up with some of my own), and have identified some areas of absolute crisis in our economy. Our country's farmland is being stripped by the wrong-headed over-production of corn and soy (in complete ignorance of sustainable farming practices). Our limited fossil fuel resources are being frittered away unnecessarily so we can continue to cling to our isolated, wasteful car culture. Our healthcare expenditures are reaching a panic point, while we are eating ever-more-expensive, ever-more-damaging food. Life as we know it is not sustainable, and no one seems to have the willpower to reverse the societal tide.
Doing something radical with your Economic Stimulus Package check can be both fun and good for your own financial bottom line. You'll end up with more money left after your pay your bills, you'll be healthier, and you may just spur a tiny bit of social change. At the very least, it can't hurt you. Here are some ideas: