- Days left

Supercharge your stimulus rebate at select retailers

In the next few weeks, economic stimulus checks will begin hitting mailboxes and bank accounts across America. Like all good Americans, you should be ready to spend your check as soon as it arrives in order to stimulate the economy. Several retailers have already announced programs to lure shoppers through their doors with stimulus incentives.

Both Kroger and Sears are offering 10% bonuses, in the form of gift cards to anyone who signs over their stimulus check. If you want to get in on the spending but received your economic stimulus check via direct deposit, you can still take part in the "deal" via check or debit card.

I'm going to go out on a limb and predict the future, in May and June, we will see loads of check fraud as retailers have untrained clerks accepting checks for over $1,000, just wait and see.

The real question which you need to ask yourself is, whether this additional 10% bonus is worth spending your government windfall, rather than tackling debt. While these gift cards have no fees or expiration dates, cards are easy to lose and misplace, costing you a nice chunk of change. Also even though gift cards tell the holder to, "treat the same as cash," in my case, a gift card gives me a feeling that I can buy whatever I want since it isn't really money, often leading to frivolous purchases. If you find that you had similar feelings with the last gift card grandma sent you on your birthday, this deal may not be for you.Personally I am going to forgo stimulating the economy. That's right, much to my wife's disappointment, we won't be spending the rebate on scrap-booking supplies and a flat screen TV. Our stimulus check will be heading straight to our credit card debt, which last time I checked, we were paying more than 10% interest on. Even though the debt is on its way to a 0% card in the next month, knocking over a grand off of our debt is way more satisfying than any shiny, beautiful, sexy new HDTV is. Right? Right?

Unless you have a killer interest rate, your stimulus check may be best spent on what you purchased last year, rather than what you want to purchase this summer.

Increase your money and finance knowledge from home

Understanding Credit Scores

Credit scores matter -- learn how to improve your score.

View Course »

Goal Setting

Want to succeed? Then you need goals!

View Course »

TurboTax Articles

Deducting Summer Camps and Daycare with the Child and Dependent Care Credit

If you paid a daycare center, babysitter, summer camp, or other care provider to care for a qualifying child under age 13 or a disabled dependent of any age, you may qualify for a tax credit of up to up to 35 percent of qualifying expenses of $3,000 for one child or dependent, or up to $6,000 for two or more children or dependents.

Video: Who Qualifies for an Affordable Care Act Exemption (Obamacare)?

The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to have health insurance or pay a tax penalty. But, who qualifies for an Affordable Care Act exemption? Find out more about who qualifies for an exemption from the Affordable Care Act tax penalty, how to claim an exemption on your tax return and how the Affordable Care Act may affect your taxes with this video from TurboTax.

What Is Schedule H: Household Employment Taxes

If you hire people to do work around your house on a regular basis, they might be considered household employees. Being an employer comes with some responsibilities for paying and reporting employment taxes, which includes filing a Schedule H with your federal tax return. But even if you have household employees, filing Schedule H is required only if the total wages you pay them is more than certain threshold amounts specified by federal tax law.

Taxable Income vs. Nontaxable Income: What You Should Know

Knowing what to claim as taxable and nontaxable income can reduce your tax liability. Income can be acquired in many forms, including wages, salaries, interest, tips and commissions. ?Consider all money that increases your wealth as taxable,? advises accountant Caroline Thompson. ?There is very little that is nontaxable. The government specifically lists anything that is not taxable and the circumstances that must exist or occur for it to be non-taxed income,? she adds.

What Are the Tax Penalties for Smokers?

Starting in 2014, the Individual Shared Responsibility provision of the Affordable Care Act made you responsible for having minimum essential coverage, or MEC, in health insurance. Otherwise, you need to be eligible for a health care exemption, or you could pay a penalty when filing your income tax return. This requirement for minimum essential coverage applies to smokers and nonsmokers alike. If you?re not covered by an employer's health plan and are a smoker, you can go to the health care marketplace to find MEC. If you?re still unable to comply, you may have a penalty applied.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum