If you qualify for a stimulus check and plan to spend it on “nonessentials,” then congratulations, you’re in the minority.
A survey of 1,592 Americans found that roughly 37% of respondents plan to spend their single coronavirus relief check on bills, while 26% plan to save it, and 20% plan to spend it on household necessities. In the Motley Fool-backed survey, less than 1% of respondents indicated they’d donate their check, about 2.4% said they’d buy something nonessential, and roughly 4% said they plan to invest it. (In this economy??)
Altogether, about 22% of respondents plan to shop with their checks for either necessities or nonessentials. Asked where they’ll spend that money, more than half said at a big-box or chain store. Just 14% of those respondents said they plan to spend their check at local, small businesses.
That may not be surprising, but it’s certainly unfortunate. The U.S. government has already failed to swiftly deliver funds to many of the local shops upended by the pandemic through the Paycheck Protection Program. If the survey is any indication of larger trends, those small businesses also stand to gain less from stimulus check spending than big chains do—and large brands already have greater access to capital in a halted economy.
It’s all the more reason to shop as locally as you can, if your circumstances allow it, rather than handing the entirety of your check over to a big-box chain or Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.