How Will You Spend Your Tax Rebates?

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  1. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    Hello 600 scratch and win tickets!

  2. MercuryPDX says:

    Bank…. that “6 months salary reserve” is not going to build itself.

  3. catcherintheeye says:

    See – the vast majority said pay off debt and put in the bank (granted this is not scientific at all), exactly what the government didn’t want.

    A misguided attempt.

  4. MercuryPDX says:

    And I at already stimulate the cigarette industry…

  5. @public enemy #1: I knew someone in one of my college courses who won 500 dollars with a scratch off, and ended up buying scratch off tickets, and hit something like 20 or 50,000.

  6. joebloe says:

    I paid A LOT yet I am not getting any rebate.

  7. quagmire0 says:

    @catcher – no, as one person put it when I said the same thing, putting money in the bank helps the banking system, so it all works out to help the economy.

  8. @catcherintheeye: Putting it the bank DOES help the economy. Banks have more to lend, which means they will lend to more people, which will help them start a business, which will give people jobs. Things really do trickle down.

  9. bloatboy says:

    100 cups of coffee.

  10. LoveNoelG says:

    @catcherintheeye: I think the sample of Consumerist readers (people with an awareness of finance) isn’t the best gauge.

    Most people will buy iPhones and spinny tires, I’m sure.

  11. descend says:

    I’m investing in foreign markets.

  12. Photogdc says:

    Please note: nothing has been voted on or passed into law yet. This is simply the proposal that will now be debated and probably passed.

  13. sleze69 says:

    Where’s the “I don’t qualify” option?

  14. MasterShake says:

    I’m getting spinny tires for my iPhone!

    …or paying off a small bite of my debt, whichever comes first.

  15. @bloatboy: Hope it helps, Fry. I’m swimming with a whale.

  16. JustAGuy2 says:

    #7: not getting anything.

  17. B says:

    @lovenoelg: 100 sets of trucknutz, here I come.

  18. DonnieZ says:

    One of the seven so far that checked “Food.” Having a wedding is expensive, but I’m acceptingany “free” money from the government that I can get this year!

    GWB & Co: Thanks for buying dinner for about 100 people.

  19. exkon says:

    I’m glad to see that most people are voting to pay off debt, but I guarantee how this is going to go down…

    1) Plan how the money will be divided to pay off debts.
    2) Realize that you don’t have to pay off so much debt, save some over for “entertainment” expenses.
    3) Slow put more and more money into “entertainment”
    4) Rebate is gone, debt still there.

  20. @B: I wouldn’t do that just yet, this law may get passed Truck Nuts to be banned

  21. Joafu says:

    Oh Taco Bell, Taco Bell, product placement with Taco Bell; Enchirito, macho burrito. Time to stimulate the essence of everything American- drive thru fast food.

  22. rbb says:

    I’m getting nothing because the government decided not to give me my own money back and to give it to someone who did not earn it.

    If the government is able to give back so much money, then maybe they should not have taken it at all in the first place…

  23. beavis88 says:

    I’m thinking I may contribute to the campaign of some politicians who aren’t idiots. If I can find any.

  24. Joafu says:

    @rbb: I dunno man, that sounds like efficiency.

  25. Myron says:

    Not really a tax rebate, is it?

    If the cut off is 150k per couple then I’m not getting jack shit.

  26. unklegwar says:

    Where’s the option for “Nothing, I’m getting screwed”

  27. Dead Wrestlers Society says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: I won $100 a long time ago on a scratch and win. It turned out to be a curse, as they got their $100 and then some when I kept buying them and won at most $2 or a free ticket.

  28. UpsetPanda says:

    I’m putting mine into paying off a student loan my fiancee has. Paying off the debt is equally as beneficial for both of us because I have never been in debt and refuse to go any more in debt.

  29. m4ximusprim3 says:

    I’m buying guitar hero 3, and the rest goes to el banco.

    I like to think of it as “looking out for the economy and my future” or “diversifying my assets”. It sounds so much better than “rationalizing my unnecessary spending by promising to engage in responsible saving as well”.

  30. Shawna says:

    A lot of people are going to be like “WHooooo! Free money!!! I’m going to go party and buy me an XBox 360!” My mom said it would be better if people had debt, to not give them a check, but just put the amount toward the debt they had… instead of giving these people “free money” they can blow on stuff they can’t afford.

  31. HRHKingFriday says:

    1%: Bitches
    1%: Hoes
    10%: Baby Mommas
    70%: reefer
    10%: forties
    8%: spinnin rims

  32. snoop-blog says:

    @HRHKingFriday: you copied my spending list. damn!

  33. LoveNoelG says:

    @UpsetPanda: I hate to be cynical but I really cringed reading your comment. I hope that all works out for you, if not date me.

  34. snoop-blog says:

    i’m going to LAS VEGAS!!!!!! do it every year.

  35. catcherintheeye says:

    @lovenoelg: As I said, this certainly isn’t a scientific analysis.

    @GitEmSteveDave: I was under the impression that this was meant to be a short-term solution. I’m not going to argue that things do work as you described, but over what period of time?

  36. Shawna says:

    @lovenoelg: I sort of cringed at UpsetPanda’s comment too. Hope it all works out.

  37. @catcherintheeye: I am no economist, just a consumerist, so I can’t even guess as to the time scale. But if you look at the results above, there will be a stimulus for some retail outlets, and the banks will be able to post more deposits, both of which will help the markets out. The people who make money off the markets will either save it in a bank, helping, or invest in more things, which infuses businesses with money to open more stores/hire more people, etc….

  38. peteynice says:

    What no “hookers and blow” option? I will be spreading the wealth around to some worthwhile subversive groups.

  39. DrGirlfriend says:

    We hope to be able to buy a house this year, so this will likely go into savings for a down payment.

  40. MercuryPDX says:
  41. m4ximusprim3 says:

    @HRHKingFriday: Nothing like a diversified investment portfolio. I would maybe cut back on the reefer and use the capital to short golf course futures- most of us upper class whities aren’t gonna get squat.

  42. Anks329 says:

    I’ve got to wait till June before I get this… it’s going to be useless by then. They need to mail the checks out a lot faster than that.

  43. rachaeljean says:

    I’m putting mine towards the very last of my credit card debt! I am on a plan to pay it off in 1 year 8 months at the latest. It sounds arbitrary, but that’s paying $250 a month until it’s gone, plus adding unexpeted cash (like this!) to it when it comes. This will, effectively cut several months off my payback plan!

    So, instead of it taking 20 months to pay off, it will now be gone in 15 or so, if not sooner! Huzzah for that!

    I was *really* tempted to look at the amount of my anticipated rebate – $1200! – and see how very closely that matches what I want to spend on a new iMac! But, no. It’s not meant to be! I’ll buy it with cash saved the good old fashioned way. Sigh!

  44. HRHKingFriday says:

    @m4ximusprim3: Cut back on the reefer? Surely you jest.

  45. TangDrinker says:

    Save it for paying for day care for those months with 5 weeks.

  46. The Porkchop Express says:

    @peteynice: I know right. How can I vote if there isn’t a choice for me??

  47. Straight to the bank account to start picking up interest.

  48. crevers says:

    This is NOT law yet. A deal has been reached in the HOUSE, and HOUSE only…that’s why you saw Speaker Pelosi & Rep. Boehner talking with Secretary Paulson. The Senate still has their say, and though leaders Reid and McConnell have expressed their desire to pass the House version, you still have 98 other Senators who would love to tack on earmarks/pork. If Reid & McConnell are able to jam this through the Senate with a minimum of extra junk, the President will sign it (almost assuredly), and depending on the distribution used (Paulson mentioned electronic methods, which would be hella faster than printing checks), you’ll have your money a few weeks/months hence. I’d put over/under at June 1st for the first (e)checks to hit the streets.

  49. StevieD says:

    I am going to spend the money on a hooker. I will stimulate my personal self was well as assist the underground economy.

  50. Amelie says:

    I’m surprised at the number of people that will “pay off debt.” I was under the delusion that most people here were money savvy…or at least they talk a good game.

  51. Smackdown says:

    Mama’s drinkin’ Amstel Light in June!! No more Miller High Life for me!

  52. deadlizard says:

    I assure you an advertising agency is preparing a slick marketing campaign that will tell you what to do with that money.

  53. Covert7 says:

    Too bad we can’t vote for more than one category. I’ll be spending about 1/3 on a new desk chair for my wife and then we’ll bank the rest.

  54. forgottenpassword says:

    Since I have absolutely no debt…. it will go directly into savings. I will let others blow theirs on snowboards, coach purses, video games etc. etc. to “stimulate” the economy.

    I saw ben stein on tv say that you should :

    ( in this order)

    “One, If you have high-interest-rate credit card debt or installment debt, pay that off,”

    “Two, if you can save it, save it.”

    “Three, if you absolutely have to spend it, buy something durable with it, like a freezer, a refrigerator, or a microwave oven.”

    Sounds like good advice to me! :)

  55. Amelie says:

    @StevieD: No your not. Your retort is what one hears on the middle school lunchroom, save for the bigger words.

  56. squidbrain says:

    You bunch of liars!

  57. stinerman says:


    If you aren’t getting a rebate, you probably don’t need it. I don’t feel bad for you.

  58. blitzcat says:

    I just paid off my car yesterday, I’ll have to think of something irresponsible to do. Oh, guns fit the bill.

  59. quentin says:

    I wish Bush could do something about the job market. I’m still looking for a job after being unemployed and my benefits are about to run out. This stimulus package is not going to do much for me.

  60. theblackdog says:

    It will go towards my credit card debt, just like how my tax refund is going to credit card debt. It is my goal to pay off the credit card debt by the end of 2008.

  61. coan_net says:

    I’ll put the $1500 that I get in the bank…… why, because I still spend my regular pay checks so I will continue to do that, and put the extra away towards a vacation.

  62. Photogdc says:

    @mercurypdx: Are you implying I am wrong? My post was correct, this has not been passed into law yet. Both this Consumerist article and the other you quoted are wrong. Look at the Wall Street Journal, New York Times or any other newspaper and my statement will be confirmed.

  63. maxkool says:

    I plan to use what ever refund I get if any to pay down some debt. It doesn’t look like I am going to get a tax rebate but Im sure I would just waste it on something stupid.

    The American Way.

  64. LatherRinseRepeat says:

    Let’s see.. After the government takes back the rebate in the form of income taxes, I’d say the net amount should be enough for a case of beer and a carton of smokes. Go USA!

  65. gingerCE says:

    If I got the money right away, I’d put in the bank. Due to unexpected car and house repairs (bad storm) I had to recently drain my emergency fund–yikes. However, I’ve gotten my emergency fund back in shape–but after such a scare, I want my emergency fund to grow much bigger than what I used to keep it at.

    So if I can get my emergency fund to about 10k by June, then I would take my $600 and use that to buy a new iMac computer.

    However, last year I had over $1500 in vet bills due to one of my dogs getting sick–I’ve paid that off but I told myself to start a separate pet emergency account and I haven’t done it. Maybe I should deposit my $600 into that separate from my emergency fund.

    Hmm–it’s nice to think about what I’d do with my fictionary rebate.

  66. StevieD says:


    How do you know that the hooker won’t get my rebate?

    Actually the W will get the rebate and I will feel free to waste my pocket cash on wasteful things.

  67. gingerCE says:

    @zouxou: I don’t have CC debt but I have the dreaded student loans–maybe that is what some people were thinking about debt. Also have a mortgage but finally, no more car payment!

    That being said, for now, I voted to put my imaginary money in the bank.

  68. gingerCE says:

    I’m assuming the income caps are after deductions? Or am I wrong? At least, if you file a Schedule C it’s after all biz deductions? Right?

  69. Photogdc says:

    I would assume the income limits are adjusted gross income (AGI) so yes after Schedule C deductions and other personal deductions.

  70. UpsetPanda says:

    @lovenoelg: Its not a massive amount of debt….it’s not “sell a child” kind of debt, not that I have one to sell, or would think about it.

  71. crevers says:

    @stinerman: It depends. I believe there are income phase-outs starting at $75K for individuals. Someone making just north of $75K in NYC, SF, DC, etc., could probably use that tax rebate more than someone making slightly under $75K in, say, rural Ohio (and let me tell you, $50K+ makes you locally wealthy back where I come from). The pol’s wanted to make this “targeted, timely, and temporary,” but they had to sacrifice precise targeting (going with a nationwide breaks and phase-outs instead of using regional cost-of-living adjustments) in order to achieve timely…and that’s assuming the Senate doesn’t muck that up.

  72. BStu says:

    My only debt is in student loans at a good rate. I have a nice bit of savings that I’m pretty comfortable with, especially projected out a few months. So, I guess I’m getting Rock Band and Guitar Hero III. Whee!

  73. kostia says:

    @catcherintheeye: The people who read Consumerist will. The average person will spend it.

  74. jdwh212 says:

    @crevers: Absolutely right! North of $75K doesn’t go very far in Manhattan – you walk out the front door and the city might as well just deduct $50 from your bank account. Not even mentioning “New York City Tax” in addition to State and Federal.

  75. kidgenius says:

    I agree, where’s the “I don’t qualify” option. Even though I know I can afford not to have it, and I feel that I should be paying more in taxes than people that make less (progressive tax), it still sucks to see these people that got us all into this mess trying by trying to act like high-rollers, and now they are just going to screw it up again. If americans could have a half-way decent sense of fiscal responsibility instead of just spending and not saving, then I wouldn’t care one way or another if I got this check or not.

  76. muddgirl says:

    600 dollars is two car payments or 6 student loan payments.

    So yeah, I’m paying that freaking car payment down. Why did I ever buy a freaking car?

  77. rustyni says:

    Goodbye Victoria’s Secret debt!!

  78. Morton Fox says:

    If they’re holding to the $75K income limit, then I won’t qualify for the tax rebate. Then again, I would probably save the money anyway, so I’m a lost cause to the Keynesian thinkers in the Federal government.

  79. bohemian says:

    Ours will go toward our tax debt. Ironic?

  80. erratapage says:

    I’m going to buy a Coach bag on credit right now in anticipation of this fabulous rebate! Then, when I get it, I’ll go out and PARTAY!

  81. ConnerC says:


    I too am going to use mine for a car.

    I’m was going to use mine to help pay for a car, but alas by the time I get in May it will have been too late. I need a pair of wheels sooner, rather then later. Oh well, I’ve been saving up for over a year and plan to buy a used cheapo car so I don’t think I’ll be screwed either way (hopefully).

  82. mcjake says:

    @muddgirl: You’re on to something there. You are probably a lot better of a consumer than I am. I’m looking at spending my money on a combination of three possible things:
    1. A wedding ring
    2. An iPhone
    3. Paying down debt.

  83. e-gadgetjunkie says:

    I will finally pay off my fiance’s wedding ring!

  84. UpsetPanda says:

    Why the hell are people worried about my impending marriage? God, it’s not like debt is unmanageable and is the end all to successful relationships. Stop cringing people, his education was worth it.

  85. UpsetPanda says:

    Oh and that above comment was directed to @shawna_m: and @lovenoelg:

  86. Osi says:

    Ah, missing the famous “other” option :) For instance here … bank for savings, paying off debt, and treating the spouse to dinner in the town :)

  87. realserendipity says:

    My household will be using to finish off the small debts we have and then the rest is going straight to the bank for emergency fund. Ill admit there will probably be some spending but it will all be wedding related.
    and upsetpanda, dont worry about worry other people say. My finacee and I have already intermingled finances too. We have been very open about our finances with each other which is more than most couples seem to do.

  88. rdm says:

    Isn’t this just like the “rebate” that was really a “cash advance on next year’s return” a la 2001? If so I am putting it in the bank. It’s not free money, if it’s like 2001. We have to claim it against next year’s return.

  89. CyGuy says:

    If Barack Obama is the Democratic nominee, then donating it all to his campaign. Otherwise, I’ll probably get a new Notebook PC as this one is getting long in the tooth.

  90. ChrisFurniss says:

    paying off debt! one day I will actually live within my means.

  91. ChrisFurniss says:

    also apple is going to sell SO MANY iPhones

  92. SisterHavana says:

    @quentinr: I’m right there in that boat with you. I’d gladly give up the $600 loan (because that’s what this is – it’s going to go right back in next year’s taxes) for the unemployment benefits reinstatement/extension. That’s what’s needed more, since all the job cutting isn’t going away anytime soon.

  93. Coles_Law says:


    I think contributing to a politician falls under “depreciating assets”.

  94. helloitabot says:

    I’m going buy toys directly from japan over the internet.

  95. MissCellania says:

    I’m sure I won’t get one. I didn’t get the last one, or were there two? I’ve never gotten one, because I don’t earn enough to pay income tax.

  96. s35flyer says:

    What rebate, I get no rebate.

  97. s35flyer says:

    Oh and all of you that do get one….your welcome.

  98. ExtraCelestial says:

    @MissCellania: @s35flyer:
    If you made $3000 you get at least $300.

    Finally juggling school and work pays off. I make enough so I’m going to owe a lot but almost all gets refunded because I’m a full time student so I’ll be qualifying for that $600 AND my regular fat refund. Wee!

    I’m either going to put it towards my 3-6 month “shit hit the fan” reserves or towards the down payment for my house later this year. Or I might just blow it on shoes :o/

  99. MYarms says:

    I’m sure just like last time the government will tell me that I don’t make enough money to be a part of the rebate. Otherwise it will probably go towards a carton of smokes, some quality scotch and gas in my car.

  100. number six says:


    My significant other and I both work full time and make less than the cutoff, so we’ll be receiving the rebate. It will go directly into savings, because we’re responsible with our finances.

    I contribute, so, fuck you, and thanks.

  101. pantsonfireliarliar says:

    Where’s the “I’m supposedly too rich to qualify” option?

    By my logic, the rebates should only go to people who make over $75000. If you want people to stimulate the economy by spending it, give to people for whom it’s disposable cash! Heh. I keed I keed.

  102. atarisuicide says:

    I am going to do my civic duty and spend it like a good consumer. This is very much against my normal way of thinking (I save money until it hurts, then I top it off a bit more), but since this money is supposed to help stimulate the economy, I am going to do my job as an American consumer and spend spend spend! *salute*

  103. stinerman says:


    I’ll give you that. There should be a cost-of-living adjustment. $75,000 where I’m from is rich, rich, rich. Not so much in NYC or LA.

  104. f0nd004u says:

    Doesn’t a good 1/2 ounce of reefer count as an investment?

  105. Cary says:

    The national debt is at an all time high which is what’s killing the dollar against foreign currencies and cocking up the economy in the first place.

    How does W. solve it? Free money. Wee. Even more debt. Wee.

    Texas size douche.

  106. humphrmi says:

    Does anyone else feel that they already spent more than they really wanted to last year, and way more than these measly rebates, and did our part to stimulate the economy *last year*, and now someone else can go ahead and stimulate the economy this year? Anyone? No?


  107. taka2k7 says:

    In the bank or maybe into the new ankle-biter’s 529. I won’t bother paying any more to wife’s school loan since she’s paying 0% interest (woot woot!) Foreign government student loan…

  108. synergy says:

    @rdm: Good point. I was just wondering if this wasn’t really free money, but just money you’d have to probably give at least partly back next year. Ugh.

  109. synergy says:

    I love the comments that sound like they’re saying that supposedly those who would qualify are somehow not contributing and surely must be food stamp or welfare dependents or something.

    Just as an example to prove otherwise, the average U.S. teacher makes about $46,000. The highest paid ones get about $70,000 in NYC, probably because it’s so friggin expensive to live there.

  110. Erwos says:

    We don’t have any debt (well, excepting about $600 on the car – two more payments to go!), so we’re going to save and spend. Probably lean more towards the save, but WeatherDirect has some interesting forecaster gear coming out soon, and I need new clocks. They seem like an American outfit, too, so I’d actually be putting the money in the right place.

  111. Erwos says:

    @stinerman: This isn’t supposed to be a welfare program. This is economic stimulus via tax rebate. Handing it to everyone is what makes sense.

    Yes, I understand the reasoning that poor people will spend it faster. Guess what? That’s not a good thing. They need to learn to save even when it’s hard, not just keep getting more money from the government to spend.

  112. Falconfire says:

    @synergy: Not exactly. Even with a payrate that high (which usually means your like ON your deathbed and still teaching…. well ok not that old but still beyond retirement age) You still could not afford a decent apartment in the better burrows of NYC unless they are rent controlled.

    In comparison my parents make 60k each at top guide in NJ, and can afford to have two houses now. NYC is so expensive that even government officials making 80-90k are having a hard time staying in the city.

  113. toddkravos says:

    …in the bank.
    Stimulate MY economy is what I say…

  114. Skiffer says:

    Where the hell is the “Government’s a bunch of shitheads and I ain’t getting a rebate” choice?

  115. Canadian Impostor says:

    Me and my partners are using the money to start a brewery. We’re scaling up production!

    Out of the kitchen and into the… uh backyard I guess.

  116. Daveed says:

    Jesus, I’m poor and I feel like the only person in the world that ever has to pay more taxes….every year. And yes I’m doing everything right.


  117. S-the-K says:

    I probably chose the wrong answer, but it will probably be to pay down debt on depreciating assets, e.g., car and appliance. :-)

    My first thought was put it in the bank, but then figured it would be a good opportunity to split it between my car loan and interest-free appliance loan balance.

    I’m sure the “smart” answer is to invest it, but that seems kind of dicey right now. I’m already investing the most that I’m comfortable with.

    In case you are wondering, it is an appliance I purchased with 3-years “same as cash”. I’m on schedule to pay it off in 2 years. And I’m on schedule to pay my 5-year car loan in 2.5 years.

  118. S-the-K says:

    I thought the plan was everyone getting a rebate, whether you paid taxes or not?

    I’m offended that people who didn’t pay taxes will get a rebate and that people who paid too much taxes (aka the evil “rich”) don’t get a rebate. Granted $600 to an evil “rich” person is pocket change, but I don’t think they will (literally) flush it down the toilet.

  119. angryrider says:

    Paying off my phone bill. WTF does owning a telephone line cost me $20 a month?!

  120. missbheave (is not convinced) says:

    @mercurypdx: exactly. Not that we’ll get that much in interest but at least it will be there!

  121. kierzandax says:

    I’m going to use it as spending money while in England and France. I’m going to stimulate their economies.

  122. Mr. Gunn says:

    Should have an option for “Donate to a politician running against the Republicans”.

  123. douchrti2004 says:

    Cracks me up. Most according to these poll results, are using to pay debts. They are giving us a lil back to pay a lil debt, when they have taken so very much from us.

  124. raspberryvixen says:

    It’ll go into the bank. At least for a little while, anyway, while I sit and stare at our bills and figure out how best to distribute it. The money will definitely come in handy because we’re going on a family vacation in the middle of May.

  125. samzuckerman says:

    Any SF Bay Area readers want to talk with Chronicle reporter on how recession fears and/or housing slump is affecting their spending patterns? Contact Sam Zuckerman at

  126. Mary says:

    Since I’ll be past the purchase of my new car at that point, it’ll go in the bank until I need it for books and/or tuition, if necessary. I didn’t see any option that I thought that fit in though, I don’t consider my education a depreciating asset.

  127. rdm says:

    I wish we weren’t getting one at all if it’s like last time and we have to PAY IT BACK. I have enough debt, thank you.

  128. Pop Socket says:

    The marriage tax hits again. If my wife and I were both single, she would get the refund and I wouldn’t. But because we like to set a good example to our kid and don’t live in sin, neither of us get it.

    Don’t even get me started on student loan deductions or child tax credits.

  129. starbreiz says:

    Paying off ccs… but I can’t file yet, i’m still waiting on my w2. *sigh*

  130. I didn’t qualify for the past rebates because I was filing as a dependent to my dad, but I think I’ll qualify for this one because I’ve been independent for two years. Where’s the category for “Spending it on something I was planning on buying anyways?” I’ve been saving up to build a new computer, so I guess I’ll have to figure in an additional $600 in extra features! Hellooo Quad-Core!

  131. Spooty says:

    I’ll frame mine. It’s the only right thing to do, as this “money” is created out of thin air. Well, all “Federal Reserve Notes” are, of course, which is hard to avoid, but this is a point where I can take a stand again the federal government creating however-many-billions-of-dollars for these particular shenanigans. Plus, it’s a big “fuck you” to those people, from Dubya on down, who want us to spend it.