What to do with the check

Will you save or spend IRS payment?


Package deal

Eligible taxpayers will receive:

- Up to $600 per individual

- $1,200 per married couple

- $300 for each child under age 17

Direct deposit payments,

by Social Security number

- Numbers ending in 00 to 20: May 2

- Numbers ending in 21 to 75: May 9

- Numbers ending in 76 to 99: May 16

Dates checks should be in the mail, by Social Security number

- Numbers ending in 00 to 09: May 16

- Numbers ending in 10 to 18: May 23

- Numbers ending in 19 to 25: May 30

- Numbers ending in 26 to 38: June 6

- Numbers ending in 39 to 51: June 13

- Numbers ending in 52 to 63: June 20

- Numbers ending in 64 to 75: June 27

- Numbers ending in 76 to 87: July 4

- Numbers ending in 88 to 99: July 11

Source: Internal Revenue Service, www.irs.gov

— A check in your name may arrive soon as part of the federal government's much-heralded - if not awkwardly named - economic stimulus package.

Payments started arriving last week for taxpayers who filed for direct deposit, and others should start receiving checks in the next several weeks. Single people will get up to $600, married couples $1,200 and parents an extra $300 for children younger than 17.

More than 130 million households will receive payments, according to the Internal Revenue Service. The idea is to cut residents a break and stimulate the battered U.S. economy.

But those who want to be responsible with the windfall should use it to pay down credit card debt, said James Ballard, a financial planner and investment adviser in Steamboat Springs.

"Other than that, they're probably going to be forced to spend it on their gas," Ballard said. "With increased gasoline prices and food, they may not have much choice but to do that."

But, really, where's the fun in that? There's got to be something spicier to spend cash on in Steamboat. Happy-hour margaritas for your hundred closest friends, perhaps, or a $200 bottle of 2005 Leonetti Cellar Reserve wine from Walla Walla Valley in Washington. That's what Cellar Liquors manager Chris Gibbens recommends for a wine drinker with cash to burn.

And for the outdoorsy type? You could put money toward next year's ski pass, which will cost $979 for the Steamboat Ski Area. Or you could buy a Super Plus Pass for $439 and ski at Copper and Winter Park - plus six unrestricted days here.

Several Steamboaters said they would put money toward a new mountain bike, a kayak or winter mountain gear. Bruce Lee, who co-owns Straightline Outdoor Sports, said he'd be happy to take the cash off your hands. Fly rods run from $100 to $600, he said.

"Six hundred dollars would get them real quality stuff," Lee said. "You could get a nice rod and a pair of waders. If people have extra cash lying around, I'd love to help them out."

Personally, Lee would go a more practical route. He needs new floor mats for his truck. He'd also get a gift - rawhide chew toys - for his yellow Labrador, Ruby.

Urban Laundry employee Anne Wolfe might suggest spring dresses for prom, graduation and weddings for customers waltzing in with a wad of cash and commerce on their minds.

"It's not a necessity, so that's something good to spend free money on," Wolfe said. Of course, if she gets a check, she said, it's headed straight to the bank.

Epilogue Book Co. owner Erica Fogue's eyes flashed at the mention of a customer ready to drop 600 big ones. She'd recommend "a whole stack of great books for summer reading, maybe : or maybe something for mom for Mother's Day," which is May 11.

Her store also does stacking for people's libraries, so she suggested "maybe like a 10-foot stack of any kind of books." And for someone with a child, she'd recommend the whole Dr. Seuss collection.

"For a really big splurge - oh, it's so enticing - there's a set of Shakespeare books I've considered getting," Fogue said. "It's like $500."

Sweet Potato Lingerie has a few things on hand for people seeking the functional or frivolous, owner Leslie Faulkner said. She suggested that those with a few hundred to spare buy a bit of both.

"Like, stock up on some bras, if it's a woman, or sleepwear or a robe," Faulkner said. "And then they could get something, like a nicer, more expensive piece."

Perfume and cologne are options, she said.

"And there are these stiletto cowboy boots, for the rodeo," Faulkner said, pointing out a black pair that would set a customer back about $82.

There are all kinds of options out there, but most people have said they would pay bills or save. Taxpayers who aren't in debt should put the check into a money market fund or put it into a cash account so they can use it later for food and gas, Ballard said.

"If they don't need it right this minute, they're going to need it soon," he said with a laugh.

- To reach Blythe Terrell, call 871-4234

or e-mail bterrell@steamboatpilot.com


handyman 8 years, 11 months ago

playa46 - I don't think that the gov't can do anything about our $4,000,000,000,000 (looks scarier that way) debt except make it bigger. In economic terms, I don't think that it's possible to get out from under it. How many people have only $600 worth of debt to get out of? Most folks have lots more. Aaaah, what a time we live in.


MtnWarlock 8 years, 12 months ago

It is going to be nice to receive a little bonus from Uncle Sam. I had a debate with a co-worker the other day over lunch, about how this cash would help the economy. She said that the free money would help people spend a little more and create a band aid on consumer spending and consumer confidence. I explained that was the initial intension for the stimulus checks however, my debate with her was; If people save the money, they will use it for consumable goods to offset the cost of gasoline and food which, the government taxes the heck out of it anyway! With the increasing shortfalls in local government budgets because of fuel prices, we will just be giving it mostly back to the government, then the commodities investors and OPEC. She said she felt the money will keep the economy flowing with jobs, taxes, and consumer spending which would seep into the economies cracks! I told her that in my opinion, the economies cracks are becoming cervices to fill. If we can't find a way to boost the value of the dollar on the world markets, it is going to get worse and could last for a significant time! I also explained that the shortages of wheat and rice globally, are tied to fuel consumption and prices. She said that she heard that and that things should even out soon with the tax stimulus checks. I said it will help however, I didn't know for how long. I explained that I knew I was sounding rather pessimistic and conservative about this issue however; my observations of the world markets and issues tied to oil have me a little paranoid for many of us! I don't foresee stabilization of the oil market until the dollar gains strength again. I closed our debate by telling her that; everything we do is tied to oil! So, when the cost of oil inflates, that cost will trickle down into everything! I just hope it is not a repeat of the 70's oil embargo era of double digit inflation and oil shortages! She said she thought that the stimulus package was a good deal and that it was not a false sense of security sold to us by the government! She explained that she felt everything will bounce back by summers end. I told here that I wish I could be that optimistic about it! I guess we will see when the quarterly figures come in. As far as I'm concerned, and as negative as it sounds, it's not just all tied to oil, it's tied to greed! Spend it wisely! Have a good day!


justathought 8 years, 12 months ago

I love the way the term "free money" just keeps popping up. I guess a lot of people out there really are getting "free money" but I actually had to earn mine. If I ever get money that wasn't taken from me in the first place, then I'd call it free money.


coolerguy 8 years, 12 months ago

Enjoy the money. The govt. gave us notice we would not get a check, only a bill for the other checks that went out.


Matthew Stoddard 8 years, 11 months ago

Want to make it scarier? Our National Debt is actually:


$9,352,786,691,214 and growing.


Pilatus 8 years, 12 months ago

If the premise of reduced taxes via a rebate in this case is a good thing...stimulating the economy, then why wouldn't we do it all the time and make lower taxes permanent? In this case with the dollar being devalued so much it seems the economies most likely to be stimulated are the oil economies, if you spend it on fuel or China, if you spend it on anything else. But hey, we borrowed the money from China anyway so I guess we owe them one!


Matthew Stoddard 8 years, 12 months ago

Mine will pay the credit card bill for vacation last week!


id04sp 8 years, 12 months ago

Don't you all remember the last time they did this? This is a refund of tax money you will pay to cover the tax you owe for this year. When you file taxes next year, these checks will reduce the amount of your refund. Guess what else? This rebate can leave you owing money next April, where you would not have owed it without the rebate.

Put the check in the bank and save it until next year's income tax is due. That's when you'll need it unless you overpay by more than the rebate as a regular practice.


BoatMaster 8 years, 12 months ago


Many of us wont be getting the check, only a bill in our taxes to pay for all the ones that were given out!


playa46 8 years, 12 months ago

It's good to finally see the government do something about our 4 TRILLION dollar debt. This will also be a good chance for people with debt to get out of it. Of couse, being to young I wont get the chance to have money. :(


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