3 Tips on spending your COVID-19 relief check

Corbin Daniel Pierce
3 min readApr 11, 2020

Starting April 24th, the US government will begin issuing checks and bank account deposits to 93% of Americans attempting to relieve the financial burden of COVID-19 impacts. Free cash! Regardless of what tax bracket you fall into, this is a much-needed boost of hope that things will be back to normal someday.

Before all my millennial homies take that $1,000 and spend it on their rent and a new Madewell sweater… I thought I’d offer a few practices on how to make those dollars go further. Whether you’re an actor, a start-up or an hourly employee, these tips are meant to put your mind at ease over the next few months until things are back to normal.

I’m not a financial guru, but I spent my early 20’s maintaining a mortgage, wife and baby from duct-taping side-hustles together (Janitor, Musician, Lyft driver, designer… not in any particular order); and nothing has gone terribly wrong so far (I traded that lifestyle in for a different one… more on that later)!

How to spend your IRS Stimulus Check; 3 simple suggestions.

  1. Adopt a “Keep the Lights On” Spending Mentality

If it doesn’t feed you or put a roof over your head… time to end the service or suspend payments until this blows over. Stop Netflix, switch to streaming HBO for free right now. Everyone is hurting right now, your landlord, your bank, everyone and people are willing to wave penalties for cancellations and late fees. The last thing you want is 100% of your precious check to go towards bills that aren’t an immediate need. In business, we call this “Keep the lights on” spending. Having that KTLO mentality at this time will give you back control over your cash and make those aid funds go further.

2. Get ready for a Marathon

Now that you’ve set your KLTO spending priorities… Divide the check by 6.

Most medical professionals think this thing will last until November. Do not view this check as only this month’s support, but more of a trickle to pull from over the next 6 months. You’re going to have to come up with the rest! It’s a marathon not a sprint. Instead of using it to cover rent 100% this month, let it cover 15% of the rent for the next 6. With a KTLO mentality, the gap to cover from there should substantially shrink. Instead of just a month’s peace of mind… 2020 is already looking better.

3. Be generous

Ben Carson said, “Happiness is not a result of what you get, but what you give.” He nailed it. Even if it’s $15 of this check… invest those dollars somewhere beyond yourself to keep a grip on what matters. A friend who needs a meal, a restaurant that needs the support, we all know someone who has been hit harder by this than we have. Give yourself the chance to feel truly satisfied and give some of those dollars away. More to come on this topic later, but whether you are a business or individual, giving to things outside of your bottom line gives color and a tune to otherwise mundane pursuits.

So there it is. It may not solve all your problems in this time, but it may just give you a tool or two to focus on the essentials and give the check you’ll receive 3–4 weeks from now the best chance at being the true relief we all need.



Corbin Daniel Pierce

I work too much… and I’m working on it. Insights on work, life and the joy they should bring.