The coronavirus pandemic has plunged all of us into a “new normal.” For a lot of homeschool families, our routines haven’t changed up all that much—we just stay at home more than usual! For others, the changes have been catastrophic with health issues and job loss.
Before moving on, we’d like to know—how are you doing? Has coronavirus impacted you and your family in significant ways yet? We are here to support you through these challenging times. Reach out at 844-487-2747 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Good news for families
In the middle of all the chaos, we recently got some good news for families—the U.S. government will be sending direct payments to taxpayers to help navigate the economic impacts from the pandemic. The first payments could go out as early as mid April. So, we decided to put together a quick guide with ideas for how homeschool families can use their checks when they arrive.
First, does your family qualify?
A married couple with less than $150,000 in adjusted gross income per year will qualify. The payments gradually phase out until you reach an income of $198,000, where they end. If you qualify, you’ll get $1,200 apiece for you and your spouse plus $500 for each dependent child under the age of 17. For large homeschool families, that can add up to quite a chunk of change!
Ready for your payment?
It’s time to make sure everything is ready on your end as soon as possible. Payments are based on your 2019 income tax return. If you haven’t filed a 2019 return yet, don’t worry—the IRS will use your 2018 return instead.
A good idea is to set up direct deposit with the IRS. That will get your stimulus check into your bank account faster than waiting for a check. The Treasury Department is expected to set up an online portal where you can do this soon. Complete information from the IRS is here.
Below are some ideas for how to use your stimulus payment. We realize that every homeschool family’s financial situation is different. Some of these tips might apply to you and others won’t. We hope they are still helpful, though!
1. Make sure your family’s essentials are covered
It goes without saying that you should first think about spending a stimulus check on the basics—groceries, utilities, mortgage or rent, or health insurance premiums.
2. Beef up emergency savings
If your everyday essentials are covered for now, think about the future. Put aside a chunk of your stimulus check with the expectation that you’ll need to use it for more basics in a few months—or even an unexpected car or home repair, medical expense, or something similar. Having the extra cash put aside will give you some peace of mind in these troubling times.
3. Give to your community
The economic fallout from the pandemic is tough on the middle class, no doubt. But it’s devastating for our low-income and impoverished neighbors. They might have been working service jobs in restaurants or stores that are now closed for the foreseeable future. Those of us blessed with financial resources right now have a beautiful opportunity to help our neighbors, even in small ways.
Financial donations to food banks, nonprofits set up to help displaced service economy workers, and homeless shelters are a great place to start. That help doesn’t necessarily have to be financial: Blood banks are in desperate need of more supply.
4. Support local mom-and-pop businesses
Consider pumping some of your stimulus cash back into the economy. Order takeout from a locally owned restaurant, and tip extra generously if you can. Do your grocery shopping at a smaller locally owned supermarket.
5. Pay down credit card debt
If you have high-interest credit card debt, throwing some extra stimulus cash to pay it down is a great move for your family’s future.
Remember that help is available elsewhere, too
Stimulus payments are not the only source of help for families right now. If you are unemployed, the federal government has increased unemployment benefits to $600 a week above and beyond what your state already offers. Many home mortgage lenders, car lenders, and credit card companies are also offering forbearance plans for several months. Some utility companies are also offering forbearances for those directly impacted by the pandemic.