As stimulus checks roll in, locals have made plans for their money.
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Starting this past week – with a large chunk Wednesday morning – people might have noticed some extra money in their bank account.
The U.S. government has started to send out stimulus checks via direct deposit to Americans to help relieve financial struggles after the coronavirus outbreak. Singles earning up to $75,000 a year will receive a payment of $1,200. Married couples earning up to $150,000 a year will receive a payment of $2,400. And, parents will receive an additional $500 for each child younger than 17.
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Local residents shared on Facebook that they have various plans for the money, from paying their bills to putting it toward debt to giving it to someone who needs it more than they do – a relative or their children.
Santa Rosa Beach resident Christopher Caravello knew immediately what he would put the money toward, college debt. Caravello graduated from the University of Washington with a master’s degree in digital media 10 years ago and has been paying for it since.
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“I think on average, based on the amount that I owe, my interest payment was over $500 a month,” Caravello said. “So a significant portion of my payment went to interest each month, so it’s been hard for me to make a dent on the principal amount. Now that it’s zero percent until September, I’m going to be making as many payments as I can toward the school loan.”
Caravello confirmed with his loan lender that the interest was eliminated after President Donald Trump waived the interest on all federal student loans amid the coronavirus outbreak. Because he and his wife, Christina, file their taxes jointly, they expect to receive the full $2,400 economic impact payment.
Fort Walton Beach resident Christina Kegan feels lucky her family had already saved money for the travel to Gainesville and lodging associated with her 5-year-old daughter Kaylee’s fourth open heart surgery in June. Kaylee was born with congenital heart defects.
Kegan, her husband, James, and their son Skyler, all lost their jobs because of the coronavirus. They have had to dip into their savings account this month to make ends meet.
“With the stimulus money, we plan on paying our bills, our car payment and putting money back into the savings account to do this trip for her,” Kegan said. “We don’t know how long this is gonna last. With unemployment, none of us has seen a check yet. My son and I applied a month ago.”
With their daughter Sierra, 15, the family has three children total and expects to receive an extra $500 for the two qualifying children on their stimulus check.
“I’m happy we’re getting one because that’s going to help out – even if it’s only a little bit,” Kegan said. “It will at least help us get by another month until we can figure out a new job or hopefully this passes by then.”
Niceville resident Megan Deleon has received her money and plans to spend it in the way she believes it was meant, to stimulate the economy.
“To support local small businesses that have been impacted by the shut down,” Deleon said. “Also local services when they are able to reopen or support their online presence as much as possible.”
Crestview resident Christina Hataway and her husband received $2,400 on Tuesday, a relief amid the demise of her husband’s business because of the coronavirus. They plan to hold onto the money for now, pray for the best and someday use it to relocate, she said.
“I was looking for a place before the virus started but the price around Florida is so expensive everywhere, so the stimulus helps with the amount to move,” Hataway said. “I am appreciative for the stimulus in every way possible I can be. I thank Trump for providing us with the money.”
When asked if the amount was enough, Hataway can’t be sure.
“That is good question,” Hataway said. “Life costs more than $1,200 a month on a regular month. It helps, but truth be told it really depends on how long this shut down lasts.”