30 Percent of Americans Spending Stimulus Money on Bills: Survey

May 27, 2020 Updated: May 27, 2020

Nearly one-third of people said they used their stimulus money to pay off bills, according to a survey that was released this week.

According to a survey from YouGov, 30 percent of respondents used the stimulus money—up to $1,200 deposited by the federal government—to pay bills. Another 14 percent said they placed it in their emergency savings fund, 10 percent said they bought essential goods, 8 percent said they paid toward debts, 3 percent said they bought non-essential items, 2 percent said they gave it to family and friends, 2 percent said they gave it to a charitable organization, 2 percent said they saved for retirement, 2 percent said they saved the money for a down payment on a home, and more.

MarketWatch, citing the survey, said the bills included payments for cellphones, cable TV and Internet, rent, and utilities.

A number of Americans “used these funds to keep a roof over their head and pay for necessities” amid uncertainty about future stimulus payments, YouGov said.

“Americans are aware of how grim the near future could be, and they took the opportunity to use the stimulus funds to help prepare them for it. By paying off debt, consumers free up some credit so they can turn to it, should they find themselves out of a job in the near future,” it said.

In March, the Trump administration signed the $2.2 trillion CARES Act into law, allowing for the direct payments to be sent. There has been debate in Congress about whether another round of stimulus relief is needed, with House Democrats passing the $3 trillion HEROES Act earlier this month, while Republicans have said more stimulus payments are likely needed in the future.