5 Responsible Ways To Spend Your $1400 Stimulus Check

Stanton Peele By: Dr. Stanton Peele

Posted on March 24th, 2021 - Last updated: September 28th, 2023
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Millions of Americans have already received their $1,400.00 (or more) stimulus payments as part of the Coronavirus Relief Bill — and many more millions will be receiving theirs in the next few weeks. Of course, receiving a large chunk of change comes with responsibility, which can be daunting— especially for people who worry that they will use the money to return to an addiction. 

Here are some questions we’ve received, within the last month, regarding the new round of stimulus checks:

  • “I always blow it when I get a bunch of money. How can I make sure that I use my money on something other than drugs?” 
  • “I’m about to get a stimulus check for me and one for each of my two kids. There is so much that I could spend it on and I don’t want to fall back into spending money on stupid things, how can I manage this money?” 
  • “Every time I think about the $1,400.00 I’m getting, I daydream that it could get me one last really great weekend at the bar. I can’t stop thinking about it, even though I know it will have horrible consequences. Do you have any advice for getting out of my own head?”  

To be sure, we can’t, shouldn’t, and would never tell you how you ought to spend your money. But we can suggest a blueprint. Here are five things to consider when it comes to your stimulus check, and how to use it in accordance with your balanced, non-addicted lifestyle. 

1. Purpose

Ask: How does this expenditure further my purpose?

Money is an instrument for living life and pursuing your purpose, rather than for getting “things.” 

Examples:  A better computer for writing, or instrument for music, or buying freedom to work your passion (perhaps that means paying down a debt that has been obstructing your productivity in other areas of life). How about education or vocational training? 


2. Survive

Ask: How does this expenditure further my being, my survival?

You must live to pursue your purpose: so always use your money to make sure you are living in a sustainable, healthy way.

Examples: Better food, equipment to exercise, living space for good life, anything that supports existence.


3. Enjoy

Ask: How does this expenditure further my enjoyment of life?

You must be happy and content to survive and pursue your purpose.

Examples: Movies and entertainment, travel, meals and companionship, anything that brings you enduring joy.


4. Humanity

You must be in connection with others to live and enjoy life. Use money to spend times with others. 

Ask: How does this spending help my loved ones and/or community?

Examples: Using money to spend time with others. Using it towards gifts, help, and contributions for others to achieve 1-3. 


5. Family

Ask: Does expenditure strengthen your family?

Addictive problems can harm family members, family problems can exacerbate addictions. Expenditures should be good for them.

Examples: Expenditures on behalf of family members for all of the above—purpose, education, living, health, joy, fun, connection, community.

Whatever you decide to do with this money, remember that it is just one decision (or set of decisions) that you’ll make in the greater context of life. That is, don’t let the anxiety around your earnings be the deciding factor in how you spend them. There’s always the possibility that you will use your stimulus money in a less-than advantageous way, and you should try to avoid doing so. But if it happens that way, then you will learn from the experience. 

Of course, we hope that our suggestions will help you to spend this check, and all of your money, wisely. Congratulate yourself for a job well-done If and when you do so. You can lock the experience in your gains and use it as fuel to generate new positive life-experiences.


Stanton Peele

Dr. Stanton Peele, recognized as one of the world's leading addiction experts, developed the Life Process Program after decades of research, writing, and treatment about and for people with addictions. Dr. Peele is the author of 14 books. His work has been published in leading professional journals and popular publications around the globe.

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