Thursday, February 26, 2009

Planning for my share of the economic stimulus package

The only thing that seems directly applicable to me from the economic stimulus package is the $400 tax credit that will be dispersed via my paycheck. Sure, if my state uses some of the money it receives on road work, my car's tires and suspension will be happy, but most of the plans apply to people in circumstances that do not affect my current situation. I am thankful that I can calculate how to best use the stimulus money for my own benefit.

While $400 is not a lot, it will be given to individual taxpayers over a long period of time. It is easy enough to spend an extra $35 or so a month. It is just one more night eating out that month, a few extra treats at the grocery store, a nice mix of songs, movies and TV shows from the iTunes Store, one more tank of gasoline or a nice shirt on sale.

However, my priorities this year are on saving money. Specifically, completely funding my Roth IRA for the third year in a row, saving for a newer car and putting money toward my dream of a small farm in the country. In light of my previous post, I am planning on adding the stimulus money to my Roth IRA funding.

I estimate between the extra money from my change in payroll withholding and the stimulus funding, I will fall short of funding my Roth IRA by ~$800. Assuming no other financial disruptions, this means the smallest shortfall since I have tried to fully fund a Roth IRA. If I do get a merit increase this year, I am hoping I can fully fund my Roth IRA in the span of a single calendar year rather than needing additional time as in the last two years.

While I am counting my money before it is in my hands, I found having a plan to handle windfall money allows me to deal with it more gracefully and more appropriately than being blindsided with unexpected money. Keeping my money usage in line with my goals helps me fund my future and move plans closer to fruition.

What will you be doing with your $400 or $800 economic stimulus?

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