Thursday, March 13, 2008

$600 rebate check rich.

Michael Bloomberg, the plucky mayor of New York, recently compared the tax rebate checks to giving an alcoholic a drink: "This country has a balance sheet that’s starting to look more and more like a Third World country," Bloomberg said.

In which case, we’ll all be tested. Binge, or resist temptation? Splurge, or save?

Nevermind the moral questions regarding this tax rebate deal (here are the details, from the IRS) - others have done more thinking on this than me.

All I know is, I’m probably getting $600. And most of you are, too.

But what to do with all that cheddar?

Because I’m like most Americans (and especially like most people our age), I have what’s called a "negative self worth," meaning I owe more money (car loan, student loans) than I have in the credit union. So I’ll tip the balance at least a few hundred dollars in the "savings" column. A nice deposit of $300 into my emergency fund would do well for my security gland (that one in your head that beeps and swells every time you write a check you don’t know if you can cash). That’s smart thing number one. There are many others.

Smart thing number two would be to donate some of it to my favorite charity or cause. Right now our local organizations are hurting because Michigan’s economy (and, good lord, Jackson’s) sucks right now. So a few dollars here and there would do a lot of good.

Then the fun part comes in (we’ll call it "not-so-smart-thing number one"). I’m leaving for my New England trip sometime this spring, and a few hundred dollars would be welcome in my gas and food budget. This depends on when I get the check, of course, but most signs point to sometime in May.

If it doesn’t come in time, I’ll just consider it a New England trip rebate, and the rest of money can pad my checking account for rent or an emergency.

An iPhone? Not with this money. I’ve already set aside the funds for the Jesus Phone, thankyouverymuch, so it’s already a given.

How about you? What will you do with YOUR tax rebate check?

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