Ever since the $1,400 stimulus checks began going out as part of President Biden’s American Rescue Plan in March, multiple surveys have found that more Americans are spending their stimulus checks to pay bills than anything else.
Now, another new survey indicates that a lot of stimulus spending is going to something else: Home improvement.
According to a new Harris Poll published exclusively by Fast Company, “58% of Americans eligible to receive the third stimulus check have spent or plan to spend at least some of the funds on home improvement or repairs.”
However, just 11 percent are putting all of their check towards home repairs, while eight percent said it would be more than half of their payment.
“People are spending more time at home, so there’s more wear and tear in general,” R.A. Farrokhnia, professor at the Columbia Business School, told “Also, we’re seeing a rise in home prices. Some might be enticed to sell. Some home improvements could have a multiplier effect on your home price. People have been more logical on spending instead of willy-nilly.”
The poll was taken of 1,125 U.S. adults, in early April.
A Bankrate survey from early April showed that two-thirds of those surveyed answered “yes” to the question of whether the stimulus checks are “important to their near-term financial situation.”
That survey also asked people what they spent their stimulus checks on. Of those asked, 45 percent answered paying monthly bills, 36 percent said “day to day essentials,” 32 percent said they would “pay down debt,” and 28 percent answered “savings.”
The New York Fed, around the same time, also surveyed Americans on their stimulus spending. They found that of the $1,400 checks, an average 13 percent of the latest stimulus check was expected to be spent on essential items and an average 8 percent on non-essential items. This was in line with the spending habits of people who received their two stimulus checks in 2020.
“We find remarkable stability in how stimulus checks are used over the three rounds, with a slight decline in the share dedicated to consumption and a proportional increase in the share saved,” the authors of the New York Fed’s blog post wrote.
The New York Fed also asked how long they expected their stimulus check to sustain them, and 21 percent answered “less than one month.”
“The average share of stimulus payments that households set aside for consumption—what economists call the marginal propensity to consume (MPC)—declined from 29 percent in the first round to 26 percent in the second and to 25 percent in the third.”
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.