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The best use of your stimulus check? Buy a gaming console, Twitter users say

Ethan Rotberg
·3 min read
The best use of your stimulus check? Buy a gaming console, Twitter users say
The best use of your stimulus check? Buy a gaming console, Twitter users say

After months of bickering in Washington, your second coronavirus relief payment is finally on the way — and may arrive as early as next week. But instead of the $1,200 the IRS sent out during the spring, Americans will receive just $600 this time around.

Critics say that doesn’t go nearly far enough as households struggle to pay the bills while COVID cases skyrocket and new lockdowns are imposed. A $600 stimulus check will cover the median monthly rent payment for a family in exactly “zero” of the states, according to an analysis of census data.

So, what can you do with your government cash?

Twitter users offer this advice: You might as well spend it on video games.

Enough cash for a console

PlayStation and Xbox consoles side by side
Youtube / Karl Conrad

At $600, the payment seems almost perfectly suited for a new video game console. It’s enough for the Nintendo Switch ($300) or the impossible-to-find Xbox Series X ($500) or PlayStation 5 ($500) — with cash left over for a subscription to PS Plus or Xbox Live.

“Of course people are going to buy video game consoles with their stimulus checks,” gaming writer Ian Boudreau tweeted. “If you're squeezed financially, $600 doesn't change that whatsoever. But you could at least be financially squeezed with an Xbox.” (For the record, he used a more X-rated word than "squeezed.")

“I work in an electronic store and when they did $1,200 stimulus my store got cleared out in a day people bought everything from TV laptop to video games and consoles,” writes Twitter user @BadBadmanyt. “This $600 stimulus will be the same...”

U.S. sales of video games, consoles and accessories are expected to top $50 billion this year — a new record — because gaming has helped homebound Americans get through the pandemic, says market research firm the NPD Group.

So buy a video console — and do your part for the economy

People playing video game. Hands holding console controller. Football or soccer game on the television. Widescreen tv stands on commode.
Tanyastock / Shutterstock

They’re called stimulus checks for a reason — the feds hope Americans will spend the money and stimulate the struggling economy. So go ahead and use your check on video games, and make sure you're stretching the money as far as possible by landing the best price.

When you’re shopping online for a new console, you can use a free browser extension that will automatically compare prices from all over the web. It will also try using any available coupon codes gathered from millions of members to knock a few more bucks off the price.

If you’re a gamer who would like a little more than instant gratification from your $600, you could invest your stimulus check — maybe in a video game company like Sony (SNE) or Activision (ATVI). One popular stock trading app lets you buy fractions of shares for as little as $1.

Another way to invest the cash is by using an app that will round up your debit or credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and put the leftover "spare change" into a diversified portfolio of stocks.