From weed to video games, here’s how Americans are spending their stimulus check money

People are spending stimulus money on delivery and takeout.

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People are spending stimulus money on delivery and takeout.
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Reuters
  • People in the US have recently started receiving their coronavirus stimulus checks, a one-time cash payment of up to $1,200 for Americans with Social Security numbers.
  • The checks are a part of the $2 trillion stimulus package from the US government.
  • According to data from Cowen and Co., Chicago-based auto insurance startup Clearcover, and digital banking service Current, here’s a breakdown of how Americans are spending their stimulus money.
  • Most money is being spent on food and groceries.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Thanks to the recently passed $2 trillion stimulus package from the US government, many Americans are receiving an extra $1,200 of spending money amid the pandemic.

The coronavirus stimulus checks, a one-time cash payment of up to $1,200 for Americans with Social Security numbers, have already prompted a wave of spending.

Before the checks were distributed, a survey from Chicago-based auto insurance startup Clearcover showed that people planned to budget their money towards bills, groceries, and streaming services and gaming. Another survey from Cowen and Co. showed most people planned to spend the money on food.

Data compiled by the digital banking service Current, which has credited 16,595 of their customers’ accounts with stimulus payments, found the highest categories of stimulus spending was in takeout and delivery food. And according to Current, about 45% of their customers’ stimulus checks have already been spent.

In addition to the data, different users have taken to social media to announce the purchases they have made with the stimulus money. The New York Post reported people posting about using the money to buy dildos, guns, and stripper poles, among other more atypical items.

From groceries to video games, here’s what Americans are buying with their stimulus money, according to data from Clearcover, Cowen and Co., and Current.


Food

Data from Current showed 16% of the stimulus money that has been spent went toward food categories, which includes takeout and delivery.


Groceries

While Current data showed that 9% of stimulus money was spent on groceries, 19% of respondents from Cowen’s survey of 2,500 US respondents indicated that they would spend their stimulus money on grocery and personal care items.

34% of respondents in a Clearcover survey stated that they are increasing their grocery budget.


Savings

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Associated Press

31% of respondents in Cowen’s survey indicated they would put stimulus checks towards savings.


Streaming and video games

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Kristian Dowling / Getty Images

9% of respondents in the Clearcover survey said they are increasing their spending on streaming services and gaming.

Current Data showed that 5% of the spent stimulus money was used for video games.


Debt

18% of the Cowen’s survey respondents indicated they would use the stimulus money to pay back debt.


Mortgage and rent

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Associated Press

11% of the Cowen’s survey respondents indicated they would use the stimulus money towards mortgage and rent.


Gas

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Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Data compiled by Current showed that 10% of the stimulus money that has been spent was used to buy gas.


ATM withdrawals

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Associated Press

9% of the stimulus money has been taken out in ATM withdrawals, data from Current showed.


Apparel and Footwear

Only 3% of Cowen respondents indicated that they would use their stimulus money to buy clothing or footwear.

“Given high unemployment and the discretionary nature of clothing and accessories, this low spending intention was largely expected, but also highlights the long road ahead for a softlines retail recovery,” the survey report read.


Pot

Business intelligence data from Akerna, a cannabis compliance software maker, showed that pot sales were surging following the days after stimulus checks started rolling in.

“April 15, after the COVID-19 stimulus checks were received by many, was far and away the biggest Wednesday in the history of legal cannabis, with both ticket size and total revenue up over 50% compared to a normal Wednesday in 2020,” read a press release from Akerna’s website.

Of course, the arrival of stimulus checks coincided with 4/20, the unofficial marijuana holiday.


Impulse buys: Guns, sneakers, sex toys

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Getty Images

According to a New York Post report, social media users have been posting about spending their stimulus checks on more atypical items like sex toys and guns.

One Twitter user posted about using her stimulus money to buy an inflatable dinosaur costume.

Another Twitter user posted about using the money to buy a sex toy.