Shark Tank co-host and real estate mogul Barbara Corcoran has some tips on how to spend coronavirus stimulus checks wisely, now that they have begun landing in many bank accounts.
"You have to bear in mind who is receiving the checks," she told Cheddar. "These are people who are earning under $100,000 as a family. These are predominately people who are living hand-to-mouth, paycheck-to-paycheck, single moms who have three kids to feed."
That means most people will use their checks to meet basic needs, but Corcoran offers some tips on what other financial costs to prioritize.
After food and other essentials, she recommends putting money towards rent and mortgage payments. She also said that tenants shouldn't hesitate to ask for a lower price for a limited period. Landlords, she added, should be open to negotiation, because they are having the same conversations with their banks about delaying mortgage payments.
Next, she advises making the minimum payment on the credit card with the highest interest — the one "that's really a monkey on your back," she said.
Overall, she stressed the importance of not treating the check like a "Christmas present," even if you are still employed and in a relatively strong financial position.
"To spend the money recklessly is crazy," Corcoran said. "It's not a lot of money. It's $1,200. That's all it is. It doesn't stretch very far. So you have to put your essentials first."
More stimulus checks are possible down the road, of course, but Corcoran said she's more focused on unemployment insurance as a means of helping people through this crisis.
"I think the unemployment is where all the action is at now," she said.
She added that dealing with some of the technical barriers to accessing unemployment insurance should be a top priority.