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Whenever relief package passes, Americans plan to use stimulus checks on bills, savings

Posted at 7:35 PM, Dec 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-23 19:35:53-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — On top of individuals banking on the next round of stimulus checks before Christmas, so were small businesses. But, finance experts say Americans will sit down at their kitchen table and pay off bills or even Christmas debt, whenever that check finally comes.

Christmas time is the busiest time of year of most businesses, but Tyna Swingler at Remedies Parlor in Fort Myers says because of the coronavirus pandemic, she’s just not seeing it this year.

“Definitely last year there was a lot more traffic. There was a lot more transactions,” said Swingler.

Business is down by 35 percent this year. But, she hopes whenever the federal relief package gets approved, and stimulus checks go out, her shoppers won’t forget about her.

“And they’ll spread the love locally within our small business and other small businesses,” she said.

But, Florida Gulf Coast University Finance Professor Tom Smythe says that may not happen.

“There's probably a high likelihood that that $600 is going to be used to pay existing bills or set aside in a variety of different ways,” he said.

Like paying off the recent debt they acquired to buy Christmas gifts, or bills, or savings.

“People are saving a lot of money. They’re putting - banking a lot of money, paying down debt. Things of that nature. I don’t see that changing a whole lot. Even with the vaccine,” he said.

When coronavirus numbers finally trend down again and stay low, that’s when Professor Smythe says people will spend like they used to, which could take another six months.