Save or Shop?

They're telling us to spend, spend, spend. The government -- and of course retailers -- want us to blow any tax refund and economic stimulus checks we get. Hey, you don't have to tell me twice. My favorite verb is "spend."

But as much as I would love to run to the mall and go wild with the extra cash, my wise husband is making us save the money. Booorrrring! What I'd really like to do is follow the advice of Fortune magazine's Stanley Bing, who in March told his blog readers to "go down to your local retail store and pump some cash back into our mutual economic system." He tells us to buy our mulch at the local mom and pop even though it may be less convenient and more expensive than the big box stores. I fully agree. I'm so there Bing. But oh... I forgot. I'm saving the money. Sorry, Bing. You go on without me.

Bing is not the only one calling out to me. Have you seen how many sales are going on? Seems like every day I get at least five e-mails from retailers talking about discounts and free shipping and such. Old Navy sent me a medium-sized plastic bag in the mail and told me I could stuff it with as much of their merchandise as I wanted and they'd give me 20 percent off. Of course, I have to use my Old Navy card but that's still a good deal. I can stuff with the best of them. Oh yeah... I'm saving the money. Sorry, Old Navy. I'll be using your bag for my recycling instead.

Even Don Shula wants us to spend our checks. How can you argue with Don Shula? Shula's, his steakhouse in Tysons Corner, is offering drink and food specials starting today and for the next month when economic stimulus checks start to hit the mail. You can celebrate with the More For Me Mojito or brood over owing money with the Death & Taxes Martini. Both drinks are going for $7. I'm on my way, Don. Save me a seat at the... oops. Nevermind. I'm actually heading to the bank to deposit my checks. Maybe another time.

What's that, Home Depot? You have the refrigerator I've coveted for the last two years on sale? The stainless steel one with french doors and a freezer drawer down below? Finally I'll be able to fit a week's worth of groceries in my fridge. I'm on my way. Just let me find my checkbo... oops. I spoke too soon. Maybe next year. Apparently I'm saving my money these days.

Can you tell I'm not happy about saving my economic stimulus check? I love to spend, hence the shopping blog. So what are you doing with your refund and economic stimulus check, assuming you're getting them? If you're spending the money, what will you buy? If you're saving it, why? Post a comment below.

On a different note, here's a question for those you who venture out to malls with children. What are the best kid-friendly malls in the area? Some offer entertainment for the kids and others set up fun play areas. Where do you go when you have to shop with kids in tow? Let me know at shoptoit@washingtonpost.com.

By Tania Anderson |  April 15, 2008; 3:00 AM ET General Interest
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Comments

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My stimulus check will pay off a home heating oil bill and leave enough for a latte. Not exactly what Mr Bush had in mind...

Posted by: kml | April 15, 2008 6:06 AM

I wanted to get french doors for my front room, but I decided to be responsible and use it toward putting insulation in the attic. At least I'll get a tax credit next year.

Posted by: dym | April 15, 2008 9:16 AM

I will be spending my stimulus check. I have given this a lot of thought. But, since I am saving my actual refund, I don't have to feel bad about buying (badly needed) new clothes and shoes with my bonus check!

Posted by: Sweetie | April 15, 2008 10:03 AM

Mine is going towards badly needed car repairs...

Posted by: roya | April 15, 2008 10:24 AM

I'm using mine to shore up my savings account. I figure since I've been hemorrhaging money lately anyway I'm doing plenty to help the economy already, time to ensure that I can continue to do so with a little more of a "nest egg".

Posted by: ShawnDC | April 15, 2008 11:29 AM

Spend? Puh-leeze! That check is going either to credit card or student loan debt. How is going out and spending the check going to benefit anyone except the already rich fat cats who own the companies that received the tax cuts and government permission to do whatever is necessary to widen the gap between the rich and the poor?

Heck, the current state of the economy is hurting the middle class the most for a reason: rich b@$tards don't want too many people competing for their spots at the top, so they'll do anything to ethnically and economically cleanse their neighborhoods, including forcing the average Joe out of the community through foreclosure, and driving up food and gas prices. Do you really think the oil and food companies have to charge as much as they do for their goods? Heck no. They do it because they can, and because they want to horde wealth and keep everything for themselves and their families.

Posted by: it'syourworld | April 15, 2008 11:44 AM

It's going to the visa bill to pay off camp for this summer.

Posted by: klbss | April 15, 2008 12:01 PM

Since I earn above the threshold, I won't be getting one... but if I were, it would go to pay down more of my ever-dwindling debt (I'm working to reduce it as fast as I can...).

Posted by: stephanie | April 15, 2008 12:32 PM

We are at the top end of the spectrum in terms of the rebate (married and 5 kids) so we are taking the married portion and putting it towards our credit cards, and the kids portion is going into the kids savings accounts. I am sure that is not exactly what President Bush wanted but it helps secure our kids finances, which is better than any short term spending we can do.

Posted by: Bill | April 15, 2008 6:40 PM

I'll be spending my stimulus check, but it won't be at a mall it'll be at the NYSE. I plan on buying some stocks and hoping to turn that money into a bigger profit down the road.

Posted by: Adam | April 15, 2008 8:54 PM

I'll be putting my check into savings for a big trip I want to take in the fall.

Posted by: tia | April 17, 2008 11:13 AM

Like tia, I will be saving my refund and stimulus payment for later this year for a trip to India, wood floors in my condo, and rugs.

Posted by: Little Red | April 17, 2008 12:40 PM

I'm amazed we're actually getting anything. The pittance we're getting will go to home improvements. It will probably cover a couple of square feet of our new deck.

Posted by: shumsy | April 22, 2008 10:49 AM

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