Finances & Money

Why We’re Donating Our Tax Stimulus Check

I’m counting our chickens before they’re hatched, but according to the letter I just got from the IRS, our rebate check should arrive this Friday (the 20th). Also, we should be getting the full $1200 for the two of us.

But we’re not spending it.

The Grumpy Contractor

As I mentioned briefly (Of Fridges and Flooring) my father-in-law won’t accept ANY payment for his work in our house this last month. Honestly, the floors look so nice and he spent so much time on them, I’m unwilling to accept that response. I talked to Stacie last week and we agreed to pay him for his work out of our stimulus check. At his current rate, which is MUCH MUCH lower than rates of any other contractor in DC since he lives in central PA (they’re even low for his area), we would have owed about $1000 for his time and effort.

We did buy him $150 in gas cards and a table saw for $125 from the neighbor (the saw is almost new and would have cost $500+ in the store), but we considered the saw as a gift, not a payment. So that leaves us with $850 left to give.

Resisting Payment

But our plan fell apart when Stacie spoke to him on the phone over the weekend. He was insistent that we NOT pay him and that basically he’d be upset of we tried. Wouldn’t you love to have a contractor refuse payment? For me, not in this case. We took 7 days of his time, across 2 trips of 400 miles each, to get this flooring, along with a few other small things, done.

So now we have to get tricky.

Guerrilla Gift-Giving

As I said, I’m not willing to just sit back and let him get away with doing all that back-breaking work and not get paid. Granted, he’s his own boss and chooses his vacation time, but I don’t think we count as a vacation spot. He’s not the type to ever just rest when there’s work to do, but I won’t let him take an unpaid vacation, especially when he was working on our home. So what do I do?

Take it underground.

That’s right, we gotta get sneaky with our payment. So, since he won’t accept a direct payment, and also said not to send my mother-in-law any money, our next choice is…

donate it to his church!

He puts in long hours helping his small church, just like he puts in long hours working everywhere else in his life, but he cherishes that church. It’s only about 80 parishioners and could really use some donations. I’ve seen first-hand what it does for the community and I’ve been wanting to give a substantial donation to it for some time now.

So out of the $1200 stimulus check, we’ll donate $850 to my FIL’s church. So what about the other $350? Well I don’t have anything planned for it yet, but donating it to our own church or my mother-in-law’s church isn’t out of the question. Honestly, we don’t need the money as much as their community does, and I’d like to have a hand in helping them. Then again, we might also donate it to Stacie’s alma mater (a small liberal arts college in the poorest PA county).

So has anyone else considered donating or already donated their economic stimulus payment? You’re still stimulating the economy, just not directly.

About the author

Clever Dude


  • If you can send him my way to do some work on my house, I would appreciate it.

    That really is a great idea to go behind his back and pay him. I wonder why he wouldn’t just want gifts instead of flat out cash. Regardless, I think he will enjoy what you are doing and it does show your appreciation to what he helped you with.

  • Dude, I totally applaud you guys for doing this. I can only hope one day to do the same 🙂

    …so to answer your question, i will not be donating my stimulus check. in fact, it’s already sleeping in my emergency fund!

  • I love the guerrilla repayment. Sometimes you just have no other choice! I can never convince my BF to go guerrilla style when we’re fighting to pay our portion of a dinner bill when out with his friends, perhaps this article will convince him.

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