The latest round of stimulus checks have already hit many Americans’ bank accounts. The second round of payments started going out the last week of December, and the first in line were those who have valid banking information on file with the IRS. 

Stimulus money to survive

More than half who receive a check this year intend to use it to pay their household bills, according to a new survey from bill-pay service provider doxo. Of the 59% who said they'll use their $600 stimulus check to pay bills, the top bills cited were utilities, cable and internet, rent/mortgage, and auto insurance.  

Which household bills will you pay with stimulus money?

  • 78% Utilities 

  • 35% Cable/internet

  • 33% Rent

  • 32% Auto insurance

  • 32% Mortgage

  • 32% Cell phone

  • 27% Auto loan

  • 13% Health insurance

  • 8% Life insurance

  • 5% Dental insurance

  • 3% Alarm/security

Source: doxo.com/insights

The doxo survey also asked about other ways Americans plan to use their stimulus check. After paying bills, 11% will use the money to buy food/groceries and 10% will use it to pay down credit card debt. 

Stimulus money for savings

Another 11% surveyed plan to put the money toward savings. The doxo survey also asked Americans how they feel about their financial health. An overwhelming majority, or 90%, believe the stimulus check will improve their financial health. 

Tips to lower your household bills

Utilities. While you can’t typically negotiate a rate on your utility bills, it doesn’t mean you can’t save some money on them. 

  • Check and repair leaky faucets

  • Turn the thermostat up a notch

  • Install low-flow shower heads

  • Check and replace seals on doors and windows

Internet. You can try to negotiate the rate on your internet plan, or you can compare internet plans to find a lower rate. First, determine if you have the right internet speed. It will depend on how many people are in your household and what your internet habits are. For instance, a two-person home could be fine with an internet plan offering speeds up to 10 Mbps.  

Auto insurance. Shopping for new auto insurance could help you lower this bill by hundreds of dollars a year. Other ways to save money are increasing your deductibles or taking a safe driver course to earn a discount.

Cell phone. Review your cell phone usage and make sure you’re not paying for what you don’t need. Unlimited plans typically come with a hefty monthly bill. If you discover you’re only using 10GB or 15GB a month, a prepaid plan or a plan with a data cap will save you money.  

>>Want to find more ways to save? 21 money hacks for 2021