Get More with your Economic Stimulus Check

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Posted on 04/29/2008

This week, the first round of rebate checks are heading to homes across the country. Under the economic stimulus package, individual taxpayers can expect to receive up to $600, while married couples can receive up to $1,200. The hope is that you'll spend that money in order to pump about $5 billion into the US economy. Since Uncle Sam is twisting your arm to go on a shopping spree, here are some stores that will give you a little more bang for your rebate check.

1. Sears. The retail giant plans to give customers an extra 10% when you exchange your rebate check in for a Sears gift card. So if your rebate check is worth $1200, you'll get a gift card with $1320 on it in return. You can use the gift card at Kmart or Lands' End as well. This is definitely a good option for those looking to buy a big ticket item like a washing machine or a riding lawnmower.

2. Grocery stores. Why not spend some of that rebate on food? At Albertson's, for every $300 in rebate checks that you turn over for gift cards, you'll get a $30 bonus. Kroger, Shop 'n Save, Food Lion, Jewel-Osco and Fry's Food are offering similar perks, with most offering the 10% over your check total.

3. Staples. The company launched an Economic Stimulus Center on their website, complete with coupons, a daily sweepstakes and tax tips.

4. Radio Shack. Electronics are probably on the top of many wish lists. Head to Radio Shack with your economic stimulus check and you'll get 10% off any purchase of $50 or more.

5. Wal-Mart. The world's largest retailer is looking for ways to cash in as well. They're offering to cash your stimulus check for free. (Wal-Mart usually charges about $3 to cash a check.) No purchase is required to take advantage. But if you do decide to spend some or all of that money at Wal-Mart, look for special offers on groceries. The company lowered prices on some common grocery items to help customers get more for their rebates.

6. Local shops. If you can, you may try to spend your check locally, which could benefit your community. "If I go down and buy something from a local business, all that sales tax is going to stay in my county or my little community, and every dime is less property taxes you'll have to pay," said Alice Magos, a certified financial planner. "It's a good idea instead of running to some shopping mall."

By Alison Storm

* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.

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