Jonesboro, AR (KAIT)- Free money is already starting to make its way into your bank accounts. Whether it be $600, $1200 or up to $1800, depending on how many children you have, the extra cash is truly a gift from the government. But, how far will it go and what are people in Region 8 spending the extra dollars on?
With an economy in parts of the country at a painful standstill, Region 8 consumers like Tony Hendrickson are taking a wait-and-see approach to the promise of some extra cash issued by uncle sam.
"Another think i was thinking about, spending the money on a website," said Hendrickson.
He's also considering getting a new car ...
That makes auto dealers like Cavenaugh Auto Group hopeful that those on-the-fence buyers will come over to their side.
"Whatever they do with the money, any of it's good," said Bill Little, with Cavenaugh.
Little says they're looking forward to the prospect of having customers like Hendrickson spending their money with them.
"$1800 would be a great way to start a down payment on a new car or pre-owned car," he said.
Carmakers are using this slow economy to attract consumers in the way of offering cash rebates and low interest financing.
It's recommended you go between now and August for a deal.
"People are going to be more interested in buying big ticket items like appliances, or fixing up their homes."
Home improvement stores like Barton's in Walnut Ridge are taking note.
Randy Light says customers are coming in wanting laminate flooring.
"Ii've heard them say th at whenever their rebate checks come in they're going to get it," said Light.
Barton's has even started a credit system to expedite sales, even before customer's have gotten their rebate checks in hand.
"It's got like 180 days, so they can go ahead and get it and then later pay off their credit card."
Hendrickson says he doesn't exactly buy into the theory that people will spend now and reimburse later.
"A lot of people will be spending the money on stuff that they'll want and then they'll get the money and want to reimburse it, but then they'll be like 'Hey, $600 and then they'll go blow it and be in even more debt."
American's debt is at a 16-year high according to the American Bankers Association.
Some economists believe spending that check on getting control of debt could free people up to shop more.
Scam artists are out to get your stimulus money. If someone calls saying their from the IRS wanting personal information - it's best not to give to them. Chances are the IRS already has your information.
Log onto http://www.irs.gov/newsroom/article/0,,id=155682,00.html for more information.