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Will Personal Stimulus Checks Go Toward Youth Sports Fees?

1 Jun, 2020

By: Mary Helen Sprecher
With Confidence in Travel Increasing and Road Trips on the Uptick, Drive-To Markets Will Likely Feel the Rebound First

Americans are starting to receive their stimulus checks of $1,200 per individual and $500 for each child. So what are they spending it on? While much concern has been expressed about lost income from furloughs and layoffs, there are some indicators that parents may try to put at least a portion of that “found money” toward youth sports fees for this summer, assuming sports are held.

The funds, for millions of people, are not actually arriving in check form, according to the Miami Herald, but instead are presented as what looks like a debit card known as an Economic Impact Payment Card, also known as an EIP Card. The cards are arriving “in a plain envelope from ‘Money Network Cardholder Services,’ ” EIPCard.com says. Their unassuming packaging actually had some people thinking the prepaid cards were junk mail, according to McClatchy News.

Kellogg Insight has studied the ways some Americans are spending their stimulus checks and found they are using the funds for a range of items and services, with spending increasing meaningfully in nearly every category. In each of the three days following check receipt, individual spending increased by between $50 and $75 for food, household items, and bill payments, including rent, suggesting that many people were using the funds to obtain necessities and catch up on bills.

Yahoo! News gave seven examples of bad uses of stimulus funds. Among these were shopping sprees (particularly from chain stores) and panic-fueled stocking up on extra supplies (looking at you, toilet paper hoarders). Those who are more forward-thinking in the disbursement of their stimulus funds may be glad to know there is still leeway for fun. Forbes recommends six wise uses, including not merely paying for necessities and putting money toward children’s college, but also what is known as “splurging smartly.” In fact, Forbes strongly endorses what it calls COVID self-care which includes planning vacations in order to give the family something to look forward to. Especially during a crisis, the article notes, spending money on joyful experiences and quality time can be a wise investment. Nobody is specifically recommending youth sports fees as a use for the stimulus funds; however, they are endorsing investing in children's college, which many parents will interpret as paying for youth travel sports since they have the impression their child will receive an athletic scholarship to college.

And the indications are that the economy is becoming more conducive to sports-cations. Travel Agent Central recently reported on news released by insights firm Deloitte, which noted in its Global State of the Consumer Tracker that consumer confidence in travel is trending upwards:

“While leisure travel plans within the summer months remain relatively low, signs of optimism are emerging. Nearly one-third of U.S. consumers (31 percent) plan to stay in a hotel for leisure travel within the next three months, up from a low of 24 percent in mid-April.”

Not surprisingly, there’s still a great deal of concern about the economy and about personal funds:

  • 27 percent of consumers say they are concerned about making upcoming payments and 43 percent note they are delaying large purchases
  • Immediate financial concern continues to spike among Millennials, with 36 percent of 18-to 35-year-olds concerned about making upcoming payments
  • Fear of job loss remains steady, with 37 percent of U.S. consumers concerned about losing their job

And it could be this concern about money, and a reluctance to spend large amounts of money, are playing into the findings of a second survey. This, reported by Twiddy and Company, noted that while much of the American population is ready to travel now or will be comfortable traveling before a vaccine is available, only 7 percent are willing to travel internationally, while a whopping 72 percent prefer to drive. Beach vacations and road trips are the most frequently mentioned types of vacations by Americans and the majority (79 percent) say they have budgeted $2,000 or less per person for their vacation.

Drive-to markets, particularly for sports, and particularly coastal destinations, may find this especially welcome news. Because these destinations offer affordability and accessibility, as well as vacation-style amenities, the rebound for sports may arrive there first.

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