Child tax credit money: make a plan now on how to use payments when they start in July

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Next, think about your financial goals for using the money. “The most important thing is to start planning now,” Emily Shallal, senior director of customer strategy and innovation at Ally Bank, told CNET. “You don’t want to look back on this money with regret and wonder what happened.” The first child tax credit check may come from the IRS in July, so you have time now to make a plan for what to do with the money before it arrives. To get started, you can figure out how much you can expect (overall and per month) using CNET’s child tax credit calculator by providing a few details: how many children you have, your income and your filing status. Here are some of the ways you could plan to use the money.

Of course, the money comes with no strings attached, and you can use it as you want. But if you’re looking for ideas for how to make good use of the payments, we have suggestions. For other ways you save or get money this year, here’s what is happening with canceling student debt, how you could save money on your internet bill through an FCC program, and how March’s stimulus bill can help you save money on health care costs. These payments can be an opportunity to get your house’s finances in order to make sure your family — including your children — is on a more solid footing. To help you consider the different ways you can use these payments, we spoke with financial experts and credit counselors for their recommendations on ways to spend and save this money, from meeting urgent needs and paying down debt to building up an emergency fund. This expansion of the child tax credit is part of a larger multitrillion-dollar effort by President Joe Biden’s administration to lift the country out of the pandemic and put individuals and families on a better economic foundation. This child tax credit is a key piece of Biden’s plan to get money into the pockets of families who need it most.

First thing, create a plan for how you will use the child tax credit money With the the expanded child tax credit, you could receive as soon as July the first payment that is part of the American Rescue Plan package. As a parent, you’d normally receive this tax credit each year after filing your income tax return. With President Joe Biden’s March stimulus bill, however, this year you’ll get the money in a series of payments through the second half 2021 and into 2022, if you and your family qualify. Depending on your children’s ages, you could receive up to $3,000 or $3,600 per child, in total. This child credit is in addition to other payments included in the American Rescue Plan, such as the third round of stimulus checks. The question is, what do you do with the money? 

Meet your family’s basic needs Cover your family’s — including your children’s — urgent needs first: Budget for groceries, housing, utilities and essential supplies such as medicine. You could use some of the money on a necessary car repair or a medical or dental procedure you’ve been putting off for someone in your family. 2:58

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