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How to Spend Your $1200 COVID-19 Stimulus Check

How to Spend Your $1200 COVID-19 Stimulus Check

In the coming weeks, millions of Americans are set to receive a stimulus check from the federal government. For tax-filing individuals, payments will start at $1,200 per adult, with reduced amounts being given to those who make over $75,000 per year as individuals, or $150,000 as joint-filing couples.

For many who may be dealing with lay-offs and slow business, these economic relief payments will cover basic essentials, like rent, food, and gas. However, many who are still employed may be wondering how best to spend the extra cash coming their way. One good way to spend your stimulus check is by supporting local businesses in your area. Getting creative in the garage and starting some DIY projects can also be another good idea.

In uncertain economic times, it’s best not to jump into buying a brand new car if you can help it. Instead, try focusing on making some upgrades to your current vehicle. Here are just a few simple DIY auto projects to get you started.

Restore/replace your headlights

One of the easiest ways to make your car look new again is by restoring the look of your headlights.

There are a variety of DIY home remedies for old, foggy headlights. We like a combination of a vinegar solution and baking soda for dissolving extra stubborn dirt and grime from your headlights. Or, if you find you need a little extra kick, try purchasing a headlight restoration kit, which should set you back less than $30.

If your headlights are beyond the powers of a typical restoration, we recommend going ahead and replacing them. Not only will installing a new set of headlights improve the overall look of your vehicle, the improved visibility will keep you and your passengers safe. Check out HeadlightsDepot to find the right set for your make and model.

Install a DIY backup camera

Love the convenience a backup camera provides but have an older car? No problem. Turns out, there’s a simple and inexpensive way to install an aftermarket backup camera on any car.

Most backup cameras will run you about $100, depending on the model. Once you’ve chosen one, installation’s a piece of cake.

Check out this video from Car And Driver for an in-depth tutorial.

Replace your air filters

Have you checked your filters in a while? Now might be the right time to replace your engine and cabin air filters.

If you notice that the base of your windshield is full of leaves and debris, that’s one sign you might want to go ahead and replace your engine air filter. It’s a quick and inexpensive fix you can do in your own garage – and it can help extend the life of your engine.

Similarly, if you notice your cabin starting to smell musty, try replacing your cabin air filter. Especially during spring, it’s important to be able to filter out all the pollen, dust, and other allergens that are floating around in the air. Check your owner’s manual for specific instructions.

Install new windshield wipers

The best car projects aren’t just cosmetic – they provide an extra level of functionality as well. As you drive, your windshield wipers are exposed to a variety of dust, grime, and other forms of debris. Over time, this can cause them to wear down, which can potentially be hazardous if left unchecked. If you start to notice impaired visibility, streaking, or your wipers just can’t seem to get the windshield clean, it’s time to switch them out.

Depending on your vehicle’s make and model, replacing your windshield wipers will run you anywhere from $10 – $30, making it a great DIY project to do in a pinch.

Add some pizzazz to your interior

There’s no use putting a lot of effort into your car’s exterior if you’re not going to pay attention to your interior. Now’s the perfect time to make some practical upgrades like replacing your floor mats and adding a trunk liner or cover.

Or, take it up a notch and get creative by installing custom cabin lighting, adding a steering wheel cover, or adding some interior vinyl to your dash.

Upgrade to LED

If you want to really transform the look of your car, consider upgrading to LED headlights. Brighter and much more efficient than your standard halogen bulbs, LED headlights and fog lights can make driving in low-light conditions like fog and snow much safer, while offering the crisp, bright white light many auto-enthusiasts love.

Check out Diode Dynamics for a LED headlight and fog light upgrade that’ll cost anywhere from $127 – $169 depending on your car.

Whether you’re stuck at home and looking for an excuse to get back into the garage, or searching for affordable projects to spend your stimulus check on, we hope these DIY auto projects spark your creativity.

Claire Biggerstaff
Claire Biggerstaff is a freelance writer and photographer from Charlotte, NC. Her curiosity leads her to write about a wide variety of topics. On her off days, she enjoys reading Polygon articles, and curling up to a good YouTube playlist.

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    10 Comments

    1. My GMC Safari is getting a lift kit and signal lights, because they are so old they look like they have chalk on the lens from all the oxidation.

      1. Please post pictures of your lifted Safari!!!

    2. I will be paying off my car! woo hoo!

    3. This is such a smart check list for all of the extra leisure time we are currently experiencing. It’s so easy to over look the small things.

    4. Replacing my air filter is an excellent idea! I believe I have a rat nesting in mine.

    5. HeadlightsDepot is offering a special coupon for 10% off headlights should you choose to spend some of this stimulus money with them. Code “SPENDIT” https://www.headlightsdepot.com

    6. Back up cameras are a must on any Vehicles older 2015. Any vehicle newer is required to have a backup cam by law.

    7. This is genius. These are things that are so easily overlooked that I didn’t realize help with the overall longevity of a vehicle. The windshield wipers for example, I wouldn’t have thought it would only be $10 – $30 to install new ones. Super useful!

    8. Keeping up standard maintenance would be best. We’re going into the rainy season so wipers are a must. Updating your tires would be a good investment as well.

    9. With a little extra cash, this is the best time to find out why that check engine light is on in the dash. Sometimes we ignore warning signs in our car when we know we can’t afford to have them fixed.

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