Enough cash for a console

PlayStation and Xbox consoles side by side
Youtube / Karl Conrad

At $600, the payment seems almost perfectly suited for a new video game console. It’s enough for the Nintendo Switch ($300) or the impossible-to-find Xbox Series X ($500) or PlayStation 5 ($500) — with cash left over for a subscription to PS Plus or Xbox Live.

“Of course people are going to buy video game consoles with their stimulus checks,” gaming writer Ian Boudreau tweeted. “If you're squeezed financially, $600 doesn't change that whatsoever. But you could at least be financially squeezed with an Xbox.” (For the record, he used a more X-rated word than "squeezed.")

“I work in an electronic store and when they did $1,200 stimulus my store got cleared out in a day people bought everything from TV laptop to video games and consoles,” writes Twitter user @BadBadmanyt. “This $600 stimulus will be the same...”

U.S. sales of video games, consoles and accessories are expected to top $50 billion this year — a new record — because gaming has helped homebound Americans get through the pandemic, says market research firm the NPD Group.

So buy a video console — and do your part for the economy

People playing video game. Hands holding console controller. Football or soccer game on the television. Widescreen tv stands on commode.
Tanyastock / Shutterstock

They’re called stimulus checks for a reason — the feds hope Americans will spend the money and stimulate the struggling economy. So go ahead and use your check on video games, and make sure you're stretching the money as far as possible by landing the best price.

When you’re shopping online for a new console, you can use a free browser extension called Capital One Shopping that will automatically compare prices from all over the web. It will also try using any available coupon codes gathered from millions of members to knock a few more bucks off the price.

If you’re a gamer who would like a little more than instant gratification from your $600, you could invest your stimulus check — maybe in a video game company like Sony (SNE) or Activision (ATVI). The popular stock trading app Robinhood lets you buy fractions of shares for as little as $1.

Another way to invest the cash is with Acorns, an app that will round up your debit or credit card purchases to the nearest dollar and put the leftover "spare change" into a diversified portfolio of stocks.

About the Author

Ethan Rotberg

Ethan Rotberg


Ethan Rotberg is a staff reporter at MoneyWise. His background includes nearly 15 years as a writer, editor, designer and communications professional. He loves storytelling, from feature writing to narrative podcasts. His work has appeared in the Toronto Star, CPA Canada and Metro, among others.

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